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University Rugby League - standard/advice etc

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Hi, I am looking for some info on the standard of university rugby league... What level are the top teams competing at - similar to league 1 or better/worse etc...

The best teams from info online seem to be Leeds Beckett & Northumbria, although I read that Manchester Mets facilities are being used by Toronto next year so that sounds impressive.

I'm looking at starting uni in September 2018, so any information/advice about the set ups at various universities would be really helpful when I make my applications.

Thanks in advance for any help provided.

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Just a piece of "dad advice".. dont pick your uni based on the RL team the course is more important as that will set you for life. Enjoy uni, play RL for whatever team is there, be the best player because they are not of a high enough standard or be the worst player there because they are but just enjoy it. 

 

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13 minutes ago, RP London said:

Just a piece of "dad advice".. dont pick your uni based on the RL team the course is more important as that will set you for life. Enjoy uni, play RL for whatever team is there, be the best player because they are not of a high enough standard or be the worst player there because they are but just enjoy it. 

 

Edited by dead man inc
Clicked on wrong thread - can this post be deleted?

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The standard of the top teams is quite high and certainly National Conference Premier Division level, or it was at least it was when I played. Student sides have beaten Pennine League teams and Premier National Conference teams in the past. Beyond the top sides though the standard does fall quite rapidly, certainly outside the Premier Leagues.

Edited by Damien

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The top RL universities play to a decent amateur standard, I can't quote you any results but if you look at past challenge cups you will see that there is usually 1 or 2 universities in the first round that get to play amateur teams, can't recall any of them beating the likes of National Conference Premier division teams but think they have beaten others.

I too would echo RP L's advice, pick the best university for the course and where you would like to live - in my experience those that failed were on the wrong course or in a place they didn't want to be. Wherever you go you should be able to play and if it is not to the standard you hoped then find an amateur club nearby

Good luck with the studies and the rugby

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4 minutes ago, Cumbrian Fanatic said:

The top RL universities play to a decent amateur standard, I can't quote you any results but if you look at past challenge cups you will see that there is usually 1 or 2 universities in the first round that get to play amateur teams, can't recall any of them beating the likes of National Conference Premier division teams but think they have beaten others.

Leeds Met beat Wigan St Pats in the 2000s. I know when I was there we narrowly lost by a couple of points to Thornhill too who were near the top of the National Conference Premier division at the time. Lost narrowly to Mayfield too one year who were in the Premier division as well. I also remember beating Clayton from the Pennine League. Don't know too much about the standard these days mind you.

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2 minutes ago, Damien said:

Leeds Met beat Wigan St Pats in the 2000s. I know when I was there we narrowly lost by a couple of points to Thornhill too who were near the top of the National Conference Premier division at the time. Lost narrowly to Mayfield too one year who were in the Premier division as well. I also remember beating Clayton from the Pennine League. Don't know too much about the standard these days mind you.

I stand corrected then

Meant to add into my first post that I believe Northumbria University has links with Newcastle Thunder

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30 minutes ago, Cumbrian Fanatic said:

I stand corrected then

Meant to add into my first post that I believe Northumbria University has links with Newcastle Thunder

Oh not at all. This is just my experiences and not the norm for all uni teams.  Like I said in my original post, the top 3 or 4 sides are very good but after that there is a huge drop off and a lot of University teams would get annihilated by even just an average amateur side. 

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Leeds Beckett and Northumbria are another level to everyone else and are probably comparable to NCL Premier. Both Premier divisions are reasonably strong (North much moreso), but you see a big drop off in the regional leagues, particularly outside of the North. If you go to the following link and search for rugby league competitions, you can get an idea of where teams stand in relation to each other - https://www.bucs.org.uk//bucscore/Search.aspx

Don't worry about certain unis having links with particular clubs, if you're good enough and have aspirations to play League 1 then plenty of clubs recruit through the Student Rep programme. 

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One of the lads I have coached has just been made club captain at Durham.  He had never played RL pre Uni, but has grown to love it.  He said they are a smallish squad, and always looking for players.  Standard wise, they appear to be average (North 2B).

Couple of others I coached play at Bath.  Again, both new to the code.  Club appears to be small down there, but attracts some pretty decent players due to the uni's reputation for sports.

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something else to add... if you pick the uni by the RL team from one year to the next it can change dramatically. When I played at Birmingham the year I left and there were only 1-2 of my year leaving, but the year after a large chunk of players left and it caused some big headaches in the club and IIRC they got relegated the next year and were struggling. 

 

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I went to watch my old university team, Hull, take on (Rochdale) Mayfield from the Conference Premier division in the first round of this year's Challenge Cup.  It was not a full strength Mayfield side but the University gave a great account of themselves and only lost by 10 points.

I finished at Hull in 1984 and it is amazing to see how the student game has moved on since then.  Actually turning out 15 players could be the most difficult part !!  Now a lot of clubs turn out two sides which is great for the game.

A big difference that I noticed at Hull was how many "locals" now attend the University - I assume that this is the same  at other universities. This can have a major positive impact on the student game in that you have a bunch of players who have been playing since they were young and come "fully formed" instead of having to be taught the game from scratch.  It also good for RL "newbies" to have experienced players around them.

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Thank you for the information & advice - very much appreciated. I know what degree I'm interested in studying, so it looks like I need to make sure I get the grades & be aiming for Leeds Beckett and Northumbria.

If Leeds Beckett/Northumbria are head and shoulders above the rest of the university teams, does anyone know how they compare ability wise to the Super League u19 Academy teams?

i.e. would a player develop & progress their skills more in a u19 Academy setup or at Leeds Beckett/Northumbria? 

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On 7 December 2017 at 12:46 PM, Ex-Kirkholt said:

A big difference that I noticed at Hull was how many "locals" now attend the University - I assume that this is the same  at other universities.

