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The ‘hugely significant' BUCS Super Rugby milestone players list

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images)

BUCS Super Rugby have released a list celebrating the milestone of 102 of its university league players playing professionally in the Gallagher Premiership or United Rugby Championship.

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It was 2016 when the UK launched its current university rugby top flight and it has shown its worth in providing an alternative route to the pro ranks alongside the club academy pathway.

Included on the list are England’s Alex Dombrandt, Tom Pearson, Harry Randall and Freddie Steward, Wales’ Aaron Wainwright, Christ Tshiunza and Dafydd Jenkins, Scotland’s Sam Skinner and Italy’s Stephen Varney, with the biggest representation going to the University of Bath with 20 players progressing, three more than the University of Exeter.

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A statement read: “Seven years since its inception, the league has now seen 102 athletes play in BUCS Super Rugby and either Premiership Rugby or the URC. In September 2016, BUCS Super Rugby was launched as a new top level of men’s university rugby union in the UK. The inaugural season saw the top eight teams at the time compete for the league and championship trophies.

“The season after that, the league expanded to nine, and in 2018/19 we saw the current 10-team format introduced. Eleven out of the 12 teams that have competed in the prestigious competition have had players go on to play in either Premiership Rugby or the URC. The University of Bath lead the way with 20, next is the University of Exeter on 17 and Loughborough University round off the top three with 15 players.”

Andy Gilvary, BUCS head of competitions and performance, said: “For many years, we have spoken about the strength of the BUCS Super Rugby pathway, but to hit the milestone of 100 players is a hugely significant achievement.

“The commitment of the 12 universities involved over the years must be applauded; the opportunities and resources given to develop talented athletes playing a considerable part in this landmark statistic.

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“Six seasons of BUCS Super Rugby later and we are still entertained week in and week out. If you haven’t discovered the magic of this league yet, come and join us. You won’t regret it.”

The full BUCS Super Rugby list (compiled by Simon Cruise): 

Bath (20)
Archie Griffin (Bath), Arthur Cordwell (Bath), Beck Cutting (Worcester), Darren Atkins (Bath), George Worboys (Bath), Gwilym Bradley (Cardiff), Jack Kenningham (Harlequins), James Hadfield (Saracens), Josh Dingley (Bath), Kieran Verden (Bath), Levi Davis (Bath), Luca Petrozzi (Benetton), Max Ojomah (Bath), Miles Reid (Bath), Rhys Davies (Ospreys), Tom Carr-Smith (Bath), Tom Cowan (Bath), Tom Doughty (Bath), Will Butt (Bath), Will Flinn (Gloucester).

Cardiff (2)
Ben Thomas (Cardiff), Ioan Davies (Dragons).

Cardiff Met (9)
Aaron Wainwright (Dragons), Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins), Ellis Bevan (Cardiff), Evan Lloyd (Dragons), Iwan Shenton (Scarlets), Luke Northmore (Harlequins), Max Llewellyn (Gloucester), Tom Pearson (Northampton), Will Hurd (Leicester).

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Durham (8)
Adam Brocklebank (Newcastle), Ben Stevenson (Newcastle), Diogo Hasse Ferreira (Sale), Fitz Harding (Bristol), Fred Davies (Bristol), Guy Pepper (Newcastle), Josh Basham (London Irish), Justin Clegg (Worcester).

Exeter (17)
Ben Hammersley (Exeter), Charlie Wright (Exeter), Christ Tshiunza (Exeter), Dafydd Jenkins (Exeter), Dan John (Exeter), Jack Owlett (Worcester), Luke Mehson (Wasps), Matt Johnson (Exeter), Niall Armstrong (Exeter), Richard Chapstick (Exeter), Ross Vintcent (Exeter), Sam Maunder (Exeter), Sam Skinner (Edinburgh), Tom Cairns (Exeter), Tom Lawday (Harlequins), Will Becconsall (Exeter), Will Yarnell (Exeter).

Hartpury (13)
Alex Craig (Scarlets), Charlie Chapman (Gloucester), Elias Craven (Glasgow), Harry Randall (Bristol), Joe Howard (Gloucester), Jono Benz-Salomon (Bristol), Morgan Morris (Ospreys), Nathan Chamberlain (Edinburgh), Oscar Lennon (Bristol), Seb Negri (Benetton), Stephen Varney (Gloucester), Toby Venner (Bristol), Will Crane (Gloucester).

Leeds Beckett (2)
Conrad Cade (Newcastle), Dan Richardson (Leicester).

Loughborough (15)
Alex Wardell (Saracens), Cameron Boon (Saracens), Charlie Bracken (Saracens), Charlie Titcombe (Scarlets), Dan Kelly (Leicester), Finn Carnduff (Leicester), Freddie Steward (Leicester), Isaac Miller (London Irish), Jake Kerr (Bristol), Nathan Langdon (Sale), Rotimi Segun (Saracens), Sam Grahamslaw (Edinburgh), Theo Vukasinovic (Wasps), Will Edwards (Harlequins), Tom Cowan (Bath).

Northumbria (5)
Chidera Obonna (Newcastle), George Wacokecoke (Newcastle), Josh Hodge (Exeter), Will Muir (Bath), Yaree Fantini (Benetton).

Nottingham Trent (3)
David Williams (Leicester), Jamie Jack (Edinburgh), Tim Cardall (Rebels).

Swansea (8)
Harri O’Connor (Scarlets), Huw Sutton (Ospreys), Iestyn Hopkins (Ospreys), Iestyn Rees (Scarlets), Isaac Young (Scarlets), Max Nagy (Ospreys), Morgan Jones (Scarlets), Tom Florence (Ospreys).

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J
Jon 1 days ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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