Portsmouth helping to raise rugby’s profile in China

The University of Portsmouth men’s rugby team has been selected as one of only three universities to represent the UK in the fourth ever UK-China Sport week alongside the University of Cambridge and Northumbria University.

Jake Caddy

The exchange is an initiative of the Federation of University Sports of China and the British Council and will consist of a series of Rugby Sevens games with Chinese university rugby teams. The tour will also include a number of student networking events aiming to deepen the collaboration between British and Chinese universities through sport.

Paul Tilley, Head of Sport and Recreation at the University, said Portsmouth was chosen to participate after demonstrating sustained development in its programme and the close links to the Rugby Football Union (RFU).

“Our rugby programme has a long history of providing opportunities for all abilities and installing a strong sense of friendship and values to complement our competitive aspirations, and now we have the opportunity to share our knowledge in building up the sport in China.

“The rugby club have worked incredibly hard over the past few years and shown great dedication, so this opportunity is a great reward for their effort.”

First team captain Jonty Newton said the club had shown significant commitment this season, competing up to BUCS South Premier level and the club having nearly 200 members. Sports Scholar Jake Caddy, who is in the China tour team, represented the English Universities Sevens and Barbados in the North America Rugby World Cup Sevens qualifiers. He said: “The team is thrilled to be able to have this opportunity to visit China and the exchange will be a great way to begin our 2018 season, which we hope will be our best yet.”

“We are looking forward to not only playing against the Chinese teams, but creating friendships, learning from each other and getting a unique travelling experience.”

Rugby is a relatively new sport in China and has been increasing in popularity among young people.

The fourth UK-China University Sports Week will attract attention from the government, industry players, media and the general public in China. Through this visit the University of Portsmouth hopes to explore opportunities for future partnerships with a variety of Chinese partners in sports, exchanges and academic provision.

Chinese universities taking part include Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xiamen University and Beijing University.

Portsmouth’s team of 16 players and support staff will leave on 31 August.

To keep up to date on the developments of the tour please check the news section of our website – www.sportportsmouth.co.uk/news

If you wish to find out more about the University of Portsmouth sport scholarship scheme, please visit www.sportportsmouth.co.uk/sports_scholarships

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