11 Mar 14
Harlequins' Academy back row, Jack Clifford is one of four newcomers named in the England Sevens squad for the next two legs of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
The full time regional academy is for players aged 16+ who have both the ability and the desire to progress through a development programme aiming to equip them for a career in professional rugby. These players train with and alongside the club's first team and are treated in every way as young professional players. The life is challenging but interesting and includes many aspects of personal and professional development. Places on the academy will be offered on an annual basis to only the very best.
The second level is the Elite Player Development Group (EPDG) which includes players selected on the basis of their performances to become members of the regional academy in due course. Typically these players will have played divisional or international rugby at Under 16 and will also have demonstrated a commitment beyond the average to become professional players. These players will attend extra training sessions on top of the Schools of Rugby sessions, during holiday periods and will receive feedback on their performances on a regular basis.
The Junior EPDG will comprise of boys from the U13/14 and 15 groups from both the Surrey and Sussex Schools of Rugby. The group has been selected so that the Harlequins full-time Academy coaches can continue to work on developing the potential of those players who at present have shown the most ability within the SOR sessions.
The Harlequins Surrey, Sussex and Inner London (Surrey Satellite) Developing Player Programme (DPP) provide the entry level into the Academy programme. The role of the DPP is to work closely with county coaches and development officers to identify players considered to have the talent to benefit from, and progress through, the programme. It is important to recognise that this is not just another squad. The DPP provides entry into a long term development programme which in some case will lead towards the very highest level of the game.
The DPP is not a team. No matches are played. The DPP provides training programmes for and monitors the progress being made by each player. DPP players will continue to play their rugby either for their club, school and county side as before.
However, in accepting a place in the DPP players and parent are agreeing to accept the primacy of the DPP and to refer any conflicts to the Academy manager and to accept any decision that he might make. Members of the DPP are required to play no more than 32 matches a season and to play no more than one match per week. This is the area in which most problems arise and as a guideline it should be noted that Academy policy is that in normal circumstances school games will take priority over club games.
The DPP programme consists of weekly weight training sessions at one of a number of venues for the U15's upwards. Rugby sessions will take place throughout the season at either Surrey Sports Park for Surrey, Brighton RFC for Sussex or Trinity Fields, Wandsworth for Inner London. These will include full day training camps held during the school holidays.
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