Leinster Rugby and Syracuse University have this afternoon announced a wide-ranging partnership allowing both organisations to utilise the on and off-field expertise of the other.

Founded in 1870, Syracuse University is based in New York and has 45 sports clubs, including rugby union and this is the first such partnership for their rugby programme.

Syracuse University RFC was established in 1969 and as part of the partnership, Leinster Rugby will appoint a coach to live and work on campus full-time, offering student athletes attending Syracuse University access to Leinster Rugby coaching and training expertise.

The partnership will also see the establishment of the Leinster Rugby School of Excellence summer camps bringing young players from around the States to Syracuse, and will create coaching development programmes for Syracuse and for Leinster Rugby coaches.

Finally, it will also provide opportunities for Syracuse students to learn in Leinster’s head office, in addition to exploring exchange opportunities for Irish and Syracuse University students.

Announcing the partnership this afternoon, Shane Nolan, CEO of Leinster Rugby said, “Leinster is excited to begin its relationship with Syracuse University, an institution with a great history, excellent academic standards and values, and a strong rugby culture.

“As Leinster Rugby looks to build a presence in America, Syracuse is an ideal partner for us to explore the possibilities and we’re excited to see what that looks like.”

Kent Syverud, Chancellor of Syracuse University echoed those sentiments and said, “The University is committed to becoming a leader in collegiate club sports offerings, and our partnership with an exceptional organisation like Leinster Rugby helps us further that goal.

“We are excited for the future of our rugby programmes and look forward to building close ties with Leinster Rugby in the coming years that will hopefully benefit us both.”

Representatives from Leinster Rugby have already visited the campus and Head of Rugby Development, Philip Lawlor, commented, “We’ve been to Syracuse University and have met with the administration, the rugby club coaches, their alumni and current student-athletes, and we’re very excited to launch this initiative.

“We want to help propel Syracuse’s rugby teams to be among the best in the United States, and we think that Syracuse University, with its impressive educational quality and strong rugby club programmes, can also benefit Leinster Rugby in terms of our players but also for our coach and staff development.

“With a lot of excitement building in the States towards hosting a Rugby World Cup for the first time in 2031 and 2033, we feel it is the right time to put in place a partnership such as this and we believe that Syracuse, based in New York with its strong Irish connections, is the perfect setting for this partnership.”

The Leinster Rugby School of Excellence has been running for over 25 years, with over 1,200 boys and girls taking part every summer.

As well as establishing the School of Excellence model on campus in Syracuse, the ability to harness the knowledge and coaching expertise of Leinster Rugby staff is one of the key benefits according to Bob Wilson, head coach of Syracuse University RFC.

“This truly unique collaboration with Leinster Rugby will enhance the student-athlete experience and raise the profile of rugby on campus, in Central New York and throughout the country.

“It will attract potential students to the University from around the world and expose our athletes to Leinster’s great sporting and professional culture.”

Wilson also hopes that the University will become a sought-after destination for Irish students looking to study abroad in America while playing competitive collegiate rugby, while the partnership will provide experiential learning opportunities for sport management and other University students, who will intern at Leinster’s operations in Dublin as part of a capstone project.

The first of the Leinster Rugby School of Excellence camps will run from 31 July 2023 and will be open to boys and girls, ages 13 – 17, and will offer residential and non-residential options in Syracuse University.

The appointment of a first Leinster Rugby coach to live and work on campus in Syracuse University will be announced in the coming months and will be in place for the start of the 2023/24 academic year.