University rugby players and staff from across the country have been awarded prizes for their efforts in setting up their university clubs this season.
Prizes include signed shirts and match balls from the England Men’s and Women’s rugby teams, passes to watch the England Men’s team train, £100 Rugby Store gift cards, and £500 Gilbert Rugby equipment vouchers.
Players entered the competition by registering for a Game Management System (GMS) account and linking it with their university, as all university players should do from the 2023/24 season.
The step-by-step process for players to register for a GMS account is straightforward and completing this means that they will not need to repeat this in future seasons.
(Above) Wilfred Walton
This was the experience of prize winner Wilfred Walton, who said that “registering for university rugby via GMS was so easy as the steps are very simple and it takes two minutes”. Wilfred, a first year Sport and Exercise Science BSc (Hons) student at the University of Chichester, received a £100 Rugby Store gift card and plans to use this voucher to get his hands some new kit for training and matches.
(Above) Kate Marks
Kate Marks, a third year PhD student at the Centre for Sport and Social Justice at Leeds Beckett University, also received a £100 Rugby Store gift card for registering for university rugby via GMS. Kate’s most memorable moment of the 2023/24 season so far was being involved in a victory against Newcastle University in the team’s last match before Christmas. The team worked hard in freezing conditions to put into practice what they have been working on in training to come away with a win against tough and talented opposition.
(Above) Rebecca House
The prizes available also included match balls signed by the England Senior Men’s team, one of which was won by Rebecca House, a veterinary student at the University of Liverpool. Rebecca has enjoyed playing alongside her friends this year as the University of Liverpool’s first team scrum half and found the process of registering to play via GMS very quick and easy.
To recognise their effort in supporting player registrations, the competition was also open to those whose role is to oversee the administration of their university rugby club. The competition was open to those that had their contact details listed in, and had logged into, GMS by the closing date of the competition.
(Above) Hartpury University RFC
Winners of the £500 Gilbert Rugby equipment voucher for administrators included those at the University of Bath Rugby Club and Hartpury University RFC who intend to use their vouchers to provide equipment such as new rugby balls that will benefit their whole rugby programme.
(Above) Bath Rugby Club
Administrators at both these clubs support their players with GMS registration by providing guidance such as step-by-step instructions and screen recordings of how to complete the simple process. This means that the players complete their registration early and support is available if they encounter any issues.
(Above) Exeter University Women's Rugby Club
Another winner of the £500 Gilbert Rugby equipment voucher was Poppy Leitch, Head Coach of Exeter University Women’s Rugby Club. Reflecting on a season full of fun and learning, Poppy said that her most memorable moment was an away performance from the club’s second team. A squad containing six debutants travelled to face the University of South Wales’ 1st team, with two of the six debutants scoring tries in a narrow defeat. Poppy plans to help the squad continue their learning by using the voucher to purchase new resources such as rugby balls.
Playing your part and signing up via GMS helps to support rugby right across England, as universities and the RFU can better understand who is playing rugby. It helps to further encourage participation, and where to allocate time and resource to best support the game. The RFU supports university clubs and administrators with a range of Community Rugby Help resources, including videos, webinars, and guidance