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Work starts on scholars' new world-class rugby performance centre

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Team Brunel’s rugby scholars will soon have a new home after work began on their new £2m rugby performance centre.

The scholars – 150 men and 40 women – will get access to a new ‘World Rugby’-standard artificial pitch, a 1200m2 high-specification indoor gym and world-class specialist sports and rugby equipment.

Due to open in October 2021, the centre will be a main base for the Trailfinders Rugby Academy, a sports scholarship programme run in partnership between Brunel and professional rugby outfit Ealing Trailfinders that gives promising young players the chance to pursue a professional sports career whilst also completing a degree.


Although the performance gym will only be available to rugby players on the programme, the newly installed artificial pitch will be made available to other student clubs and teams.  An artificial pitch can be used for over 40 hours per week, compared to just six hours per week for a standard grass pitch, making prolonged periods of use possible.

The building of the new facility is funded by The Mike Gooley Trailfinders Charity, named after the club’s owner, with the ongoing running costs covered by the joint partnership.

“The new facilities are going to give us a home where we can maximize our performance on campus – it’s a hugely exciting facility for us to keep developing and growing within the university,” said Gareth Rise, Academy Project & Programme Manager at Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Academy.

“As a professional club, we see Brunel as one of the strategic partnerships needed for us to grow into one of the biggest clubs in the country and in Europe. We’re massively excited to be able to move forward and keep growing our programme with this great facility.”

James Budkiewicz, Assistant Director of Commercial Services at Brunel, said: “The partnership is a genuine win-win for both parties. Ealing Trailfinders are recruiting, developing and nurturing talented young players, providing a genuine pipeline of talent for the future, whilst Brunel benefits from improved facilities and a programme that taps into some of the best rugby knowhow and expertise in the country.  

“Ealing Trailfinders' partnership with Brunel is an outstanding pathway for a young rugby player wishing to combine their higher education with a professional rugby career.” 

For further information about the Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Scholarship Programme, please visit:




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