Cardiff Met give unprecedented access to university’s ‘breeding ground’ for rugby stars

The Archers are currently seventh in the BUCS Super Rugby standings with the climax to the season fast approaching
©Cardiff Met SU Sport/Carl Robertson

As Wales’ rugby squad are hoping to come back from Saturday’s defeat in the Six Nations, one Welsh university has allowed unprecedented access to its thriving rugby club, previously described as the ‘breeding ground’ for international test rugby stars.

Cardiff Met RFC’s notable recent alumni include Dragons’ flanker Aaron Wainwright and Harlequins’ back row Alex Dombrandt, and now rugby fans can go behind the scenes at the BUCS Super-Rugby club where Six Nations stars are born.

Archers Uncut, a YouTube docuseries has been filmed and produced by three final year Sport Media BSc students – Emelia Baker (21), Henry Woolf (20) and Will Dunlop (26) – at Cardiff Met University. The documentary follows Cardiff Met RFC, currently sixth in the BUCS Super-Rugby League table, from the start of the 2022-23 season playing in the highest level of university rugby in the UK. Archers Uncut is the first ever season-long documentary of a university sports team in the UK.

As streaming service Netflix commences filming on its behind-the-scenes Six Nations documentary in which it will closely follow each of the teams in the build-up and during the Championship, Cardiff Met RFC’s squad have been given a taste of what the international players will experience, with camera crews following them from the changing room, to training and on match day.

Student Henry Woolf said: “We had to spend time building relationships with the players and coaches as it was completely new having a camera following them around. It’s a high performing, pressured environment with a lot of expectation surrounding Cardiff Met RFC, so it’s unsurprising we had to work to gain the trust of everyone involved in how we presented the team. No doubt this is the same process the production team behind the new Netflix Six Nations documentary will go through too.”

Archers Uncut sees captain Joe Cowell and Cardiff Met’s Director of Rugby Danny Milton give their take on the club’s performance development along with highs and lows from the previous season, while viewers can hear the honest, and often tough words, shared between coaches and players as they strive for success.

The series also takes viewers inside Cardiff Met’s sought-after facilities, an institution of sporting excellence, where the university’s sports teams train.

Henry continued: “The response to the first episode has been incredible. The main feedback we’re getting is that viewers can’t believe it’s been produced by students. But, thanks to the facilities and filming equipment available to us through Cardiff Met, we can prove we’re capable of producing high-quality, docuseries content, with more still to come this term.”

The three final year students have become so passionate about the docuseries genre, they’re already in discussions about setting up their own production company after they’ve graduated.

Steffan Garrero, Programme Director Sport Media BSc at Cardiff Met, said: “We’re really proud of the talent our Sport Media course produces. Emelia, Henry and Will have developed a docuseries that puts the spotlight on one of the most exciting university teams in the UK and former stomping ground of high-profile rugby alumni, at a time when the genre of sports documentaries is booming.

“Former England coach Eddie Jones acknowledged the high calibre of rugby talent being produced by the Archers, some of whom we’ll be watching and supporting over the five weeks of the Six Nations. So with eyes on the up-and-coming players, our media-savvy students on the Sport Media course have given rugby fans access to the rising stars of rugby in Wales and beyond.”

Archers Uncut can be viewed on YouTube, with further episodes to be released over the remainder of the season.