HENLEY Hawks have formalised their partnership with the reigning RFU Championship holders.

The Oxfordshire side has benefitted from their links with Ealing Trailfinders in recent years and the new agreement will boost the men’s, women’s and academy programmes.

Hawks will be a loan destination for the west London club’s rising stars through the partnership, which will also help create a women’s academy pathway at Dry Leas.

Director of rugby, Nigel Dudding, said: “I am really excited for the future of our partnership with Ealing Trailfinders.

“We have had a great relationship over the last five years, and this makes it official.

“They operate as a conduit for many players that go on to play for us, and I couldn’t be more pleased that we have secured this relationship.”

Ealing were crowned champions of English rugby’s second tier last season, although they were denied promotion to the Premiership as their Vallis Way ground failed to meet the required capacity of 10,000 or more.

Henley travel to county rivals Oxford Quins for a pre-season friendly on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Chinnor host Worthing Raiders in their last summer fixture and Banbury Bulls visit Bromsgrove tomorrow night.

The community rugby season begins on Saturday, September 3.