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England Students will head to France as first team appointments are confirmed

The Students’ Rugby Football Union (SRFU) have renewed their commitment to supporting the men’s England Students representative side for the 2022-23 season. Preparations are now underway with French Universitaire to secure an away fixture in early May 2023.

Darren Fearn, Newcastle University’s Director of Rugby, has confirmed he is set to continue as Head Coach of the students’ side following a nail-biting win at the last encounter. He is joined by Gareth Nesbit and Mark Matzopoulous as Assistant Coaches. With the stepping down of the exemplary Team Manager, Paul Baty, appointment panel interviews were recently held to find a worthy replacement. Following a competitive process, the SRFU will be appointing Clare Pell to succeed Paul Baty.

Clare joins the England Students management team having spent a career in sports development, operations and high-performance environments. Clare currently fulfils two roles at the University of Bath as Team Bath Performance Sport Administrator and Team Bath Rugby Programme Co-ordinator, so well versed on dual-career athletes and University Rugby Pathway SRFU Chair, Mark Hyndman remarked “we are delighted to have Clare on board, she is accustomed to working in a high-performance rugby environment and the panel were impressed by her knowledge and experience of the university sector and the professionalism she displayed. We believe she will be an asset to the programme”. Clare will be supported by England Students stalwart Andrew Kennedy, as the England Students Assistant Team Manager.

Clare Pell said “I’m thrilled to be the next England Students Team Manager. This is a great opportunity and I’m really looking forward to getting started and working with key stakeholders to deliver and excellent England Student’s programme.”

Last season on 22 April at Kingston Park Newcastle, in the fixture dubbed “Le Crunch” by the French, the home side managed to clinch victory, 16-15. With the Rugby World Cup being held in France next year, French Universities are excited by the chance of retribution in this showcase year.

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