INVESTING in the entire team rather than primarily the First XV has enabled Oxford Quins to lift nine pieces of silverware in one season.

Quins’ remarkable campaign was rounded off by being awarded Rugby World’s Team of the Year.

At Level 5, players can be paid however Quins made the decision not to.

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Stu Wells, director of rugby at Quins, told this newspaper: “What we’re trying to do is invest in the game and the people, rather than the outcome.

“We have to redefine what success looks like, and for us, it’s the number of players competing.

“We had 47 players represent the First XV this season – surely that’s how you define success.

“The squad ethos is that it’s all us and that what we are doing is important for the long-term health of the club.

“The message has been consistent from the start, that it’s one club.

“The senior players are very inclusive and include all the players in their plans for socialising.

“The players are really important in creating that ethos and it would be incredibly divisive for us to start paying the First XV players and not the Second XV players.

“Nobody owns a shirt here. There’s a mentality that if you work hard, you do well.”

The 2022/23 season saw Quins lift the County Cup, two County Bowls, two league championships, the Lord Mayor’s Cup and Plate, and the Men’s and Women’s Cups at the Oxford 7s.

Wells said: “It’s probably been our biggest season as one club ever – it’s been such a great season across the entire club.

“Last season, the First XV won promotion and finishing in the top half was the aim, but we ended up in the top four.

“There’s been more progress and strength in depth for the men, and the women’s team is coming on leaps and bounds.

“We’re reaping the rewards from our coaching team, who should be coaching at Premiership or Championship level.

“There’s been an aligning of the planets – the coaching staff have done a wonderful job.

“Pete Davies [head coach] is supported by a great group all singing from the same hymn sheet, and they’re supported by a tremendous medical team.”

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Quins’ partnership with Oxford Brookes University has seen student physios help out the club, as Wells explained: “The players are getting taken care of on an off the pitch, and it’s reaping rewards .

“We’re working to prevent injuries and identify injuries early on.

“We’re having the least amount of injuries we’ve ever had and the quickest recoveries from injures.

“It’s important we take care of the players because they’ve got full-time jobs. If you play rugby here, you’ll be taken care of and have the best possible experience.”