Clarion call goes out to students in the southwest

THE South West Universities will play the South East on the first weekend in December and the best players will go forward to represent the South against the North in an Origin fixture, from which the England Universities squad will be selected writes Chris Chatten.

The South West covers a huge geographic area including Wales. Students who want to trial for the squad should qualify to represent England and be studying at a university in the South West and Wales.

I have been appointed as Team Manager for the third year running after having had a successful debut season operating Bath in the West of England League. I am also Chairman of the West of England Representative Squad.

A new coaching team has been appointed for the South West Universities with Ben Whincup coming in as Head Coach after a successful West of England League campaign, winning the competition with Swindon St George. Ben is also Head Coach of the West of England League representative squad and has recently been appointed as Head Coach at University of Gloucestershire who have been one of the most successful university Rugby League clubs in the South over the last couple of years, finishing top of the BUCS Premier South League.

Dan Brooker has been appointed to the Assistant Coach role; Dan is familiar with the Rugby League landscape in the South West area having played for community sides Bristol Sonics and Oxford Cavaliers in recent years. He has also played for professional outfit Oxford RL alongside brother Marcus, and is coaching at the University of Bristol. He was lucky enough to tour Ireland with the West of England League side, scoring five tries on the way to victory against Ireland Under 19s.

University of Gloucestershire won their first BUCS Premier South fixture last week against Exeter 28-10, while University of Bath Broncos stunned Nottingham Trent, winning 20-12 away in their first game of the season after being promoted from Western 1A.    Brooker’s University of Bristol play in Western 1A but have not played a game yet this season.

Bath’s Josh Frost and new signing Max Sangster will be attending the trials on Sunday 5 November. They both play rugby union, at University of Gloucestershire and Cardiff Met respectively.

Chatten said: “We encourage university students from across the South West & Wales to come and showcase their talent at the trial. We are also planning an exciting and unique trial fixture as part of the programme, we would encourage students from all university Rugby League teams to take this opportunity, but there is also the opportunity to cross codes from rugby union and progress on the Rugby League representative pathway.”

The trial on Sunday 5 November is from noon at Cleve RFC, The Hayfields, Cossham Street, Mangotsfield, Bristol, BS16 9EN.

To register, email Chatten at