Catchment Area

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With such a large geographical spread - it takes around three hours to drive from one end of the Academy area to the other - the club has created three satellite centres to ensure that players within the Academy have all the support they need without the burden of spending several hours at a time on the A14!

These centres are based at St Joseph's College in Ipswich, The Leys School in Cambridge and at the University of Bedfordshire in Bedford, with a fourth centre based at the Saints' home at Franklin's Gardens. While the rugby coaching takes place on a Monday at either Stowmarket RFC or Olney RFC in Northampton, the satellite centres provide hubs for supervised strength and conditioning training and physiotherapy support.

Each centre holds a session on a Thursday, with every fourth session being run by Luke Kelly and Joe Booth from the Saints' Performance department. The other strength and conditioning sessions are supervised by sports science students to guidelines drawn up by Chris, with five physiotherapists working under Caroline's guidance.

As young players progress through the Academy system more sessions are held at Franklin's Gardens, culminating in the full-time professionals of the Senior Academy who train and play alongside members of the senior squad.


EAST MIDLANDS RUGBY UNION

The East Midlands is a long-standing hotbed of rugby, with many of the country's top international players donning the EMRU's traditional dark green. Indeed, up until recently the EMRU team participated in one of rugby's oldest and most historic fixtures, the Mobbs Memorial Match. And while the Mobbs Match is now being rotated between the Saints and Bedford - the East Midlands' two biggest clubs - the EMRU still has a hands-on management role with the occasion.

The Saints Academy works very closely with the EMRU's Schools of Rugby, which are based at the club's partner college, Moulton College. These nine sessions provides the Academy staff the opportunity to work with and develop local coaches and spot potential talent.

EASTERN COUNTIES RUGBY UNION

The ongoing development of the Saints Academy coaching staff means that the club is now in a position to put more resources into the Eastern Counties part of the Saints Academy region. Players have already graduated through the Elite Player Development Group into the full-time ranks - Alex Day in the Senior Academy, Mike Haywood into the Saints first team squad - and the Academy staff is confident they are just the first of many.

The Eastern Counties Rugby Union (ECRU) includes Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk, with the first two of those counties included in the Saints Academy region. However with this region so large in geographical terms every individual county has its own separate administration.

Players can be nominated for Schools of Rugby by their school or identified by playing for their sub-county. Full information about this process is available from the relevant constituent body. 


EPDG CENTRES

STOWMARKET RFC

Stowmarket Rugby Club has made great leaps forward over the past few years both on the playing side and development of the club's facilities. The Suffolk club can boast six league promotions in eight years and now regarded as one of the fastest up and coming rugby clubs in the Eastern region. Based at Chilton Fields Sports Club, Stowmarket can boast not only several full sized rugby pitches on natural turf, but also an all-weather pitch and a state-of-the-art clubhouse that was built as recently as 2009 thanks to a Lottery grant.

2011/12 was the club's 50th anniversary and while pre-season plans called for consolidation after promotion the previous campaign, the club instead ended the season celebrating back-to-back promotions and a spot in London 2 NE.

Past Suffolk Cup finalists, too, the club has continually moved forward over the past few years and now has an established youth and junior Section, with over 250 youngsters playing youth rugby at Stowmarket across 12 teams this season, not to mention four sides playing in the senior leagues. Stowmarket's continued success has been built upon traditional values starting at the earliest of age groups. Last season the club had eight U20 Suffolk County players, many of whom started with Stowmarket at Mini/Midi level.

The club host the Saints Eastern Counties EPDG, encompassing Cambridgeshire and Suffolk, for regular training sessions.

OLNEY RFC

One of the most historic clubs in the area, Olney RFC has a long heritage of providing players to the Saints and various national squads, including several British and Irish Lions.

The club is now helping the Saints bring through the next generation of talent, and with Olney being within easy reach of all areas in Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire it is ideally located for players and parents alike.

Current holders of the Northampton and District Alliance's Lewis Shield, Olney has three senior teams, colts, ladies and girls teams and a thriving minis and juniors section.


Want to know more about the Saints Academy? CLICK HERE to download a brochure!