Exeter Chiefs women’s side boosts Exeter College Rugby Academy

Mary Youlden
Authored by Mary Youlden
Posted: Thursday, May 7, 2020 - 23:40

Exeter College’s Ofsted Outstanding offer to the region’s top young rugby talent received a huge boost with the news that Exeter Chiefs’ newly launched professional women’s side received approval to join the Tyrrell’s Premier 15s League. 

The agreement to join the league rubber stamps the launch of Exeter Chiefs’ women’s team and provides fresh impetus to Women’s Rugby Academy at Exeter College.  

Exeter College has been offering the Women’s Rugby Academy education provision in partnership with Exeter Chiefs for three years, with students given the chance to pursue a career in professional rugby while receiving exceptional education with the College.   

Following on from the success of the Men’s Exeter Chiefs Rugby Academy at Exeter College, the Women’s provision has grown in popularity since its launch three years ago and now almost 50 students are receiving both top class rugby coaching as well as Ofsted Outstanding education.  

The creation of a fully-fledged women’s professional rugby side in Exeter has opened new opportunities for the South West’s finest female rugby players to remain in the area and pursue their career in professional sport while also receiving top class post-16 education.  

Exeter Chiefs Women’s Head Coach Susie Appleby, who won 65 caps for England during her playing career, said, “It’s an incredibly exciting time to be a young female player in the South West. Exeter College already has an excellent rugby programme, which is crucial to the success of Exeter Chiefs Women.  

“Exeter Chiefs will be supporting this programme; our players will be coaching, helping with analysis and also in the gym. We want female players to experience a professional training environment from an early age, and the Exeter College Academy provides this opportunity.  

“We hope players graduating from the academy will be the next Exeter Chiefs stepping out on to Sandy Park and ultimately into an England shirt.” 

In addition to students’ academic studies with Exeter College, Rugby Academy pupils take part in first-rate training regimes embedded into their timetable to ensure that their sporting prowess matches their academic progression. With state-of-the-art gym facilities opened in 2019, students can also get ahead in the gym when not in the classroom or on the pitch.  

Exeter College Sports Academy Manager Chris Wall said, “We’re all thrilled that Exeter Chiefs are forging ahead with their plans for a women’s professional side. 

“With the Chiefs’ influence and popularity, I’m hoping that this will not only help inspire our current students about the levels of the sport they can reach, but also help develop that next generation of women’s rugby players and raise their aspirations to a possible career in professional rugby if you’ve got the talent and work ethic.  

“Our Academy players will be supporting the roster of players that are available to the Chiefs’ side and will get the chance to really interact and see what it’s like for the current professionals in the game. I can’t wait to see more positive benefits from this partnership come to fruition in the coming years.” 

Sports Academy students at Exeter College have varied study options and students travelling from further afield could opt to stay in the College’s Clock Tower boarding accommodation, complete with ensuite bedrooms and communal social spaces. Support on travel is also available through the College’s Travel Scheme and there’s a wide variety of course options available for students taking part in Sports Academies.  

If you have applied for the Sports Academy or intend to do so, Exeter College will be holding performance trials once the College reopens and the current situation regarding the Coronavirus pandemic allows it. 

Find out more about the Sports Academies at Exeter College.

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