NLD U16’s Shine at Wellington Festival

The 2018 Wellington Festival has drawn to close after a day of action-packed rugby involving English rugby’s 14 regional academies.

The week-long programme, held annually at Wellington College, Berkshire, aims to develop both academy players and coaches on and off the field in a variety of areas and featured a number of NLD U16 & Leicester Tigers Academy players.

On the field, the academy teams trained and played against each other in a number of matches, challenged with law variations which encourage ball in play, skilful rugby. Off the field, players were also given education and guidance in nutrition, anti-doping and professional sports pressures.

Wellington Festival is the largest academy festival in English rugby and is seen as a key experience in a players’ development and transitional experience.

Leicester Tigers Junior Academy Manager Jamie Taylor commented; ‘The Wellington festival is the culmination of the U16 regional player pathway and to be selected as part of a thirty player group at this level is a tremendous achievement. The players here have all entered the pathway at different stages via schools and clubs across NLD and have represented them with the highest standards.’

As well as game days on Tuesday and Saturday, players had the opportunity to meet head of England Sevens Simon Amor, as well as watch a sevens exhibition match. Referee Wayne Barnes also gave the players a presentation on officiating on Monday, while Thursday was National Coaching Day.

Players were immersed in skill zones and masterclasses throughout the week. Central to this was CARDS (creativity, awareness, resilience, decision making and self-organisation) – the pathway priority skills for helping develop the next generation of England Rugby players both on and off the pitch.

14 Premiership Rugby Academies: Bath Rugby, Bristol Rugby, Exeter Chiefs, Gloucester Rugby, Harlequins, Leicester Tigers, London Irish, Newcastle Falcons, Northampton Saints, Sale Sharks, Saracens, Wasps, Worcester Warriors, Yorkshire Carnegie.

Back Row Left to right:

Josh Lugsden (Scunthorpe), Jack Wright (Boston GS & Spalding), Emeka Illione (Nottingham Corsairs, Nottingham HS), Bobby Singer (Carres GS & Kesteven), Will Bailey (Nottingham Corsairs), Harry Edmunds

Front row

Ollie Smith (Mansfield), Sam Edwards (Ashbourne), Joey Evison (Stamford School)