The partnership will see Leeds Beckett work alongside the Championship rugby club on a number of initiatives, including the development of co-funded community-based projects, sport-related academic research, the provision of opportunities for Leeds Beckett students as well as projects designed to increase rugby participation in the region.
The agreement will also provide integrated degree-level and postgraduate programmes to Yorkshire Carnegie players in order to develop their academic skills as well as the joint development of a regional Centre of Excellence for Rugby. Yorkshire Carnegie staff will be able to integrate with Leeds Beckett taught programmes and to offer insights and guest lectures to Leeds Beckett University students studying professional coaching and sports injury management programmes.
Speaking about the partnership, Professor Paul Smith, Deputy Vice Chancellor at Leeds Beckett, said: “It’s great to be able to continue our long partnership with Yorkshire Carnegie and to provide opportunities for both our students and for the players in the academy.
“Over the last few years our research into rugby and high impact sports has grown beyond recognition and the links we have been able to foster with other rugby union clubs, through our link with Yorkshire Carnegie, have been invaluable.”
Executive President of Yorkshire Carnegie and former Leeds Beckett student, Sir Ian McGeechan, added: “It’s very important to keep developing the association with Leeds Beckett. It’s been a tremendous link so far and key for both students and players to have sport as part of their natural development process and we hope that through the partnership rugby union in our region will continue to thrive.
“Professional player development pathway is crucial in developing young players and with the combined university and club programmes, we can genuinely say we are giving opportunities for both sporting and educational talent.”
In 2007 Leeds Beckett began a pioneering partnership with Leeds Rugby that has provided a number of benefits for students, staff and players and currently sees Professor Paul Smith on the board of Directors at the club.
Leeds Beckett have a proud sporting tradition and, in recent years’, individuals and teams from the university have competed at the highest levels of elite sport.
Rugby union at Leeds Beckett University is very successful, with a string of titles and a prestigious list of graduates and current students who are competing at some of the highest levels.
Due to the strong links between Yorkshire Carnegie and Leeds Beckett, students get the benefit of high performance coaching through the partnership, with Yorkshire Carnegie coaches supporting the University programme.
As well as having the opportunity to play a high standard of rugby with the University, many of their players have earned the opportunity to represent Yorkshire Carnegie’s Academy team and Development sides and have been offered trials with the club.
A number of Carnegie players have completed their studies at Leeds Beckett University whilst continuing their development in the team, with past pupils including Tom Biggs, Rob Vickerman, Joe Ford, Joe Bedford, Joe Barker and Chris Walker.
In 2014, Carnegie School of Sport researchers, Professor Ben Jones and Dr Kevin Till, set up the Carnegie Adolescent Rugby Research (CARR), which investigates various aspects of youth rugby, ranging from the nutritional requirements of players, fatigue responses following match play, to the psychological development of youth players.
To date the research programme has created many opportunities for students at all levels to gain research and development experience in an elite sporting environment as well as resulting in many publications in peer-reviewed journals and abstracts accepted for presentation and publication at conferences.