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EXCLUSIVE: UOG Women’s Rugby Head Coach Gavin Deane hails importance of his players being exposed to Championship Rugby

Five girls from the University of Gloucestershire’s rugby team thrive from their experiences of playing for Championship club Cheltenham Tigers.

UOG head coach Gavin Deane believes it is crucial to help the university side improve.

Deane said: “I think it’s vital that they play championship rugby at the weekend. They play at such a good standard which pushes them as players. Getting that experience it’s only going to help the university girls on a Wednesday as it gives them a bit more experience to know they have girls at a certain level helping them and playing with them.

Gavin Deane playing for his club Widden Old Boys

“University teams always have such a mix of abilities, we have girls who have never played before, girls that have played for the majority of their lives and girls who play at championship or premiership level. The champ players are so important because the best way for the new players to learn is through mixing with their peers.”

Gloucestershire’s club captain, Madi Williams and vice captain, Chelsea Page both compete for Tigers regularly. Deane praises their leadership role within the university team and how their championship experience benefits it.

University of Gloucestershire Women’s Rugby team

“They are and experiencing more, then they can give those experiences and those details across to the other girls on a Wednesday. Their confidence has grown massively since playing with Cheltenham and you can’t have a good captain without confidence,” he said.

“It’s always going to help when they’re playing big teams and being exposed to experiences like playing at Twickenham.”

Yesterday, Cheltenham Tigers fell to a 14-31 defeat against Ivybridge during a cold and rainy Championship South-West Two clash. It was tough for both teams where the weather caused frequent knock-ons and multiple handling errors.

Amy Boswell, Madi Williams, Evie Turton

Deane shares how he often makes the trip to watch the University girls during their championship games: “I think as their coach it’s important to show my support. It’s useful for me to see first-hand what they do differently and what they learn there.”

“They played well against a strong Ivybridge team. They didn’t let themselves down in any way, I was really impressed to see them play such a good standard especially when they had a depleted squad, they showed up and did what they needed to do. It just wasn’t Tigers day.”

Evie Turton

Evie Turton is another of the students who played against Ivybridge. She discusses why Tigers struggled so much: “Ivybridge had a really strong pack, they were forward dominated and that pushed us to our limits. We had no replacement forwards on the bench, and ideally, you don’t want the front row playing a full 80 but we had no choice and I think that’s what lost us the game.

The University of Gloucestershire now face Bath University on Wednesday the 6th of December in the BUCS Western Tier one. Deane hopes that the Tigers girls will continue to boost the team ahead of what will be a difficult game.

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