Developing Player Programme (DPP)

The London Irish Developing Player Programme is fundamental to the long-term success of our Academy and since its establishment it is an area, we have committed significant resources as we know the positive impact our program can have on a broad number of young aspiring rugby players. Work ethic, a desire to improve and resilience are several key attributes that will help you flourish in our environment.

What is the Developing Player Programme?

The Developing Player Programme (DPP) was introduced in 2013. The aim of the programme is to engage with players aged 14-16 and provide a greater opportunity for us to support their development. The DPP will help players find the right direction to follow in the game, whether that is towards professional rugby or long-term club participation. As part of our DPP, the focus will be on nurturing a player’s skill development, high performance behaviours, game understanding and athleticism. Our programme is committed to providing a safe and holistic learning environment where individuals can develop as players and people.


Assessment & Nomination

London Irish Academy is the RFU Licensed Premiership Regional Academy for Berkshire, Hampshire & Middlesex and we are partnered with all Schools & Clubs across the three Counties.

To qualify for our Academy pathway players must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Attend a school in Berkshire, Hampshire or Middlesex (North of the River)
    • Play for a club in Berkshire, Hampshire or Middlesex (North of the River)
    • Live in Berkshire, Hampshire or Middlesex (North of the River)

Each school or club is invited to nominate up to 5 players at Under 14 and Under 15 & 3 players at Under 16 for an assessment trial which takes place in September and October each season.

The nomination information is released to clubs and schools from our County partners in preseason, but if your school or club hasn’t received the nomination information or if coaches feel they have additional players who are of the standard for nomination please get in touch with our Academy Administrator  [email protected]

When the nomination period closes each player will be contacted directly via email with a date and time of the assessment.  The assessments take place at the start of the DPP programme for that season.  After the assessment players will be informed of selection along with dates of the programme. 

We are continuously looking at player talent during the season and therefore the opportunity to be invited into our programme does not close.  Should a school or club feel that they have a player that has developed significantly and should be assessed at any point during the season then please click on the following link to submit an out of window nomination request.

Out of Window Nomination Form

The form will open for out of window nominations from the 1st November.

Our Academy and DPP coaches will also be attending school and club games / festivals during the season to look for any potential players who may then be invited into the DPP programme.

Please note that players already in our DPP programme will automatically be invited to an assessment at the start of the season and do not need to be nominated again.


What are we looking for?

Players that are strong and stand out in any of the following areas:

Outstanding behaviours
Game Understanding
Athletic potential
Good fundamental skills within Catch & Pass, Tackle, Carry and Breakdown


DPP Locations

Mondays – Reading RFC & Acton (Twyford Avenue, W3 9QA)

Tuesdays – Hazelwood, Sunbury (U14, U15 only)

Wednesdays – Harrow School, Harrow

Thursdays – Applemore College, Southampton


DPP Training Schedule (Term Time)

Reading RFC

U14 & U15

5:45PM - 7:15PM


6:45PM - 8:00PM


U14 & U15

5:45PM - 7:00PM


6:15PM - 7:30PM



U14 & U15

6:15PM - 7:30PM






U14 & U15

6:30PM - 7:45PM


7:15PM - 8:30PM



U14 & U15

6:00PM - 7:00PM


7:00PM - 8:00PM


DPP Playing Opportunities

U15 DPP Playing Opportunities

  • Tuesday 4th April:  U15 Playing Opportunity (Hazelwood)  3:30PM – 8:30PM
  • Monday 10th April:  U15 Cleeve Festival (Cleeve RFC)
  • Sunday 7th May:  U15 Playing Opportunity (Hazelwood) 10:00AM – 2:00PM
  • Sunday 14th May:  U15 v Bristol (Hazelwood) 10:00AM – 2:00PM


U16 DPP Playing Opportunities

  • Tuesday 14th February:  U16 Playing Opportunity (Hazelwood) 3:30PM – 8:00PM
  • Sunday 16th April:  U16 Playing Opportunity (Hazelwood) 2:00PM – 6:00PM


DPP Coaching

The Developing Player Programme aims to not only develop the players involved in the DPP pathway but also to work with and develop the coaches involved.

We offer our DPP coaches development opportunities including CPD (Continuing Professional Development) and the opportunity to attend our U16 and U18 Academy training sessions.  Coaches are offered development support from our DPP Manager and our Academy Coach Development Officer (ACDO) during the season, with the opportunity to progress as a coach into the Academy Pathway.

We are looking for enthusiastic coaches who want to commit their own development within our DPP programme and who can commit to coaching one evening per week at one of our DPP Training Centres and then to events on weekends during the season.

If you are interested in joining the DPP Coaching group, then please submit your interest by completing our Application Form. Our DPP Manager will then be in contact to discuss your application.

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