Choosing a sports team to join at University can be a particularly daunting and difficult, especially when there are a number of options for the same sport. With this in mind, we at the United Bristol Hospitals RFC (Uni of Bristol Medics Rugby) have created a handy FAQ sheet to help make this decision an easy one.
1) Why would I play for Medics over University rugby?
We offer a high standard of rugby and a very friendly atmosphere for Freshers of all abilities. Unless you aspire of playing Semi-professional or Professional rugby thus playing University 1s, playing for the UBH is the logical choice as our first XV sits between the University 1s and 2s in terms of standard. We offer a club with a fantastic culture of camaraderie, wanting you to make lifelong friendships with all years of the club. We emphasise strongly on incorporating Freshers as early as we can, getting rid of the ‘Fresher’ culture that can plague University sport. Playing on a Saturday gives you much more time in the week to catch up on your studies and takes off the pressure of playing other types of University Sport. We have four values as a club, Graft, Attitude, Commitment and Enjoyment (GRACE) that we apply to every aspect of club life on and off the pitch. It is important to understand that the mental health of students is vitally important and by being a part of our club, we guarantee you will always feel supported throughout your time with us. With two full time coaches, two skills coaches and a full time physio, we rival even the best club's setup. Add to this an extensive Old Boys network that provides a link to the club even years after you have left, and you have all the ingredients for the best club at the Uni. Playing for this club you will make lifelong mates, have unbelievable socials, play incredible rugby and be a part of something really special.
2) I am not a medic, does this mean I can’t play for the medics rugby team?
Of course you can play for us! Whilst our main representation is medics, vets and dentists due to the demands of their courses, we welcome students from all courses! We also welcome local doctors from around the Bristol area.
3) I have never played rugby before, will I even get game?
Whether you are a complete beginner or have been passing things backwards since before you could walk it doesn’t matter, all abilities are welcome. We have a first team playing in the Gloucester 2 South division and the National Association of Medical Schools (NAMS) Cup, as well as our second team who play in the NAMS 2s cup and the University's intramural league against other University teams. There is something for everyone - if you are a completely social player or at the top of your game.
4) What day of the week do you play your matches on?
Both teams play all of their matches on a Saturday at Coombe Dingle, allowing the club to support one another through their games and also provide a huge social in the evening. We also provide Wednesday night socials for pre-clinical and non-medic players so that you can join in with the other Uni clubs on Sports Night.
5) But the other uni teams play on Wednesdays?
This is true however playing on Saturday has a number of advantages For example it leaves you free to play another sport on a Wednesday afternoon if you so wish and is a lot easier when it comes to lectures and work (Thursdays don’t have to be a write off). Also we play a mix of club and student rugby teams throughout the year which gives it a bit of variation. Further, as a Fresher you will get the opportunity to attend pre-clinical sports nights at Gravity with every other club as well as Score, the big sports night out once a term, so you still feel like you are a part of the University sports teams.
6) What is the standard of rugby like?
The 1sts play in Gloucester 2 South which is the 10th tier of English Rugby (Aviva Prem. is the top tier) as well as the NAMS cup, of which we are in the most competitive group. The 2nds play in the NAMS 2s Cup against other medical school 2nd XVs as well as the University Intramural league which is a much more social style of rugby and takes the pressure off playing. The first XV were promoted last year from Gloucester 3 and won 20 of 24 games played and we are aiming for two more successive promotions to reach the Gloucester premier (level 8) as well as to win the NAMS Cup for the first time in our history. Beating Cardiff in varsity is also number one on the priority list, coming the closest we have in 5 years last year.
7) Do you have Freshers Trials?
No we don't as we believe Freshers should be integrated into the club as soon as possible. Seeing as clinical medics will be back earlier than pre-clinical medics and freshers, pre-season training will start on September 5th. The first training session after Fresher's fair is our designated 'new players training session' (2nd October), although if you hear about it earlier you are more than welcome to come along!
8) I am a bit nervous about having to do an ‘initiation’, do you have them?
We do not buy into the initiation culture at all, it is better at alienating new players rather than building a good club spirit. We will have a big social to get all of the Fresher's used to socials (a 'welcome social on 29th after Fresher's Fair and one after the Fresher's Tournament on 6th October), as well as Welcome Drinks where older boys cook Fresher's dinner at their houses and get to know the younger clubmen. We pride ourselves on integrating Freshers as best as we can in almost the opposite way to many University clubs and we are a much friendlier club.
9) I’ve heard medics do nothing but work, do you even have a social scene?
The UBH boasts possibly the best social scene at the University. We have weekly socials at our pub Sportsman's in town, followed by Lounge. We also love a theme and run special one off events throughout the year, with our Old Boys dinner and Nantes Tour being highlights for many clubmen.
10) When is training?
Tuesday = 7:45pm to 9pm at Portway Development Ground (BS9 2HS)
Thursday = 7pm to 8pm Team Gym at Coombe Dingle (BS9 2BJ)
Friday= 7:45pm-9pm at Coombe Dingle to get things looking slick before matches on Saturdays at Coombe Dingle
11) Do you go on a tour?
We have a bi-annual tour to Nantes (next one is planned for March 2019), with Nantes University visiting us last year. We are the current champions of the Ottie Uden Cup, named after a friend to many in the club who sadly passed in October 2017, and we plan to retain this for many years to come and keep it out of the hands of the French.
12) I consider myself fashion conscious, is there stash?
Obviously, what else do you think we spend our loans on? The club is supplied by Macron Store Bristol and the link is here: www.ubhrfc.macronstorebristol.co.uk
There is all the stash you can dream of which you can get delivered straight to your door.
13) OK I’m keen, how do I sign up?
Get in touch with the club via the following links:
Club Captain Clem Stratford - firstname.lastname@example.org/07584098955
Freshers Secretary and VC Harry Searle - email@example.com/07948475314
Please also come along to the welcome social on 29th September 6:30pm at Sportsmans pub (BS1 5AE) as well as our two Fresher's training sessions on Tuesday 2nd October 7:45pm-9pm at Portway and Friday 5th October 7:45pm-9pm at Coombe Dingle ready for the Fresher's tournament at Coombe Dingle on 6th October. Also attached to this is the Fresher's schedule for the upcoming season!
Hopefully that has cleared up most if not all questions. If anything has been missed please get in touch via the social media options above or via the numbers given...