The University of Exeter Rugby programme is known for being one of the best in the country, supporting both male and female athletes to premiership and international success 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 Women's National League
- Weekend matches in National League 2 and Women's NC 2 South West
- Support for athletes competing in the Gallagher Premiership and Allianz 15s
- Official partnership and player pathway with Exeter Chiefs via coaching and athlete development opportunities
- Annual varsity match held at Sandy Park
MENS RUGBY PRE SEASON
Any individual that firms Exeter is welcome to attend our Men's Rugby pre-season. This is a fantastic opportunity to embed yourself within the University and Exeter club before the academic year starts.
This year, pre-season will start on the 13th July 2023, training Monday to Friday with friendly games starting two weeks into pre-season including some weekends.
Please complete this form and submit it back to us. More details will be sent soon. Thank you.
HEAD OF MENS RUGBY Gareth Elliott
Gareth has been part of the Exeter Chiefs Set Up for the past 10 years starting as an Academy Coach and Performance Analyst. Helping develop Current Premiership players through the academy system.
For the past 5 Seasons he has been Head of Performance Analysis at Exeter and was part of the coaching staff that achieved the Premiership and European Cup double in 2020. He was Forwards Coach for the Premiership Cup winning side in 2023.
Over the past 2 seasons Gareth has coached the Forward Pack for the Championship winning BUCS Super Rugby campaigns. Gareth holds his England Rugby Performance Coaching Award.
HEAD OF WOMENS RUGBY Poppy Leitch
Poppy has been head of the womens rugby programme here at Exeter since 2019, having previously studied her undergraduate and PGCE at the university. Poppy has completed her England Advanced Coaching Award and is now a certified Level 3 coach with huge amounts of experience of running a successful and professional programme. The women's rugby team were undefeated in the 2021-22 season, promoting them into the BUCS Womens National League.
As well as heading up the Exeter University Women's Rugby Club, Poppy also plays and captains the Exeter Chiefs womens squad who reached the Allianz Premiership final in 2021-22.
ASSISTANT MEN'S RUGBY COACH Richard Hodges
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 National League 2.
The University of Exeter Sports Scholarships 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.
Our Sports Scholarship and Bursary Application Form for 2024 Entry can be found here.
Contact: Sport Scholarships email@example.com 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 4G all-weather training Rubber Crumb on the Streatham campus, a key facility used by the Tonga national team during the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Our performance programme teams play their matches at Topsham Sports Ground, the University's 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 to recovery sessions and equipment as well as our Performance Analysis suite.
STUDYING AT EXETER
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 19th 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.
Since the start of Chiefs' women's premiership campaign, Merryn has been part of the squad at Sandy Park whilst also completing and finishing her degree with a First Class Honours. Merryn has most recently made her England 7s debut in the HSBC World Rugby 7s Series in Canada going on to represent Team England at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022. Throughout the 2 previous seasons at Chiefs, Merryn was the only player to have played every single competitive fixture. Of course, that is one of Merryn's proudest sporting achievements to date.
'Although I can't choose a single proud moment, being selected into Team England Rugby 7s squad and playing consistently for Exeter Chiefs in the premiership has to be up there' she says. England Women's 7's Rugby - Commonwealth Games Exeter Chiefs BSc Exercise and Sport Sciences (2019-2022)
Christ graduated from BSc Exercise and Sport Sciences in 2023, combining this with being training full-time with Exeter Chiefs. In a matter of month, Christ completed a remarkable set of debuts; playing his first games for Wales Under 20s, Exeter Chiefs, Exeter University and the Wales national team, in that order, in a matter of months. He made his full first-team debut for the Chiefs in the opening game of the 2021/22 season at Leicester Tigers and not long after was called into the Wales squad by Wayne Pivac, making his full Test debut coming off the bench against Fiji at the Principality Stadium. Christ has now been selected for the 2023 Welsh world cup squad alongside fellow student, Dafydd Jenkins.
Welsh Seniors (2023 World Cup Squad) Exeter Chiefs BSC Exercise and Sport Sciences (2020-2023)