Leicester Tigers and Loughborough University have formed a new partnership to provide development opportunities for players and coaches.
The link will allow Tigers players and coaches to access the university’s National One League programme, providing a consistent and controlled developmental environment at the third level of English club rugby.
With coaching, playing and support input from the Tigers, the link also aims to further enhance Loughborough’s high-quality training environment and assist in dealing with the demands of their domestic league and student rugby programme.
"This new agreement will allow us to integrate our young players as a group with a Loughborough University squad which is playing at a good standard in the National League and we hope both sides will benefit accordingly."Tigers head of rugby operations Ged Glynn
A number of Tigers players, including props Riccardo Brugnara and Ben Betts, and academy scrum-half Harry Simmons, have represented the University in league competition in recent seasons, earning valuable senior experience, while Dave Bassett joined Tigers in the new role of rugby co-ordinator this summer from a team management role at Loughborough.
Under the new arrangement, Tigers development coach Brett Deacon will lead the University team in National One – the third level of club rugby competition in England – and club colleague Boris Stankovich will provide scrum coaching expertise.
Both parties will also share medical, marketing and events knowledge.
“We are delighted to be able to have a mutually beneficial agreement in place with Loughborough University,” said Tigers head of rugby operations Ged Glynn.
“The University has very high standards and a record of excellence in sport. This new agreement will allow us to integrate our young players as a group with a Loughborough University squad which is playing at a good standard in the National League and we hope both sides will benefit accordingly.
“Having Brett Deacon on the coaching staff and working in both camps allows us to have a very clear focus on those players and a deep knowledge of their progress in that important area between academy and first-team rugby.”
As part of the new link, a number of Loughborough University players will represent Leicester Tigers in the Singha Premiership Rugby Sevens at Northampton next weekend, the first event of the new domestic season.
Alan Buzza, director of rugby at Loughborough University said: “This is a really exciting development for Loughborough. We’ve experienced a degree of over-stretch across the National One and BUCS Super Rugby programmes, and the partnership with Tigers provides us with high-quality playing resource at key times, additional highly respected coaching in Brett and Boris, and a direct Premiership relationship at the top of our pathway, alongside a range of other benefits. The Singha Sevens is one of these and will provide a playing experience and visibility many players wouldn’t otherwise get.”