Hartpury University can confirm that our opening pre-season fixture will be with the Welsh regional side, the Ospreys on Saturday, September 4, at 2pm.
The fixture will be an echo of the 2019-20 season, when the Red & Blacks travelled to play the Ospreys at The Gnoll, Neath, a match which provided valuable game-time despite ending in a 36-5 defeat.
Although we have no idea which of the Ospreys’ squad will travel to the Alpas Arena, Director of Rugby, Toby Booth, certainly has a wealth of talent at his disposal should he choose to ‘go strong.’
Ignoring the current Lions, Alun Wyn Jones and Adam Beard, the Swansea-based franchise has a squad packed with international talent and which has been by no means weakened by some high levels of signing activity over the past few months.
Justin Tipuric, George North, Tomas Francis, Nicky Smith, Rhys Webb and Dan Lydiate are all familiar names within the squad, as is former Hartpury student Alex Cuthbert who is making the summer move from the Exeter Chiefs.
Other Hartpury old boys to appear regularly for the Ospreys are back row forward Morgan Morris, who had the distinction of winning both the AASE and BUCS competitions in his time in Gloucestershire, and Mat Protheroe, who had to settle for a pair of AASE-winners medals but made a number of appearances for the ‘RFC’ and was part of our 100% promotion out of National 1 in 2016-17, before moving to the Bristol Bears. Prop forward Nicky Thomas also played in the AASE set-up at Hartpury before leaving to start his professional career.
Whoever turns out for the visitors it is sure to be a worthwhile exercise as we build towards the start of the RFU Championship season, two weeks later.
Admission, for adults, is a modest £5 although season ticket holders are reminded that this match will be included within their entitlement. Don’t forget to make sure that you have re-newed your membership of Hartpury RFC before we get to game-day.