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Moulton College to enter ACE league for 2024/25 season

Moulton College, a partner of Northampton Saints Academy, will be making the step up to the elite level of English college rugby next season.

Back in August 2023, the strong links between Moulton and Saints were formalised in a new partnership agreement that included former Saintsman Reece Marshall re-joining the Club as Moulton College Academy Coach.

Participants who made the grade in the 2023/24 season were able to play for Moulton College’s BUCS team. But entering the 2024/25 campaign, Moulton will be testing themselves against the best young players across the country by entering the ACE league.

Ahead of pre-season preparations getting underway in August, Moulton College is hosting an open training day on Wednesday 26 June for players interested in joining the programme able to rub shoulders with the current second years. 

“Myself, Mark Hopley and Phil Powell (Moulton College’s Head of Rugby) had a conversation right at the beginning of the year about something we wanted to achieve, whether we wanted to do it this season coming or the season after,” said Marshall, who made 60 appearances for the men in Black, Green and Gold over seven seasons after making his senior debut in 2015.

“It is a big step but it is one as a college and as a partnership with the Club, we are all incredibly excited about.”

Reece Marshall

“We’re giving an opportunity to boys who aren’t necessarily going to go to private school, or who might be working in construction or agriculture and want a career in that outside of rugby.

“We want to give them the best platform to play as close as they can to a professional training schedule, in the highest quality calibre of games that aren’t in the school calendar necessarily. It is really exciting, and something I was involved in years ago, which makes it very exciting for me!”

During the academic year, Moulton tackled and defeated ACE level sides Myerscough College and Oaklands, who are partnered with Sale Sharks and Saracens respectively. They also took on SGS Filton and Hartpury, and while those results did not go their way, Marshall believes a lot was gained from the experience.

“SGS Filton and Hartpury taught us a real lesson in what it is like to make that step up,” the former hooker said. “This year has been about finding our feet and getting to used to where we are and what sort of standard we are at. We have played in a couple of different leagues, there has been a lot of chopping and changing, playing different age groups. Then finding out who the players are who are going to go forward into the ACE programme.

“Training intensity has ramped up, we have definitely pushed more out of the boys throughout the season and pushed their skill development and their physical development, leading into the ACE programme.”

Mark Hopley, Head of Academy at Saints, added: “This is massive for Northampton Saints to have a state school partnership entering into this level of rugby, as we look to offer the highest standard of rugby to all players across our region.”

For more information on the Moulton College training and information days, please click HERE or email [email protected]

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