The Rugby Football Union has teamed up with Hartpury College to deliver its groundbreaking national education programme for coaches who will help recruit, retain and develop players at all ages and levels of the game.
The RFU has established a coaching development model to put in place a world-leading coaching system in place across England that is aligned to the government's UK Coaching Framework.
Rugby union is at the forefront of coaching development in the UK and has been appointed a trailblazer sport for coaching.
Hartpury, in Gloucestershire, will now be a national centre for coaches taking the RFU Level 3 award as well as the development of the trainers and coach educators who deliver the RFU's programmes who will be accredited as Certificated Tutors in Sport.
Around 120 coaches take the RFU Level 3 award annually and this year they include the likes of recent and current professional players like Lawrence Dallaglio and Mike Catt.
Critical to developing coaches is the quality of the coach educators who work with 17,000 coaches and teachers each year.
In January, the RFU implemented its trailblazing licence scheme for coach educators which will ensure high quality part-time staff are deployed to support the development of rugby coaches across England.
Hartpury will provide the RFU with the environment and support required to deliver a first rate training experience to the thousands of coaches and the national delivery workforce.
RFU Community Rugby Director Andrew Scoular said:
"This new agreement provides access to Hartpury's outstanding facilities and technical support for our coaching department, which will help us achieve our aim of having a world-leading coaching system."
"Our existing partnership has seen the College support the delivery of coach education for the RFU and Community Rugby within the South West for a number of years."
"Their commitment to providing a quality product is evident from the consistent positive feedback received from our coaches and we look forward to this agreement strengthening our working relationship further."
The facilities on the Hartpury campus include five full-sized rugby pitches, a floodlit rubber crumb pitch, rugby-specific conditioning room for strength and power training, a fitness suite, a scrummage pit and sled, a performance analysis suite and hot and cold baths for 'contrast recovery' sessions.
Hartpury has established a world class reputation for developing rugby players and its facilities are utilised by students, players and Gloucester RFC as well as the RFU.
Their men's team completed a hat-trick of BUCS Championship titles by beating UWIC 49-30 in the final at Twickenham this week.
Hartpury College Principal Malcolm Wharton said:
"This agreement demonstrates Hartpury's commitment to supporting a national educational coaching programme and further strengthens our successful relationship with the RFU."
"The outstanding rugby and educational environment we have developed will ensure an outstanding training experience is delivered to the thousands of coaches we look forward to welcoming onto campus over the coming years."
Gloucester-Hartpury Women take on West Park Leeds Ladies in the final of the Intermediate Cup at Royal Wootton Bassett RFC on Saturday. Rebecca de Filippo and Gemma Sharples took time out from training to preview the game.
Speaking to the local media this week, front row forward John Afoa spoke of the squad's targets for this weekend's European Rugby Challenge Cup Quarter Final with Cardiff Blues at Kingsholm. Despite taking on new opponents, the squad know the focus is on themselves to get the job done as knockout rugby kicks in.
Gloucester-Hartpury Women take on West Park Leeds Ladies in the final of the Intermediate Cup Final on Saturday. Head Coach Susie Appleby took time out to preview the game and chat about the future for the team.
Number eight Ben Morgan admitted that the 32-14 Aviva Premiership win over Bristol on Friday evening hadn't been pretty at times, but that the win was based on everyone in the squad remaining united and working for each other.
Previewing Friday evening's local derby at Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell told the local media that Gloucester's preparations have gone well and that the whole squad is united in trying to finish the season on a high.
Speaking to GRTV this week, Acting Head Coach Jonny Bell spoke of his pleasure in the efforts and intensity in training from the squad after a tricky few weeks. The team were preparing for big games with Bristol and Cardiff in coming weeks.
Willi Heinz was understandably and visibly disappointed when he spoke to GRTV after the 27-30 home defeat to Harlequins, apologising to the home support as the game slipped away after seemingly having the game under control.
In the aftermath of the Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell was able to look forward to this weekend's European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-final against Cardiff Blues (Kingsholm, kick off 8:05pm).