The end of Sutton Bonington Rugby?

Big plans from Sports Management threaten the existence of Sutton Bonington Rugby.


Say goodbye to Sutton Bonington Rugby as you know it! At least, that’s what the Senior Sports Management Team is asking you to do, unless the teams are able to save themselves.

On Wednesday, the Mens and Ladies Rugby teams based on Sutton Bonington were informed of the ‘scandalous’ proposal to remove SB teams from the BUCS competition.

SB Ladies Rugby Football Club

SB Ladies Rugby FC

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SB Mens Rugby FC

The British Universities & Colleges Sport is the national governing body for Higher Education sport. The BUCS Rugby league is the best to be in and gives players the best chances in sport.  Yet the teams at SB look to be forced out of it.

The committee members of the Mens and Ladies BUCS teams are firmly opposed to this proposal. They say it would effectively dissolve rugby at SB in favour of teams based only at University Park. The current captains, Jean Marc Roberti and Sinead Kenna described it as ‘completely unrealistic’ to expect SB students to travel to UP.

Sinead told the Tab, ‘a lot of people have 9-5pm on campus anyway. We’re mainly Vet students. To then require us to travel to training would add 2hours on – 1hour there and back. It would be a 4hour training rather than 2hour.’

Jean Marc felt that ‘only the most committed individuals – 1 maybe 2 in the next couple of years – will go to UP and that will only be boys, because most girls who play at UoN have never played before’.

Clearly a significant distance for the players to travel

Clearly a significant distance for the players to travel

The feeling of both committees was that girls from SB would not play at all.

When asked, Athletic Union Officer Jonny Bell wished to be clear: ‘we are not ‘dissolving’ rugby at SB, nor are we proposing that it is stopped’. The purpose of the discussions is whether SB teams should continue in the BUCS competition or not.

The reason for the change is that the University of Nottingham has tasked to attain a BUCS Top 5 position. According to Jonny, this requires ‘the best students playing and training with the BUCS team which is most appropriate to their ability level. We must not act as different campuses – we must act as one unified Union and University’.

The aim then, seems quite reasonable. The SB Rugby teams argue it is not.

The reasoning of the Senior Sport Management Team is that last season highlighted weaknesses. Whilst SB’s Ladies 2nd team dominated their league, the UP 1st team struggled in the premiership to be relegated. Neither Mens teams are operating at UoN’s benchmark for BUCs entry.

According to Jean Marc and Sinead, no one has taken into account how great the league difference is. ‘The standard of Rugby is hugely different’, so although the lower teams have done well, they aren’t necessarily at the same standard as the first teams.

Confusingly, in Wednesday’s meeting, Jean Marc was outraged to hear Nigel Mayglothling (Assistant Director of Sport) boldly state that only the first team performed well this season. This suggests that really, the group leading these proposals have little understanding of the teams at all.

This leads the committees to believe that the discussions ‘are a complete farce’ and actually the decision has already been made. Jean Marc told the Tab that Nigel Mayglothling simple said he didn’t know if any other sports travelled between campuses, and actually he ‘didn’t care’.

Even Jonny Bell states that ‘again to be clear: maintaining the current situation is not a solution’. So clearly SB Rugby has very little choice.

SB Rugby teams argue the situation is a complete contradiction of UoN’s aim to ‘provide opportunities for students and staff to participate in sport’ and are campaigning to keep SB Rugby as it is.

To support them, please add your signature to their online petition here: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-sb-rugby/