The Exeter Chiefs Rugby Academy at Bicton College has had an early boost in the first term of its pilot year. Not only has the model been set up and established a year ahead of schedule, but it has already had its first international call up. Hooker, 18 year old Alex Spurdle from Axminster, has made the 25 man England Colleges U19 squad and is set to play in their 5 match campaign, climaxing with a game against Portugal U20’s in the Algarve.
Four players in total were selected for the South West Colleges squad including centre Tom Moore, front row forward Giuseppe Varano and back rower Mike Owen, with Spurdle shining through and catching the eye of the national selectors. On the back of this, the young front row forward was invited by the Exeter Chiefs 1st team skills coach Ricky Pellow to train with some of the senior players this week.
Spurdle has had his development enhanced by Chiefs first team hooker Neil Clarke in his role as 1st team forwards coach at Sidmouth RFC, after he broke through from the youth section there. The College and Club have worked in partnership to ensure that the young front row forward’s playing and training needs have been met under the watchful eye of several key and specialist club staff.
Bicton College has established a training and playing programme with students studying an array of academic programmes including Sport (Performance & Excellence), Outdoor Adventure, Land based Engineering, Agriculture, Public Services, Horticulture and Arboriculture (tree surgery). Rugby sessions take place at Sandy Park, incorporating strength and conditioning sessions in the 1st team gym utilising club based staff. Exeter Chiefs have also placed a full-time Academy coach at the college, who lives on-site, to monitor all aspects of player development ranging from lifestyle management to academic progress.
Like the Chiefs 1st team, the college-academy programme has training and playing kit supplied by Samurai Sports Wear and is sponsored by the South West Communications Group. Harry Langley, South West Communications Group’s managing director said: “Our sponsorship of Bicton College’s 1st XV is in keeping with our long-held strategy of supporting young rugby players as they strive to develop their talent at senior level. We have sponsored Exeter Chiefs for 18 years so with them now working with Bicton as one of its new education partners, supporting the College’s 1st XV seemed like a natural progression. We wish the team well for the remainder of the 2011/12 season.”
Players can still enrol in the academy as part of the ‘January start’ drive at the college and several of the region’s top U16 players have already applied to start in September 2012, along with others from outside the area.
To find out more visit the academy section of the club website click here
or the college website here.
Alternatively, contact Andrew Webb (Exeter Chiefs Academy Coach, Bicton College) on 07717686361 or Andrew.firstname.lastname@example.org
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