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Scunthorpe launch youth academy

31 October 2006

Midlands One club Scunthorpe have launched an academy which they hope will make the Heslams Park side the strongest in the Notts, Lincs & Derbyshire area.

Indian international hooker Jug Johal has been appointed the programme co-ordinator to provide a coaching programme based on the academy system at Guinness Premiership clubs.

New kit and equipment specialised coaching clinics, and even travelling costs and physiotherapy will be provided thanks to a grant from the Local Network Fund and sponsorship from Vending Enterprises.

The move will allow the club to further their commitment to providing community rugby for children from black or ethnic minority areas and socially deprived areas and to encourage more girls to take up rugby.

"It will allow us to identify potential first-teamers at much earlier stage and gives us the opportunity to work with them on a one-to-one basis," Johal said.

"We can help their progression through the three key progressions; from mini-juniors to 15-a-side rugby, to the Colts side at 16, and then to men's rugby at 19.

"When you look at the first team here you have got all but two players who have come through from the mini-juniors set-up.

"We want to bring in some of the best coaches in the country for workshops and clinics for the mini-juniors right up to the first team.

"And we will have specialist clinics in front five, back row, half backs and three quarter players.

"We will have them all playing the same way, and if we get hold of them early enough, we can cut out some of their bad habits.

"It will mean we can attract the best youngsters not just in Scunthorpe, but the whole Lincolnshire area.

"These academies are what the Premiership clubs have. The closest academy at the moment is probably Rotherham or Leeds.

"We are also developing a Study Centre for children, which work is due to start later this year thanks to funding from the Department for Education and Skills."

Support for Scunthorpe's Academy has also been provided by Humber & Wolds Rural Community Council, Vending Enterprises, John Leggott College and the British Asian Rugby Association.