Saints Under-16s DPP players headed to Bedford School last Sunday for a festival of rugby in which the six centres involved in the Developing Player Programme gained some valuable game time.
Players from Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Bedfordshire, Hunts and Peterborough, East Northamptonshire and Northants Alliance, came together to play in a round-robin-style tournament to give the players game time at at higher level than they are used to normally.
EPDG and DPP Manager, Ross Stewart said the opportunity for the young players to get some game time away from their school and clubs was invaluable.
“The purpose of the day really is to give the guys some game opportunity,” Stewart told SaintsTV.
“We do a lot of stuff in training but there’s nothing that can replicate the game for supporting their development.
“The key focus for us is for the boys to have fun, to represent their county and play some good rugby.”
One Northants Alliance DPP coach also commented on how important it is for the players involved in the DPP to be able to play rugby at this level.
“For the Northants Alliance DPP it’s been absolutely amazing day. To come to the fantastic facilities they have here at Bedford School is amazing.
“For all the lads from East Northants, Northants Alliance, Suffolk and the others to play a really good standard that’s higher than their schools and their club rugby is just amazing for them.
“They’re all playing with others players they’ve never played with before and against players they’ve never played before so that’s really good.”
He added that Saints recent involvement in the DPP structure and their improvements to the running of age-group structure has been invaluable to the development of rugby in his area and beyond.
“The structure before, when we were Northants Alliance, was very difficult, it was just a few coaches from a few clubs that did everything.
“But Saints coming on board has been a massive God-send really; for one the facilities and the structure they’ve got but the coaching they help us with as well.
“It’s helping us move up to another level and everybody’s trying to buy into that and it’s been really good so far.”