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28 January 2008 PR 08/09

University base for England Saxons’ Ireland preparations

England Saxons will be making their final preparations for back to back international fixtures at a week-long preparation camp at Loughborough University.

England A side, the Saxons, meet for the first time as a full squad today (Monday 28 January) and will utilise the world class facilities on offer at Loughborough as they bond as a team ahead of their Ireland A clash on Friday (1 February).

Saxons assistant coach and former Leicester Tiger Graham Rowntree, who has used Loughborough’s facilities extensively during his 17-year playing career, is looking forward to returning to the University.

“We will be using our time at Loughborough to get our act together as a team and work on our playing style, calls and moves,” he explained. “Because most of the squad have played over the weekend we will be using the camp for recovery as well match preparation.

“The facilities at Loughborough are fantastic. They’re second to none, both inside and out, and there’s plenty of space. I’ve regularly used the facilities before with both Leicester Tigers and England and I’ve always been impressed.”

The Saxons will be using a variety of facilities on campus, including the grass pitches, swimming pool, PowerBase gym and Burleigh Court conference centre. Members of the University’s rugby squad are also providing opposition for the England side as they countdown to Friday’s fixture.

Loughborough graduate Ollie Smith has recovered from injury to join the 27-man training squad for the Ireland A game and will find out whether he has made the final cut for Friday’s match when the team is announced on Wednesday.

ENDS

For all media enquiries contact:

Notes for editors:

  1. England Saxons are holding an open media session on Wednesday (30 January). Media interested in attending should contact RFU Media Manager Nicki Drinkwater on nickidrinkwater@rfu.com or 07764 660187.

  2. The England Saxons will play fixtures against Ireland A at Welford Road on Friday 1 February (kick off 7.45pm, live on Sky Sports) and Italy A at Stadio Aldo Campo, Ragusa, Sicily on Saturday 9 February (kick off 6.15pm local time).  For more information on England Saxons log onto www.rfu.com/saxons

  3. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

    It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

    Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

    In the 2007 National Student Survey, the University was voted fourth in the UK, with 23 out of 29 of Loughborough’s subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. Loughborough is also ranked in the top fifteen of UK universities in national league tables. It was named winner of the 2006 and 2007 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other university.

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