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."
Speaking to the local media this week, Richard Hibbard expressed his excitement ahead of the West Country derby and that there is an extra spring in the step of the Cherry and Whites ahead of the tough challenge.
With such a short turnaround between the two games, and Gloucester looking to reintegrate several players into the line-up after the Autumn international series, Tom Savage told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will keep changes to a minimum for the European Rugby Challenge Cup game in Zebre on Saturday.
Gloucester travel to Italy this weekend to take on Zebre in Round Four of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The Cherry and Whites defeated the Italian side 35-10 last Sunday, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys is looking for an improved performance in the return fixture.
On a tough evening at Kingsholm, Gloucester could escape neither a suffocating Bath defence, nor the whistle of referee Greg Garner as six penalties and a penalty try paved the way to a 39-16 win for the visitors.
Gloucester Rugby welcome Sione Kalamafoni, Greig Laidlaw and Tom Palmer back to the starting line up and feature David Halaifonua in a matchday squad for the first time, as they resume Aviva Premiership action against Bath Rugby at Kingsholm on Saturday (kick off 5:30pm).