England Rugby Academy Player Development
England Rugby Academies operate at three levels. These are:
- Level 1 National Academy for selected players U16 to U24
- Level 2 Elite Player Development Group (EPDG) EPDGs support the best players aged 14-16 years
- Level 3 School of Rugby level Regional Academies and England Rugby support each Regional Academy, working closely with RFU development staff, Constituent Bodies, clubs and schools to establish a comprehensive programme of talent-search and player-development at up to 40 accredited elite player-development centres
School of Rugby level
Regional Academies and England Rugby support each Regional Academy, working closely with RFU development staff, Constituent Bodies, clubs and schools to establish a comprehensive programme of talent-search and player-development at up to 40 accredited elite player-development centres.
The Academy pathway for a player can start at the age of 13 when players are first identified through the participating Regional Academy clubs and schools. This provides the ideal opportunity for players to develop a connection with the club at which they can play and showcase their talent.
Players selected to attend an England Rugby Academy must be England Qualified and have the potential to play for England. Player potential will be assessed under four main categories:
- Skills and elements of competence
- Tactical and game awareness
- Personal attitude
By a process of talent identification, individual performance pathways are developed for academy players as they follow the path to senior squad level. The main channels of talent identification are:
Schools of Rugby (U13 to U16)
Players are nominated by schools, clubs or personal recommendation for assessment to enter the Schools of Rugby programme. This programme takes place over nine sessions, during which Academy players follow the RFU Core Skills Development programme, including game sense, skills training and lifestyle management.
Elite Player Development to Regional Academy (U15 to U18)
At EPDG level the programme covers the same core development areas as the Schools of Rugby but at a higher level. Entry into these groups is mainly by progression from the Schools of Rugby programme. Each player will be carefully mentored and will have a programme tailored to his needs, including general and specific skills work, conditioning, fitness testing and screening, physiotherapy, dietary and lifestyle advice.