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Former Red Rose Rachel Burford and Saracens' Cameron Boon attend University Rugby Development Forum

On Wednesday 19th April over 100 delegates representing 40 universities and higher education sector stakeholders attended the annual University Rugby Development Forum hosted, for the first time, at the StoneX Stadium in North London.

World Cup winning Red Rose Rachel Burford joined Saracens lock and former England U17s player Cameron Boon on the line up for the 2023 event.

This annual forum, organised and co-hosted by the SRFU, RFU and BUCS continues to demonstrate what effective partnership working looks like, bringing together a range of inspiring speakers and subject matter experts sharing personal stories and experiences, updates and taking seeking feedback from members.

The focus of the 2023 forum was “Beyond the Fifteen: Offering more as a club” which sought to address four key themes:

- Developing an inclusive rugby offer

- Increasing playing opportunities

- Increasing the awareness of the positive impact engagement in rugby union can have on and off the pitch

- How Clubs and the SRFU can work together to ensure teams and players are prepared and supported for the changing landscape of rugby

Following opening remarks from the SRFU, RFU and BUCS, Burford and Boon were joined by National Youth Council Chair Kirsten Flower for an inspiring panel Q&A about the positive impact that rugby has had on their professional and personal lives.

A series of mini-presentations delivered by staff and students shone a light on examples of good practice from across the sector. These included:

- Durham University’s student refereeing society

- Durham University’s front-row clinics - the Engine Room

- Imperial College’s UV, X-rugby & participation rugby offer

- Manchester’s -University and intermural tournament

The day finished with a series of speakers from the RFU sharing important updates about new tackle height laws, regulation 9 and RugbySafe changes and the introduction of adult player registration through GMS.

The SRFU would like to thank everyone who attended and contributed to a thought provoking day and look forward to working with members and partners to continue to develop the game moving into the 2023/24 season.

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