Posted 12th Feb 2024

Coach’s pride as Archie Griffin’s senior Wales debut marks milestone moment for University of Bath rugby programme

Student Archie Griffin’s senior international debut for Wales in the Guinness Six Nations is a shining example of how the University of Bath’s partnership with Bath Rugby is helping players develop, achieve and excel.

That is the view of Aaron James, Head of Rugby at the University, who watched in pride as Griffin – a third-year Sports Performance student – took to the famous Twickenham field for Wales in the second half of Saturday’s hard-fought 16-14 defeat to England.

Griffin’s first cap comes almost a year to the day after he was lining up for the University men’s 1st XV in a BUCS Super Rugby match at Loughborough. The tighthead prop was a regular starter during the 2022-23 campaign, securing a place in the league’s Team of the Year with a string of impactful performances.

University of Bath students (from left) Billy Sela, Louie Hennessey, Scott Kirk and Ieuan Davies were on opposing sides when England played Wales in the U20 Six Nations Rugby at The Rec in February 2024. PICTURE CREDIT: Bob Bradford.
(From left) Billy Sela, Louie Hennessey, Scott Kirk and Ieuan Davies were on opposing sides when England played Wales in the U20 Six Nations Rugby at The Rec in February 2024. CREDIT: Bob Bradford.

That development helped Griffin progress from the Bath Rugby Academy to the club’s senior squad and he has made five Premiership appearances so far this season, earning a professional contract extension through to 2027.

Griffin is among dozens of Bath Rugby Academy players to have benefitted from invaluable BUCS Super Rugby experience with the University while also continuing their education and gaining a degree. That group includes five current students who have represented their countries in the opening two rounds of the U20 Six Nations – Scott Kirk and Billy Sela (England), Murdoch Lock (Scotland), and Ieuan Davies and Louie Hennessey (Wales).

James said: “Saturday was a special moment for all the coaches and staff here who have been part of Archie’s development over the past few years. Archie is one of 26 players to have progressed through our programme to the professional game but he is the first current student to win their debut international cap. It’s a real testament to the partnership we have with Bath Rugby and the development pathway both parties have put in place.

“Archie is such a club man. He connects really well with everyone, from the 1st XV through to the 6ths and to the supporters on the sidelines. He is a real character and puts a lot into the club – if he’s not playing, he’s here supporting us. We hope he goes on to win a number of caps for Wales and consistently play for Bath Rugby.”

Watch the full interview with Aaron James here:

Reflecting on his debut, Griffin told Welsh Rugby Union’s Instagram account: “It was intense walking into Twickers, I’ve never experienced anything like that. I’m obviously devastated with the loss but I’m happy to get my first cap. I just treated it like any other game – soak it in once you are on the pitch but play like you would any other game.”

Click here to find out more about the rugby programme at the University of Bath.

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