Producing the rugby stars of the future – that’s the aim for those behind Chichester College’s rugby programme as the academy completed its first season.
More than 60 players have turned out in the blue and yellow in the past year which has been the first since it was unveiled as one of 21 RFU Focus Colleges.
With the aim of supporting player development, Steve Woolcombe, Chichester College’s director of rugby, said he has been delighted with the first 12 months.
Mr Woolcombe said: “It has been an exhilarating first season and the academy has gone from strength to strength.
“Back in September, we set upon the task of building a robust infrastructure to enable students across the college to benefit from the experience of being part of a rugby academy – from excellent coaching and equipment to a well-structured season, I am delighted to report it has been a roaring success.
“We were over the moon to see more than 60 students – male and female – across a variety of courses sign up to join the squad, reflecting the diversity of students we have here at Chichester College.
“We have several players that continue to play for Hampshire or Sussex and many of our girls are playing in national finals, with Aliya Seehawong representing the South East Regional Squad.
“Our success without doubt is down to the support from the RFU. As a focus college, we receive annual funding and coaching support for the next three years, which has guaranteed our status.”
Thoughts are already turning to next season, when kit will be provided, including international standard rugby posts.
An overseas training camp to Spain and Portugal is also being planned along with camps for junior players looking to progress.
An open trial for the college will take place on August 29 with more than 120 people expected to turn out.