The University of Gloucestershire All Golds
The University of Gloucestershire has been at the forefront of developing Rugby League at a student level for nearly a decade. From an initial squad of twenty, today our Men’s Rugby League 1st XIII compete in the British University and Colleagues Sports (BUCS) Super 8’s and are one of the top eight student sides in Europe.
Building on this success, and capitalising on growth in participation throughout the South West, we have now moved into the professional ranks, with the exciting addition of the Rugby League All Golds Co-operative Championship 1 club.
The development of the professional side is a result of a partnership between the University of Gloucestershire and its students, Filton College of Further Education, Leeds Rhinos, local coaches and players and the broader rugby league ‘family’ in the region.
A student that plays Rugby League at the University of Gloucestershire receives the highest level of coaching, and sports science and sports performance support, with the additional benefit of being able to study alongside building a professional sporting career.
In the last three years twelve players have achieved both full and student international honours. This is on top of improved performances in the BUCS/RFL Super 8 competition. The pathway to professional rugby league has already been established, with a number of former students already appearing in both Championship and Championship 1.
The University of Gloucestershire All Golds will build on this success and offer more local rugby players the opportunity to perform at the highest level.
Regency Cheltenham is birthplace of both International Rugby League and the nationwide Rugby League Conference. In 1908 the New Zealand All Golds overcame Great Britain in Cheltenham to win the sport's first ever international series. Famous international players from Gloucestershire at that time included William Holder, Arthur Smith, Billy Hall, Dave Holland and Alf Wood. Many years later, in Cheltenham in 1996, local lawyer Lionel Hurst launched the sport’s hugely successful summer competition, the Rugby League Conference. Much of the University’s success in recent years can be attributed to Lionel’s support and enthusiasm for the game, its history and its future.
Since 2011, the University has been working with the Rugby Football League (RFL) to promote the game in Gloucestershire. Our Community Coach, Ken Stone, lead a team of volunteers and currently deliver programmes in eight local primary schools and 14 secondary schools. Since the launch of the community programme, 550 young players have begun to play the sport for the first time.
For more information, please contact the All Golds Development Officer, Rob Webber at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Director of Sport, Andy Pitchford at email@example.com