OXFORD Brookes University have upped sticks to the new facility at Horspath Sports Ground.

The £1million community site, of which Oxford Harlequins are the custodians, is home to an RFU-funded artificial pitch.

Work only started off Horspath Road 12 months ago, but Quins have since played a season at their new base, which includes a renovated clubhouse and changing rooms.

Brookes, who had been based at Oxford’s North Hinksey Sports Park for three years, have trained at the facility on a number of occasions.

Director of rugby Joe Winpenny said the quality of venue and travel time from the university’s Headington campus were among the reasons for the move.

He said: “Obviously with it being a brand new facility we wanted to explore the potential of how we can play on that surface.

“The facility there has all been upgraded and refurbished which provides a better experience for students – it was sort of a no-brainer.

“The other thing we took into consideration was travel time.

“From Headington campus, it could take up to an hour to get to Oxford Rugby Club.

“We had a couple of training sessions at Oxford Harlequins and it took them eight minutes to get there, so in terms of utilising time it just ticked all the boxes.”

Brookes will have four men’s teams and a women’s side next season.

They will use Horspath for training on Monday and Friday nights, with matches played on Wednesdays and Saturday mornings.

Winpenny is hoping the move will help the club, whose first team won BUCS Midlands 2B and the Conference Cup in 2017/18, continue to grow.

He said: “From a recruitment and retention point of view, we had 140 freshers sign up for the club (for 2018/19) and we retained around 70 of them, which is much higher than in previous years.

“But I think a lot of freshers, who haven’t got their cars and were having to get the bus, were probably put off sticking with the game or they went and found something else on campus.”