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Rugby

**If you are interested in competing within one of our Performance Sports, please complete the attached form **

Players will be given access to all Performance Programme services, in addition to sports speific training detailed below:

Men's rugby: the Performance Programme is available to a selected group of 30 top-end athletes, including scholars, playing at first team level.

  • 3 x weights sessions a week with UKSCA acredited S&C coaches in the Athlete Development Centre (ADC)
  • Weekly team and individual video analysis
  • 3 x rugby specific sessions per week at the Sports Park
  • Additional skill specific sessions at mutually agreed times
  • Weekly Wednesday BUCS matches with the 1st team playing in BUCS Super Rugby league 
  • Saturday side competing in South West Premier League 
  • Annual varsity match held at Sandy Park 
  • Links with Exeter Chiefs via coaching and athlete development opportunities

Women's rugby: approximately 24 players are selected annually for our programme.

  • 2 x rugby specific sessions per week at the Sports Park
  • Up to 3 x S&C sessions per week including recovery with UKSCA acredited S&C coaches in the Athlete Development Centre (ADC)
  • Regular unit specific sessions
  • Team meetings and video analysis
  • Individual and team analysis and review
  • Weekly Wednesday BUCS matches with the 1st team playing in BUCS Premier South
  • Mentoring for our aspiring student-coaches
  • Links with Exeter Chiefs Women playing in the Allianz Premier 15's

Coach and athlete profiles

Keith Fleming - Director of Rugby

Having coached at the University on a part time basis since 2008, Keith became full time Director of Rugby in 2010. His previous experience has seen him coach players of all ages and abilities, from children’s tag rugby to Aviva Premiership side Exeter Chiefs, where he is the Match Day Manager and Honorary Education Officer.

Keith is a UKCC Level 3 qualified coach as well as an RFU coach educator and assessor. Since joining the University, he has led the men’s first team to the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Championship semi finals in 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2019. He lead the Men's first team to BUCS Gold in 2016 and runners-up in 2017. Since the inception of BUCS Super League Rugby, in 2018, Keith has led the 1st XV to back to back titles in 2018 and 2019. He has also coached the Rugby sevens side to BUCS Gold in 2009.

Poppy Leitch - Head of Women's Rugby

Poppy is a current Exeter Chiefs Women's player who has also represented England at senior international level. Having completed her PGCE here at the University, she is a Level 2 Rugby Coach and leads the programme as our Head of Women's Rugby.

On top of her exploits as a player, Poppy has coached Exeter College Academy as well as in other high performance environments and will use this experience to build on the team that went through the 18/19 season undefeated, winning the league, sevens tournament and the championship final at Twickenham.

Richard Hodges - Assistant Rugby Coach

Richard began his career in rugby as a player, before deciding to focus on coaching. Before joining the University previously worked with Exeter Chiefs Academy at Bicton College as well running the Developing Player Programme (DPP) for the region.
 
Richard is a Level 3 qualified Coach. Since joining the University, Richard has coached a number of difference sides, however works closely with first year students within our Men’s Fresh 1’s playing in Premier. Richard also coaches the EURFC Saturday XV which currently is competing in South West 1.