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Clara Nielson on her senior England debut at Twickenham

UoE Rugby highlights Reel-Representative Honours for Rugby Performance Athletes

Ranked No. 1 in Rugby Union in the BUCS rankings for the past 5 consecutive seasons, the University of Exeter Rugby Performance Programme continues to produce and nurture elite Rugby players.

The University of Exeter Women’s Rugby programme has had its best year to date with the 1st team going unbeaten in the league and cup, winning Premier South, BUCS Championship 15s and BUCS Championships 7s. This has culminated in a well-deserved nomination and final shortlist for the prestigious BUCS team of the year with the winner to be announced at the BUCS conference.

 Having been previously part of the England U20s set up and in the National Academy, University of Exeter Women’s Rugby Clara Nielson made her senior England debut against the Barbarians women at Twickenham. Following on from this she has now been added to the Red Roses squad for the Women’s Rugby Super Series taking place in San Diego at the end of June. They play their 1st game against USA on Friday 28th June at 9pm BST and have further fixtures against Canada, France and New Zealand, with their final game played on 14th July.  Alongside Clara in the squad is University of Exeter former Sports Scholar and Sports Science graduate Amber Reed who makes a return to the England shirt following long term injury.

Reflecting on her achievement Clara commented “Selection for summer tour has just topped off an amazing few months since victory in the BUCS Championship final at Twickenham! Making my England Rugby Senior debut against the Barbarians was a really special day and now I'm looking forward to going on tour, learning lots and hopefully getting my first cap”.

Sports Scholar Caity Mattinson was named and captained the English Universities 7s squad who won the elite open cup at Chester 7s.  Looking back at the event Caity commented “It has been really enjoyable to be involved with the English Universities team, the squad is made up of players from all over and it’s been fun getting to know new people! For a team that had never met before our first competition we really grew together and performed better and better throughout the day. I'm really excited to be playing together again in the National 7s finals in Nottingham. It will be a big challenge against some experienced 7s sides, so hopefully we can continue to improve and maybe cause an upset or two!”


The University of Exeter Men’s 1st team successfully defended their BUCS Super Rugby league title this season and Exeter was well represented out at the U20s Rugby World Cup in Argentina (4th-22nd June 2019) with University of Exeter Sports Scholars Sam Maunder and Richard Capstick both named in the squad for the tournament.  England U20s beat Wales U20s 45-26 to secure 5th place overall.

On the brink of senior international selection Lasha Jaiani (BSc Exercise and Sport Sciences 2016-2019) has recently been called into the Georgian World Cup training squad, having previously represented his country at U20 level.

Keith Fleming Director of Rugby at University of Exeter  commented “We are extremely proud of the achievements of these stand out players and it just goes to show what can be achieved whilst combining professional rugby and studying for a degree”.


In professional rugby news a number of University of Exeter graduates have committed to professional clubs for the upcoming premiership season including Tom Lawday (BSc Exercise and Sport Sciences 2014-2017) who has signed with Harlequins, having previously represented Exeter Chiefs and been named BUCS Super Rugby player of the season and represented England students during his time at Exeter. Jack Owlett (BA Business and Management 2014-2018) makes the move from Exeter Chiefs to Wasps. Simon Linsell (BA Arabic and Middle East Studies 2014-2018) has secured his 1st Premiership contract with Gloucester RFC following his player of the season performance with Hartpury RFC who maintained their Greene King IPA Championship status this season. While Sam Morley (BSc Exercise and Sport Sciences 2016-2019) and Pierre Thompson (BSc Business Economics) join the Exeter Chiefs ranks as contracted players. For a full list of players contracted with professional clubs for the 2019-2020 season please see below:


Tom Lawday (BSc Exercise and Sport Sciences 2014-2017): Harlequins Rugby Union

Jack Owlett (BA Business and Management 2014-2018): Wasps Rugby

Simon Linsell (BA Arabic and Middle East Studies 2014-2018): Gloucester Rugby

Aaron Bagwell (BSc Exercise and Sport Sciences 2016-2019): Richmond FC

Josh Pieterse (LLB Graduate Law 2017-2019) and Jack Rouse (MSc International Management): Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Club

Charlie Morgan (BA Business and Management 2016-2019): Hong Kong Scottish Rugby Club


The University of Exeter Rugby return for their pre-season at the start of August as they turn their focus to the start of the 2019-2020 BUCS season.

Date: 2 May 2019