His long-term objective is to forge a successful career with Bath Rugby in the Premiership but for the time being Will Britton has his eyes firmly focused on dominating a new-look competition called BUCS Super Rugby.
The 20-year-old Sport & Social Sciences student, who plays second row, has been handed the honour of leading the University of Bath in the new national league which will see the eight strongest higher-education teams go head-to-head.
It is launching in October and will also feature Exeter, Leeds Beckett Carnegie, Hartpury, Loughborough, Durham, Northumbria and Cardiff Met.
BUCS Super Rugby will be the pinnacle of higher education sport, showcasing the highest-quality student rugby in the world.
“Talking to the other captains, I know everyone is very excited about the investment and the energy that is around university rugby at the moment,” said Britton, who featured for Bath Rugby in the West Country derby against Gloucester last season.
“I think it is very special, I haven’t really got to grips with it entirely yet but I’m sure that when we get some games under our belt then we will see how things go.
“With the new format that we have in BUCS Super Rugby, I think there is a higher level of exposure for the players, bigger crowds and more people watching, potentially it going on the internet as well.
“The players themselves will have so many more eyes on them, so let’s hope they play well.”
Matches will be predominantly played on Wednesday evenings, with six of the University of Bath’s home fixtures taking place on the repurposed athletics in-field at the Sports Training Village. There will be a warm-up match on the pitch against local rivals University of Bristol on Wednesday, September 28 (5.30pm).
The other home fixture, against Leeds Beckett, will take place at The Rec – home of Bath Rugby – on Tuesday, October 25 as part of the University’s 50th-anniversary celebrations. Admission is free and it’s a 6.30pm kick-off. A full fixture list for 2016-17 is available here.
The first aim for the University’s rugby team is to finish in the top four and secure a place in the play-offs, with the ultimate prize being the a place in the Grand Final at Twickenham.
“I don’t think you can really put a price on playing at Twickenham,” said Britton. “Playing with your mates week in, week out, is good but coming to a place like Twickenham, after all the work of a long season, would be something really special.”
The University of Bath will kick off their BUCS Super League campaign on Friday, October 14 with a trip to Northumbria, followed by the first home match against Loughborough on Wednesday, October 19.
“I don’t really know too much about Northumbria but at this stage, with the quality of teams you have in the league, there are no easy games and every week is going to be like quarter-final rugby for us,” said Britton.
“The University of Bath has been great with the increased investment [in the rubgy set-up for this season] and we’ve got new facilities on the way. The coaching staff has always been great and we’ve just bolstered that this year.
“You get a sense, just walking around at pre-season, that the university is really behind us this year and pushing rugby forwards, as they should be.
“I think the RFU are behind this more so than ever before as well. We have such quality players in the university system at the moment, it seems only fair that they get as much support as possible from the RFU.”
BUCS Super Rugby is a new national league, bringing together the eight best men’s university rugby teams in the country. The league is run by British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) and powered by Rugby Vertical. For more info visit www.bucs.org.uk/superrugby