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Women’s rugby with Tigers and SMB College Group

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Leicester Tigers are working with SMB College Group’s Brooksby Campus on an exciting new women’s rugby programme combining coaching and nationally recognised educational qualifications.

Based at the 850-acre Brooksby Campus in Leicestershire, the new programme will allow students to choose any course* alongside their rugby training, with options including Sport, Sports Science, Uniformed Public Services, Equine Management and Animal Management.

Alternatively, students can choose to take an ‘A’ Level route, studying PE, Biology, Business and Psychology at the college group’s Melton Campus, with a short shuttle bus ride to the Brooksby Campus for training.

Students will also be coached by Leicester Tigers, participate in competitive matches on Wednesday afternoons and even potentially progress further with the club as part of its new women’s and girls’ rugby programme.

James Thorne, Director of Curriculum for SMB College Group’s Brooksby Campus, said: “We have had an incredibly successful partnership with Leicester Tigers over the last five years, with some students going on to have great success in elite rugby, including playing for the Tigers and for England.

“We have also seen fantastic outcomes in the Development side of the game, with 120 students at our Brooksby Campus taking part in weekly rugby training and matches for all abilities.

“Our new women’s rugby pathway in collaboration with Leicester Tigers will provide the first full-time dual pathway for aspiring young players to receive high-level rugby coaching at a Further Education college, with clear progression opportunities within the sport.

“It will cater to both those who are striving towards a career in elite rugby and those who want to have a go at rugby for the first time.”

SMB College Group and Tigers have a well-established rugby programme with current first-team player George Martin and fellow Tigers Academy graduates Archie Vanes and Sam Edwards among its recent students.

Facilities at the college’s Brooksby Campus include three full-size rugby pitches, a full-size sports hall, a strength and conditioning gym, and sports science facilities with a range of performance analysis equipment. 

Accommodation is also available on-site at the campus in addition to a range of college bus routes and public transport links across the county.

Scott Clarke, Head of Community and Global Partnerships at Leicester Tigers, said: “This is an exciting addition to our offer at SMB College Group’s Brooksby Campus and adds an important element to the pathway we are building to the Tigers Women’s team as we move towards a new era for the club.

“The opportunity to build a development offer for girls which mirrors our existing boys’ pathway, into the elite game will enable Tigers coaches to support and nurture the future of our sport for years to come.”

Find out more at SMB College Group’s Brooksby Campus Open Day on Saturday, November 6. You can register for a college open event here.

The college will start taking applications for September 2022 after October half-term this year, with an online application form available at www.brooksbymelton.ac.uk/apply/

*Students hoping to participate in the full-time training timetable will only be able to study Sport or Sport Science. Other courses will, however, still provide training windows and the opportunity to play on Wednesday afternoons, subject to number of women’s rugby students on the course.