1stXV v Hartpury RFC, Sat Feb 11, 14:15, Match Preview
Ampthill welcome unbeaten Hartpury to Dillingham Park this Saturday for a mouth watering clash between the runaway league leaders and their ‘closest’, if very distant rivals.
Hartpury have raised the standard in National 1 to a new level, rather than decry their success as some seem inclined to do, we should celebrate with them as the combination of great coaching, superb skills, fitness and good facilities combine to produce something admirable.
Hartpury College Rugby Academy was formed in 2000 with an agreement with Premiership side Gloucester who now use the college facilities as their training base.
Hartpury College RFC was founded in 2004 joining the RFU league pyramid at the bottom (level 11), having lost their first ever league game they didn’t lose again until 2009 and won eight consecutive promotions to arrive in National 2 South for season 2012-13 where they finished 3rd.
Last season, their second at level 3, they finished 2nd while this year they have a 100% record winning all 21 games played and securing 21 try bonus points.
Hartpury’s squad is augmented by Gloucester Academy contracted players, the majority of whom are former or current Hartpury students.
Last weeks victory away at Blackheath, 17-24, was significant since Blackheath were the only side in National 1 that Amps had never beaten, despite another slow start A’s produced a fine defensive performance holding the home side to just one score in the second half.
Amps squad will not be announced until Saturday morning.
Head Coach Paul Turner commented “Hartpury are the best team in the division by a country mile. They are consistent from week to week and have a very good squad of players. They play the game in the right manner, very simple, both powerful and innovative, well coached and good to watch. It’s a massive week for a small club like ours and we’ll need to raise our game a long way if we’re to compete.”