National ‘first” as Glenmoor and Winton boys will play alongside Bournemouth Collegiate School in a single team

London Irish RFC to coach the team and encourage more to participate

Bournemouth Collegiate School (BCS) and Glenmoor and Winton Academies are delighted to announce the launch of the United Learning Rugby Academy in partnership with London Irish Rugby Club. 

This is a unique partnership between an independent and a state school, both part of United Learning, which will mean that pupils from both schools will play in the same team; a national 'first' in terms of school rugby.

The United Learning Rugby Academy will offer training with London Irish coaches 4 times a week with sessions organised around the school day.

The Rugby Academy will enter U14 and U16 boys' teams into the County Competition as well as offering an U13 Development Group. 

Those entering the team's first squad have undergone a gruelling selection process and weekend Boot Camp run by London Irish Coaches. Over the course of the season, more players will be invited to join.

At the Academy's launch on Friday, squad members were welcomed by their coaches and given ties to symbolise their membership of this unique initiative.

Ben Parnell, Executive Head of Glenmoor and Winton said: "We are delighted to be working with London Irish and BCS on this. It gives our students the opportunity to finesse their talent in rugby under the guidance and training of outstanding professionals. We encourage all our students to find an activity or skill that they can excel at and, for those of our boys and girls for whom rugby is their passion, this is a magnificent and unparalleled opportunity."

Stephen Duckitt, Principal of Bournemouth Collegiate School added: "Our strength in sport is already well known nationally and therefore the opportunity to work both with London Irish, as part of their development programme, and with our fellow United Learning schools in Bournemouth, is an opportunity not to be missed. Everyone involved in sport at BCS is excited by the possibilities that this new initiative can bring to our whole school. Every sportsperson learns from the experience and training of their contemporaries. So to add excellence in rugby to our existing portfolio is incredibly helpful."

Mike Crump, Head of Community Rugby at London Irish said: "We are delighted to be working with these United Learnings schools on the South Coast. We are committed to developing the best schools' rugby talent and this partnership will provide us with an ongoing supply of ambitious young players from across the education sector. "

Shaun Dowling, United Learning's Head of Sport said: "This is a unique initiative and one that we hope to spread to our schools nationally. Collaboration in sport between different schools in an excellent way of bringing young people together with a shared aim and a joint commitment to fitness, health and competitive success".

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