The London Irish England Academy is for players 18+ who have the ability and desire to progress to a career in professional rugby. A player selected for academy entry will be directed into a personal development program that is geared primarily to ensuring that his capacities and abilities as a Rugby player are maximised. These players are mentored by, and train alongside, the 1st XV squad, learning from professional and International quality rugby players. They also have 3-4 dedicated training sessions a week where core skills, game awareness, video analysis and personal development are highlighted.
Below this, the London Irish Regional Academy exists on 3 levels; School of Rugby, Silver and Gold.
The Gold Group is a small group of athletes, aged 14-18, identified with the potential to graduate to England Academy status. This group trains together 8 times a month and is under very close scrutiny and constant assessment of their suitability for the Academy.
The Silver group (14-16 years) is a larger collection of players who are coached and developed by London Irish staff at our Elite Player Development Centres (EPDC’s) in our supporting counties of Berkshire and Hampshire, as well as at our training base at Sunbury. These groups are identified through the county system and train together 5 times a month. This process is in place to improve the skills, fitness and game understanding of the group.
The role of the EPDC is to work closely with county coaches and development officers to identify players who may have the talent to benefit from, and progress through, the program. It is very important to recognize that the EPDC provides an entry level into the Academy; it is not just another squad. It is the first rung of a ladder, which will hopefully lead towards a professional career. As such, players should be the top 3 or 4 players in their County age group and should be referred by their County and School of Rugby coaches to us for inclusion in the group.
Our coaches in our partner counties of Berkshire and Hampshire identify the School of Rugby players, aged 13-16. This process is in place to improve the skills, fitness and game understanding of players and acts as a means of identification of players for progression. The School of Rugby is an important stepping stone for the Academy as we strive to identify our players earlier and have them in our system, learning the London Irish way, for longer.
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