Hartpury RFC Captain Rhys Oakley has helped officially launch the new season of the Green King IPA Championship at Twickenham.
The forward, who captained the side to 30 wins from 30 games last season, will skipper the side again in their first Championship season. Oakley and Hartpury’s Director of Rugby, John Barnes, were at the event to launch the ninth season of the competition.
Barnes took part in an open discussion session alongside Bristol’s Head Coach, Pat Lam, Championship Chairman Geoff Irvine and the RFU’s Director of Rugby, Nigel Melville. The group spoke about the excitement ahead of the upcoming season.
Barnes said: “Last year was a fantastic year, we never thought we’d go the season unbeaten and win promotion but when we got to that promotion stage it was sheer elation. To then finish the season unbeaten was a fantastic achievement and we look forward to the step up and the challenge that awaits us in the Greene King IPA Championship.
Hartpury kick off their maiden Championship season with a visit to Bristol’s Ashton Gate on Sunday September 2. The game will be broadcast live on Sky Sports.
“There is a huge [personal] connection with Bristol and it’s going to be great to go back to Ashton Gate, having worked there for 10 years. Our boys are just really looking forward to it and we know the challenge is great. It’s live on Sky also which is a new experience for us.”