Gloucester-Hartpury have eyes set on top four

Sean Lynn and Mo Hunt - Gloucester-Hartpury

Gloucester-Hartpury know their time is now in the Allianz Premier 15s.

2022 saw record attendances in Allianz Premier 15s home games, the most competitive campaign to date and England announced as the hosts of the 2025 World Cup.

And Sean Lynn’s side have sent shockwaves through the league in the off-season, the single biggest movers in the transfer stakes.

They have swooped to sign Red Roses Maud Muir and Alex Matthews, as well as Wales captain Siwan Lillicrap, a significant injection of international quality.

Gloucester-Hartpury have flirted with the top four - finishing sixth, fifth and fifth in recent seasons - but Lynn and team feel equipped to go to the next level this time.

“We’ve always looked at top four, we looked at getting there last year and the year before,” said Lynn.

“We’re trying to get everything in place to make sure we’ve got the personnel to make that top four. It’s a long season and we’re pouring everything into that.

“We’ve just lacked a bit of strength in depth in the past. We’ve had some injuries and we just didn’t have a big enough squad to compete with the top four teams.

“We’ve really put an emphasis on that in terms of our recruitment this year.”

Gloucester-Hartpury’s campaign starts with a West Country clash against Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park, one of two matches being broadcast live on on opening weekend.

The Red Roses and the rest of the world’s best players rejoin the league after a minimum of two weeks’ rest, with five rounds of the Allianz Cup having already taken place.

“We’ve used the Cup as that building block,” said Lynn. “I’m very loyal and if you put your hands up in those games, you deserve that jersey.

“We had our first training session with the internationals and we showed them the highlights of what the girls have done in the Cup. They’re starting to see what they’re all about.”

Natasha Hunt will be a key player for the club once again and the scrum-half says she’s playing better than ever before ahead of the new season.

'Mo' is even setting new personal bests on the bench press aged 33.

“I’m in my prime!” said Hunt. “A lot of the girls have been setting new markers in the gym and we enjoy our time on and off the field.

“Everyone loves a Gloucester night out, and that’s important.

“I feel like I’m playing some of the best rugby I’ve ever played. I feel fit, I feel strong and I’m excited to get the season underway.”

Allianz Premier 15s - the elite women’s rugby competition in England. @Premier15s