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 DPPs, 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 - Mike Haywood and Lewis Ludlam 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 at Under-13 age-group can be nominated for DPPs by their school or identified by playing for their sub-county. Full information about this process is available from the relevant constituent body. 


PDG CENTRES

COLCESHTER RFC

With the first references of rugby being played in Colchester dating back to 1875, Colchester RFC has long been involved in the sport, with the current club being established in 1925. 

Starting with only a Saturday and Thursday side, the club now boasts five senior sides with an additional Under-21s side as well as two Colts sides, 15 aged-group sides, a girls Under-15 team and a touch side for both genders.

Based at Mill Road Playing Fields, Colchester have been a part of the Essex County RFU since it's inception and entered the national leagues at London Division 3 North East when they came into fruition in the 1980s where they remained until they won promotion in the 1994/95 season.

Dropping to Eastern Counties Division Two North when the leagues were restructured ahead of the 2000/01 season, the side turned their fates around as they put their faith in their younger members and after two unbeaten seasons and 40 wins in a row, they secured two successive promotions to return to the London Divisions.

The club host the Saints Eastern Counties EPDG, encompassing Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and North Essex, 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.