Hartpury RFC can announce today that 2018-19 club captain, Simon Linsell, has signed his first full-time professional contract with our friends and neighbours at Gloucester Rugby.
The signing represents a justified reward for a good season from the Gloucestershire native, whose consistency in terms of both personal performance and group leadership saw him voted as the players and coaches Player of the Season at last week’s awards dinner.
Linsell played his junior rugby at his local club side, Painswick, and at Marling School in Stroud, before joining Gloucester as a Junior Academy player back in 2013. It was at this time that he first appeared in a Hartpury shirt, playing a number of games under the captaincy of Chris Fortey in National League 2.
His university rugby was played at Exeter, where his leadership skills were recognised with the captaincy of their BUCS (and later BUCS Super Rugby) squad. He led Exeter to national success in 2016 and was also skipper of the side that lost to Hartpury in the 2017 play-off final at Twickenham.
Hartpury’s Director of Rugby, John Barnes, said, “We are so pleased that Simon has been signed by his home town Premiership club.”
“When he joined us last summer, from Exeter University, we saw the potential that he offered us as both a player and a leader. He has skippered the team exceptionally well this year, through what have been some difficult times, while rarely letting his own personal performance standards suffer.”
“This is yet more evidence of what Hartpury Rugby is all about – developing rugby talent for the professional game. Simon joins an increasingly long list of former Hartpury players now making a living in full-time professional rugby.”
Given the close working relationship between Hartpury RFC and Gloucester Rugby, it is not inconceivable that we will see Simon in Red & Black again at some future point, but in the meantime we wish him every success in his professional career.