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The University of Exeter Rugby programme is known for being on of the best in the country, supporting both male and female athletes to premiership and international successes each year. The athletes receive access to all performance programme services, as well as:

  • 3 x weights sessions a week with delivered by Exeter Chiefs in the Athlete Development Centre (ADC)
  • 3 x rugby specific sessions per week at the Sports Park with additional skill specific sessions at mutually agreed times
  • Weekly team and individual video analysis
  • Weekly Wednesday matches in the BUCS Super Rugby and Southern Premier divisions
  • Support for athletes competing in the Gallagher Premiership and Allianz 15s
  • Links with Exeter Chiefs via coaching and athlete development opportunities
  • Annual varsity match held at Sandy Park


Having coached at the University on a part time basis since 2008, Keith became full time Director of Rugby in 2010. His previous experience has seen him coach players of all ages and abilities, from children’s tag rugby to Aviva Premiership side Exeter Chiefs, where he is the Match Day Manager and Honorary Education Officer. Keith is a UKCC Level 3 qualified coach as well as an RFU coach educator and assessor. Since joining the University, he has led the men’s first team to the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Championship semi finals in 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2019. He lead the Men's first team to BUCS Gold in 2016 and runners-up in 2017. Since the inception of BUCS Super League Rugby, in 2018, Keith has led the 1st XV to back to back titles in 2018 and 2019. He has also coached the Rugby sevens side to BUCS Gold in 2009. 01392 726246


Poppy is a current Exeter Chiefs Women's player who has also represented England at senior international level. Having completed her PGCE here at the University, she is a Level 2 Rugby Coach and leads the programme as our Head of Women's Rugby. On top of her exploits as a player, Poppy has coached Exeter College Academy as well as in other high performance environments and will use this experience to build on the team that went through the 18/19 season undefeated, winning the league, sevens tournament and the championship final at Twickenham.


Richard began his career in rugby as a player, before deciding to focus on coaching. Before joining the University previously worked with Exeter Chiefs Academy at Bicton College as well running the Developing Player Programme (DPP) for the region. Richard is a Level 3 qualified Coach. Since joining the University, Richard has coached a number of difference sides, however works closely with first year students within our Men’s Fresh 1’s playing in Premier. Richard also coaches the EURFC Saturday XV which currently is competing in South West 1. 07584244326

The University of Exeter Sport Scholarship Scheme is one of the most prestigious in the UK, providing a comprehensive programme of support and financial benefits for exceptionally talented student athletes. Scholarships are awarded annually to those who show evidence of competing at international level and receive:

  • Up to £3,000 financial support for sporting expenses
  • A support services package worth up to £3,500 (including S&C, performance analysis, physiotherapy and athlete lifestyle support) as part of the performance programme
  • A Sports Scholarship mentor from the performance programme
  • Strength and Conditioning
  • A support package worth up to £3,500
  • Athlete lifestyle support
  • Individual sports mentoring

Scholarship applications are open from October – May each year. We are committed to supporting individuals who are part of an international pathway and those with aspirations to play Premiership club rugby.

Contact: Sport Scholarships 01392 641313


The Rugby programme has access to a wide variety of facilities and services that ensures continued development through the year. Features include our 3G all-weather training Rubber Crumb on the Streatham campus with this being a key facility that was used by the Tonga national team during the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Our performance programme teams play their matches at Topsham Sports Ground, the Universities off-site premier match day facility with structuring for match day filming.   Furthermore, the programme benefits from access to the Athlete Development Centre (ADC), a bespoke high performance training facility where tailored strength & conditioning programmes are delivered, along with access for recovery sessions and equipment as well as our Performance Analysis suite.


Any individual that firms Exeter is welcome to attend our Men's Rugby pre-season. This is a fantastic opportunity to imbed yourself within the club, the University and Exeter before the academic year starts.

This year, pre-season will start on the 18th July 2022 and will run through to 16th September 2022, training Monday to Friday with friendly games starting two weeks into pre-season including some weekends.

To attend pre-season, you will need to bring full training kit, boots, trainers and weightlifting shoes if you have them and enough kit to see you through the week, including swimming shorts.

If you require accommodation for this period up until move-in weekend to your halls of residence, please contact either:

Each player will be responsible for their food and day to day requirements and sleeping bag or duvet.

For any further questions, please contact Keith Fleming, Director of Rugby: 07557 155729


The University of Exeter is renowned for its academic excellence, establishing itself in the top 1% of Universities worldwide (The Times World University Rankings) and placing 12th in The Complete University Guide UK rankings.

The University has four, two in Cornwall with two in Exeter, closely located to the thriving commercial city centre and large St David’s train station. The University currently has around 23,000 students, of which almost 5,000 are international students. In total, the University hosts students from over 130 different countries making for a truly vibrant and inclusive academic community.


Sam graduated from BA Business Economics in 2017, combining this with being training full-time with Exeter Chiefs. He captained the University team to BUCS Championship success in 2016 and graduated with a First Class degree.

Scotland Seniors Exeter Chiefs BSC Business Economics (2014-2017)


Former Sports Scholar Amber Reed was part of the England Women’s Rugby World Cup squad who were crowned champions in 2014. England dominated the tournament and Amber, who had captained the University of Exeter Women’s Rugby Club to British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) National Championship victory the year before, helped England claim the title for the first time in two decades. Unsurprisingly, it is Amber‘s proudest sporting achievement to date. ‘It was an incredible experience and one I am very humbled to have been part of’ she says. England Women's Seniors Bristol Ladies BSc Exercise and Sport Sciences (2010-2013)

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