The strength of Hartpury as a development platform for young rugby talent will be sharply highlighted this weekend as a plethora of current and former students will see action in this season’s Singha Premiership 7s competition to be held at Northampton’s Franklin Gardens.
Unsurprisingly, given the close nature of the relationship, the majority will represent Gloucester Rugby, whose squad is drawn from both Senior and Academy ranks.
Charlie Chapman (pictured), a current undergraduate who played both BUCS and RFC rugby last season before going on to represent Scotland at U20 level, has the honour of captaining the Cherry & Whites.
Joining him in the squad are senior back row forwards, alumni Gareth Evans and Will Safe, along with another current Hartpury university student, Tom Seabrook, and flanker Aaron Hinkley, both of whom appeared in the Greene King IPA Championship during 2017-18.
The remaining Hartpury connections in the Gloucester squad are all members of the highly successful Hartpury AASE squad from last season. Jacob Morris and Jack Reeves will both be backing up recent experience with England U18s in the 15-man game, whilst Louis Rees-Zammit will be hoping to replicate the form he showed for Wales at the same level.
Scrum half Ewan Fenley, son of former Gloucester player Bruce, is another stepping up from Hartpury’s U18 group who also made his RFC debut in the season just gone.
Mason Tonks, a further youngster to come through the AASE programme at the College before representing England at sevens, is included in the Worcester Warriors line-up where he will be joined by incoming student Zac Ward, currently in pre-season with Hartpury RFC having moved across from Ulster to start a degree here.
Nathan Chamberlain, a Scotland U18 fly half, who has come through the Bristol Bears academy before signing professional terms with the Ashton Gate club, has also been accepted onto a degree course at Hartpury and is currently in pre-season here. Chamberlain is part of the Bears squad this weekend.
So that’s an impressive twelve Hartpury connections currently involved in the tournament and, who knows, with one or two clubs yet to name their squads publicly, there could be a couple more…
We wish all the Hartpury lads the very best of luck for the matches, which kick off on Friday late afternoon and continue through Saturday, with live coverage on BT Sport and highlights on Channel 5.