Professional approach builds foundation for strong BUCS Super Rugby start
5 January 2018
Leeds Beckett University’s rugby union team are perfectly poised for an assault on the BUCS Super Rugby summit, sitting fourth with a game in hand at the halfway point of the student game’s flagship competition.
The management team credit a professional style set up for the successful start which saw Leeds Beckett collect six wins, one draw and two losses as well as a Varsity victory in the first half of the season.
Leeds Beckett University’s Rugby Programme Manager, Kerry Wood said: “We’re in a healthy position, there’s been a lot of hard work that has gone in for the senior squad. We started at the end of July so it’s been a long time but we’ve got no injuries whatsoever.
“Credit to the sports scientists from Leeds Beckett, they’ve got the players in great shape and we’re looking forward to the second half of the season.
“We’ve competed well this year and as a result we’ve come in fourth with a game in hand so we’re looking pretty sharp. I think a realistic target for us this year was mid-table because last year we didn’t win a game. I think as a squad we’re going to be reassessing those goals when all the boys are back in.
“We want to go and win it, it’s as simple as that and I think I can speak for all the squad when I say that. They’re pretty confident in their ability to try and achieve those goals.”
The Rugby Union programme at Leeds Beckett allows talented players to hone their skills, with more than 20 athletes going on to sign professional contracts with clubs in throughout the RFU league structure in recent years.
Kerry Wood said: “We see ourselves as a new and realistic pathway to professional rugby, we’ve got a lot of investment in the coaching and the sports conditioning side of things. We’ve got a full time physio, full time analyst, full time strength and conditioning coaches so we aim to run a professional style set up.
“I think the culture is changing, BUCS Super Rugby has been brilliant as well as a whole. The way this competition is going, in three to four years’ time it’s going to be right up there as a legitimate option for Premiership clubs.
“It’s really competitive, anyone can beat anyone on their day so it’s fantastic and ultimately the kids are getting an education.
“It’s an exciting time for BUCS Super Rugby and for Leeds Beckett.”
Wood believes that the pre-season work which saw coaches and players returning in July has laid the foundations for this season’s success.
“When we started out this season, Colin Stephens - the Director of Rugby, and I planned the pre-season alongside sports scientists at Leeds Beckett.
“The recommendation was that we get in as early as possible because there were a lot of shortfalls we needed to make up. So we took that advice and challenged the boys as a squad to make some sacrifices and come up early.
“They all bought into this and I’m pleased for them, because we’re sitting here now and we’re poles apart from where we were the year before. It comes down to the team of coaches and the team of players. We’ve all bought into it and this is really exciting.”
Leeds Beckett University has six teams - five men’s and one women’s - that compete in British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS).
All players are encouraged to strive to be better and play at the highest standard possible, with a clear pathway to the first team. Equally, the programme prides itself on catering for all standards and enjoys a strong culture that unites players from all teams.
Keep up to date on rugby union at Leeds Beckett by following @LeedsBeckettRFC on Twitter.