For the upcoming 2016-17 season, the BUCS Super Rugby division has been launched where the top eight men’s sides in the country battle it for the biggest prize in University Rugby.
26 weeks ago, Exeter University were lifting the BUCS Championship title a lot into the Twickenham night sky after a gruelling final against Loughborough.
This year, Keith Fleming’s side will be hoping to defend their trophy but they will do so in the newly formed BUCS Super Rugby.
In the 2016-17 season, BUCS, alongside the RFU have launched this new division where the top eight men’s teams across England and Wales will go head to head in this new structure ensuring huge games every week.
BUCS Super Rugby was unveiled at Twickenham last week where representatives from each of the eights sides competing this season all attended.
Last year’s finalists Exeter and Loughborough are in the division and will be joined by Hartpury College, Leeds Beckett, Bath, Cardiff Met, Northumbria and Newcastle. All eight of these teams made the knockout stages of the competition last season.
Keith Fleming, University of Exeter coach said: “The RFU and BUCS working in partnership is definitely helping move the programme forward. The RFU have come in with a raft of support packages for the universities involved which is helpful, and between them we’re going to make steps forward.”
Darren Fearn, Head of Rugby at Northumbria University said: “The BUCS Super League is a great opportunity to play top quality rugby, progressing on the rugby ladder while also getting a strong academic side. All the performance sports really push that at Northumbria, you push both angles and then you can have a degree and the chance to play professional rugby, which a lot of players have done in the past.”
Josh Longson, Leeds Beckett captain said: “I’ve been playing rugby at university for four years, so getting the chance to play at some of the best stadiums in the country and the best teams every week is something I’m really looking forward to.
“I didn’t start playing in the rugby aged 16, and at that age it’s difficult to get into an academy level, so a lot of the guys, including myself, are using BUCS as a pathway – you still get your degree and also a chance to get in the professional game.
“The RFU already have a structure in place, so they know what is needed for BUCS to benefit and go pro, which is everyone’s aim.”
The first round of matches get underway on Wednesday 5th October and for the first time, a selection of games will be lived streamed throughout the season. The culmination of the BUCS Super Rugby calendar will see the final between the top two teams at Twickenham on 30th March 2017.