Nottingham Trent promoted to BUCS Super Rugby for 2017-18 13/04/2017
Nottingham Trent have become the ninth team in the national league for men's university rugby union - BUCS Super Rugby - after accumulating an aggregate 117 - 12 points against Bristol in two play-off games.
In its inaugural year, BUCS Super Rugby brought together the best eight men's teams from across the country - teams which previously competed in separate North and South competitions. Year two will see the league grow to nine teams, with no relegation until after year three.
After winning North A with 10 wins and 14 points clear of second placed Durham 2s, Nottingham Trent progressed to the play-offs and faced winners of South A, Bristol.
Their first outing in Nottingham last week, saw Nottingham Trent set a commanding lead winning the match 57 - 0. The second leg contested yesterday in Bristol, again saw Trent prove they were worthy of promotion, walking away with 60 points to Bristol's 12.
Investment into the club the key
After the creation of BUCS Super Rugby last year, Nottingham Trent strategically began investing in their rugby club with the goal of promotion clearly on their agenda. Last summer they appointed a new Head Coach in Alex O'Dowd to support their new Head of Rugby, Neil Fowkes. Added to this, increased availability of sports scholarships, bringing pre-season forward to early August, increasing the provision of strength and conditioning, physio support and increased video analysis work with Hudl - Trent positioned themselves to be an emerging professional university outfit - and the investment has clearly paid off.
Performance Sport Manager, Chris Campbell explained that this investment coupled with a strategic and determined approach from staff and players, has seen Nottingham Trent’s rise through the ranks of university rugby.
"Our staff have focused on the development of performance environments, through implementing our performance plan, devising appropriate values and associated behaviours and showing pride in the work we are doing. We still have a huge amount of work to do, but we are starting to see a step change in our programmes”.
"The players have dedicated themselves to our summer programmes, being around for Easter, and have been very disciplined in balancing their sport and academics.
Partnership with Nottingham Rugby
Outside of BUCS rugby, Nottingham Trent have been working in partnership with Greene King IPA Championship outfit, Nottingham Rugby, for four years. The two clubs' programmes are now at a stage where they are inter-dependent of each other - with Head Coach Alex O'Dowd also assistant coach to Nottingham Rugby's Head Coach Ian Costello, while Trent's Head of Rugby Neil Fowkes, also work's as Nottingham's Senior Coach.
The alignment between the two has resulted in a significant number of Nottingham Trent’s first team being on contracts at Nottingham Rugby during the 2016-17 season. Seven students have played Championship or British and Irish Cup rugby including the likes of Josh Poullet, Tim Cardell, David Williams, Callum Hall, Will Sutton, Jack Spittle and Ben Brownlie.
Ready for the Challenge of BUCS Super Rugby
Nottingham Trent’s commitment to promotion into BUCS Super Rugby has never wavered. With players like Josh Poullett giving up the opportunity to represent England Students to play in both play-off games, Chris Campbell is confident that the determination shown by his men in pink this season, will see them settle well into the tough, physical and relentless league of BUCS Super Rugby.
"BUCS Super Rugby has set the standard for university rugby - and for us to be able to place ourselves in the same league as the likes of Hartpury and Loughborough, is tremendously exciting and motivating”.
The BUCS Super Rugby 2017 - 18 season will kick off in late September/early October- with live streaming and comprehensive media coverage of matches set to continue, en-route to the Championship Final at Twickenham.