By Jacque Talbot
The Festival of Sport recently hosted by Sandbach Rugby Club saw Manchester Metropolitan University’s (Manchester Met/MMU) Crewe and Manchester campus rugby teams come together to compete in a men’s sevens tournament. The event embraced the Cheshire community spirit and showcased local sporting talent to the regional clubs and schools while also offering a chance to increase connectivity between both Manchester Met’s campuses.
The event, which was funded by MMU Sport, saw the cross-campus team unite and qualify from their group – only losing to eventual winners Lymm in the semi-finals.
Shane Heffernan, the rugby union coach for the Cheshire campus talked about how bringing together both Manchester Met teams at the tournament was a very positive experience. He said, “It was great to meet the other coaches and to chat about where we see rugby union going in the university in the near future.”
He added, “There are always benefits to seeing how other coaches coach and interact with players and react to game situations.”
Shane also believes that the event generated a way of allowing prospective Manchester Met students to find out more about rugby life at the university. He said, “Players flourish in different environments and getting a tiny taste of the type of environment they may come into at Manchester Met can be really beneficial for players to gauge their short term future rugby careers.”
Manchester campus rugby union coach Rob Jones agreed that the festival offered a chance for students to get further acquainted with their team: “Our sevens programme combines the best talent across both campuses and rugby league. It also gives recruited first year students an introduction to their team mates and eases their integration into the group.”
He added, “Through having an open selection policy it really builds our relationships between the clubs and campuses, and helps share ideas and resources.”
Callum Jones, Manchester Met’s Performance Sport Officer, believes that the cross-campus collaboration is pivotal for future success. He said, “The Sandbach tournament was a great opportunity to promote our cross-campus relationship for the sport which has grown in popularity recently, highlighted by its inclusion in the Rio Olympics this summer. Moving forward, the cross-campus support of all clubs is essential for Manchester Met to put out its strongest teams.”
At the festival, MMU Sport also provided the team with additional support in the form of physiotherapy sessions, entrance fees, nutrition and travel. They also funded the recent Skofic sevens, which saw further participation from both MMU rugby teams as they travelled to Tarleton on 4th June.
From everyone at Humanity Hallows, congratulations to both Manchester and Crewe rugby teams.