- University of Leicester help to house Tigers Academy youngsters
- “This is a development we’ve had in mind for some time” – Academy manager Neil McCarthy
Photo: RFU Archive
Leicester Tigers have teamed up with the University of Leicester in a ground-breaking move towards developing the next generation of rugby stars.
The Tigers Academy is the among the most successful in the country, with a succession of players coming through its youth ranks to establish themselves at the club as well as reaching international status. Six of its graduates were part of the victorious British & Irish Lions tour to Australia this summer.
Now the University of Leicester has allocated a property in its student village in Oadby to provide a home from home for young players in the Tigers Academy.
The University property will become home to a group of young players, combining living accommodation and study space. The rooms are decorated with images of Tigers Academy and youth team graduates, including Rugby World Cup-winning captain Martin Johnson, former England captain Paul Dodge and internationals Graham Rowntree, Louis Deacon and Harry Ellis, as well as its most recent successes on the Lions tour.
The property was officially opened by Professor Sir Robert Burgess, Vice-Chancellor of the University, on Friday, with Tigers players Dan Cole, Tom Croft, Manu Tuilagi and Ben Youngs among the guests.
Academy manager Neil McCarthy said: “This link with the University of Leicester allows us to provide the best care possible for young players from outside the city to come into our system.
“Our Academy region covers a large area in the Midlands and East Anglia, so we have players who make a significant commitment in terms of leaving home to join us. This relationship with the University shows them and their families how seriously we take the care of our young players.
“This is a development we’ve had in mind for some time, and the support of the University of Leicester has been vital in identifying and providing a property close to our education partners at Wyggeston Queen Elizabeth College and Leicester Grammar School close to the club’s training ground at Oval Park in Oadby.”
Professor Sir Robert Burgess added: “The partnership between the University and the Tigers sees two of Leicester’s high-profile and international organisations working together to provide outstanding young rugby players with the supportive environment they need to flourish while away from home.
“The University has a long and outstanding track record in providing high-quality accommodation and support for its students, and it is a natural step for us to use our skills to help the Academy players feel at home.
“Working together, we believe that we can create an Academy environment which will be the envy of clubs at home and abroad.”