Seems to be a (rather sad) trend nowadays, almost as if university has, for many, become merely an extension of the sixth form. A lot of students seem to go to the nearest university and continue living with mum and dad, presumably to reduce the cost. I was at university about the same period as you - 83-86 - and, back then, virtually everyone 'went away' to study. It was part of the experience.

I watched the Clayton v Leeds Met Challenge Cup tie (3/12/00), mentioned above. The students were a fresh-faced bunch; Clayton a hard looking, grizzled lot with misshapen noses. I feared for the students, but they absolutely creamed Clayton. The final score, 20-10, didn't reflect Leeds Met's superiority. An impressive side.

Edited by Hopping Mad

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2 hours ago, student said:

Thank you for the information & advice - very much appreciated. I know what degree I'm interested in studying, so it looks like I need to make sure I get the grades & be aiming for Leeds Beckett and Northumbria.

If Leeds Beckett/Northumbria are head and shoulders above the rest of the university teams, does anyone know how they compare ability wise to the Super League u19 Academy teams?

i.e. would a player develop & progress their skills more in a u19 Academy setup or at Leeds Beckett/Northumbria? 

I'd argue that if those are your options, you may as well stay in an u19 set up. You can always go to uni a year later to no real detriment. 

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18 hours ago, student said:

Thank you for the information & advice - very much appreciated. I know what degree I'm interested in studying, so it looks like I need to make sure I get the grades & be aiming for Leeds Beckett and Northumbria.

If Leeds Beckett/Northumbria are head and shoulders above the rest of the university teams, does anyone know how they compare ability wise to the Super League u19 Academy teams?

i.e. would a player develop & progress their skills more in a u19 Academy setup or at Leeds Beckett/Northumbria? 

Hi,

If you contact our academy manager michael.heap@newcastle-thunder.co.uk he will be able to give you some advice 

we have a really good link up with Northumbria uni, we currently have 11 players from our u19 academy and first team that play & study at Northumbria 

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depending on where you are you can do both, and arguably should do both. If you are in the Under 19 set up you can do university too and its a good fall back as the numbers that make it from academies in any sport are small.. and thats if you dont get injured at the wrong time etc. Education is vital to life no matter if you are wanting to become an RL player or not, you wont get paid enough to live off for life even if you make it. 

its also never a bad thing to take the pressure off you a little to know that you have options down the line.  

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On ‎11‎/‎12‎/‎2017 at 9:18 PM, Hopping Mad said:

I watched the Clayton v Leeds Met Challenge Cup tie (3/12/00), mentioned above. The students were a fresh-faced bunch; Clayton a hard looking, grizzled lot with misshapen noses. I feared for the students, but they absolutely creamed Clayton. The final score, 20-10, didn't reflect Leeds Met's superiority. An impressive side.

You've just made me feel really old now haha.

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A bit late to this topic and my advice is a little old - 20 or so years ago.

I played at Leeds Uni and the standard was decent. In a year I missed through injury, we got through to the second round of the Challenge Cup which wasnt bad.

In fairness though, and things may have changed, we were just not big and tough enough to compete with good amateur sides.

Most of the first XIII (including myself) were academy players elsewhere but the beauty of a big university is that the 2nd XIII was a decent standard as well and made up of players from all different backgrounds and countries - lots of Union lads whose face didnt fit in the Union clique - who had a great time.

My recomendation would be, dont pick your university based on the League program but a big Univerity running a decent 2nd XIII will give you lots of opportunities.

Edited by Goughy
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Leeds Beckett at the moment have 4 Players with 1st team contracts at Halifax RLFC and 1 at Swinton Lions both teams are championship clubs.  But like an earlier comment don't pick university on the Rugby League side pick the one with the best course.

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Loughborough University has a very good RL course/team and competes weekly across the UK in the top level Premier South BUCS competition.  This year LoBro are in Rd1 of the Challenge Cup against Bradford DH.  Hull Uni is also represented in Rd1.  In 2010 they reached the 3rd round and LoBro RL students are represented in the Student Rugby League World Cup, aka Universities World Cup.  They're currently top of their league too (https://www.bucs.org.uk/bucscore/League.aspx?id=5868&sport=Rugby+League)!

Of course, if sport, in general, is your choice of profession then Loughborough University is very hard to beat having just been named the ‘world’s best sporting university’ by the QS World Uni Rankings.

Good luck!

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I know someone who is attached to Manchester Met and you're right about Toronto going into partnership with them. They have some of the players and staff coaching them - they had Ryan Brierley doing a kicking clinic before Christmas and Ashton Sims has been in the S & C suite with the students. Apparently they want to use the University as a development team and have put in place links with Toronto University so that any young players in Canada will be able to continue their development over here. I think Manchester Met are in the 2nd tier of the league system but can see them jumping up quickly with their recruitment of younger players on the back of all this.

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4 hours ago, Roryfellinghamwebb said:

I know someone who is attached to Manchester Met and you're right about Toronto going into partnership with them. They have some of the players and staff coaching them - they had Ryan Brierley doing a kicking clinic before Christmas and Ashton Sims has been in the S & C suite with the students. Apparently they want to use the University as a development team and have put in place links with Toronto University so that any young players in Canada will be able to continue their development over here. I think Manchester Met are in the 2nd tier of the league system but can see them jumping up quickly with their recruitment of younger players on the back of all this.

Shhh, don't tell anyone that TWP has some development plans.

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10 hours ago, Roryfellinghamwebb said:

 I think Manchester Met are in the 2nd tier of the league system but can see them jumping up quickly with their recruitment of younger players on the back of all this.

They are, they got relegated from Premier North last season. However, they are 4th in the league this year and once failed to put out a team, which gives me the impression they'll struggle for a few years. 

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