- Elite Rugby Department help young players with performance camp
- Two-day event at Leeds Metropolitan University to aid development at earlier age
Photo: Getty Images
The RFU's Elite Rugby Department have staged their first performance camp for Under 15 players.
Thirty nine youngsters took part in the two-day get-together at Leeds Metropolitan University after being identified at the National Academy 12-a-side tournament last season and spent the time working with England Under 18 coaches John Fletcher and Peter Walton.
The initiative gives the Elite Department coaches the chance to help assist the development of players at an earlier age in conjunction with clubs, schools, academies and the England Under 16 management.
As well as working on the pitch with Fletcher and Walton, the teenagers took part in sessions with England fitness coach Paul Stridgeon and sports psychologist Simon Kawyck.
"Previously we'd held performance camps for Under 17 players for a number of years and track players from Under 16 level upwards," said Fletcher.
"The Under 15 performance camp is about us starting to identify players at an earlier stage and to start working with them and effecting change, if it's appropriate, at an earlier stage.
"We can look at what they need physically, mentally, technically and tactically, and we can give them some good generic advice about preparing themselves to be as good as they can be. All the information we get is fed back to the players, their academies, the schools and the England Under 16 set up."
One example of the individual development work taking place is with Alnwick schoolboy Jonny Burn.
The 15-year-old is enhancing his scrum half skills by working with England Saxons No.9 Micky Young at Newcastle Falcons as a mentor with conditioning support and advice put in place by club and country.
The RFU's Head of Elite Player Development Stuart Lancaster also spoke to parents on the day about the influence they can have in helping their sons maximise their talent.