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Colleges come together for combined rugby team

3 February 2022

Two colleges have teamed up to develop a rugby partnership that will benefit young people in West Sussex and Hampshire.

Rugby teams at Chichester College and HSDC (Havant and South Downs College) have joined forces to create one squad, under one banner, which represents both colleges.

The team, which trains and plays its home matches at Havant Rugby Club, has already seen 30 players join from across the colleges.

Steve Woolcombe, rugby coach and lecturer at Chichester College, said: “In recent years, we have seen a decreasing number of students taking up rugby across Sussex and Hampshire, with a knock-on effect for the grassroots clubs in the area.

“We hope this combined approach will see an increase in participation which will, in turn, support grassroots rugby.

“We’ve already seen 30 players sign up for our college team, with five Chichester students also joining Chichester’s local club – so we’re already seeing a positive impact.

“We’re hoping this will continue to grow and we’ll also be able to generate enough interest to be able to form and establish a female team.”

Helen Loftus, Interim Principal at Chichester College, said: “We are proud to be working with HSDC to develop our rugby provision for students at both colleges.

“It is important for colleges to work together, overcoming challenges to deliver the best opportunities to our students – whether that’s in the classroom or on the sports pitch – and I am confident this joint approach will reap rewards for our rugby players.”

Ashley Grute, Assistant Principal Vocational Curriculum at HSDC, added: “As a college we are really keen to support students that want to play college rugby.

“Unfortunately the number of students wanting to play has dropped in the last few years, so the opportunity to facilitate this through this collaborative partnership with Chichester College Group is hugely valuable.

“It will mean that we will be able to continue to provide the best experience for our students and will support grassroots rugby across Hampshire and West Sussex.”

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