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Developing Player Programme (DPP)

The Northampton Saints Developing Player Programme (DPP) is part of a national programme delivered in partnership with the RFU, regional academies and constituent bodies.

The DPP aims to compliment school, club and county rugby, and focuses on developing the individual player.

The Northampton Saints DPP has several aims, including:

  • Developing highly skilled players and coaches.
  • Providing a high quality of coaching, within a positive environment.
  • Providing a foundation for players to maximise their potential both on and off the pitch, in rugby and in life.
  • Providing an introduction to nutrition, strength & conditioning, and injury prevention.
  • Identifying potential academy players.

The Northampton Saints DPP curriculum promotes the on-field principles of play currently used by the Northampton Saints 1st XV and Academy, aiming to engage with players and coaches throughout the region and spread the ‘Saints Way’.


What are we looking for?

Players who standout at their club/school in at least two of these areas:

  • Rugby ability
  • Confidence in contact
  • Athletic potential
  • Outstanding attitude
  • A point of difference

How do players get nominated for DPP trials?

  • In order to be eligible for selection into each DPP, a player must either: (i) have their permanent home address or school address located in the region and/or (ii) be registered as a player at a rugby club located in the region.
  • September: U14, U15 and U16 clubs are invited to take part in a pre-season festival, and asked to bring every player and give them equal game time. DPP coaches will observe these festivals and speak to club coaches in order to identify players to be invited to Identification Sessions.
  • During the same period as the festivals, schools are asked to nominate players – both those who are currently outstanding players, and non-rugby players who may have the potential to become excellent rugby players.
  • Any player that was involved in the previous year will be invited to one of the two ID Sessions, but is also encouraged to play in the club festivals.
  • Approximately 50-100 players will be invited to attend the 1st ID Session. This will be taken down to 40-60 for the 2nd ID Session. A squad of 30-40 players will be selected for training from these ID Sessions.
  • This is NOT a closed door. Academy and DPP coaches will be watching over the course of the season for any standout players who may be invited to join the DPP.



There are currently four DPP sites delivering training sessions on Monday or Wednesday evenings over the course of the season. These are:

  • Shelford RFC (H&P and Cambridgeshire DPP)
  • Colchester RUFC (Suffolk & NE Essex DPP)
  • Northampton School for Boys (East Northants & Northampton Alliance DPP)
  • Luton RFC/Bedford Athletic RFC (Bedfordshire DPP)

View a map of our DDP delivery sites.


Under-14: Contact time will be within a bandwidth of 20-30 hours, run in two training blocks, with the first block running from October to December and the second from March to end of May. The programme also includes internal playing opportunities.

Under-15: Contact time will be within a bandwidth of 20-30 hours, run in two training blocks, with the first block from October to December and the second from March to end of May. The programme also includes regional playing opportunities and a festival at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens.

Under-16: Maximum of 12 hours contact time, starting from October and finishing by December. The programme also includes inter-regional playing opportunities.


Coaching in the DPP is rewarding and exciting.

Working with some of the best youngsters in the region, and focusing on their individual development, the DPP aims to not only develop the players involved – developing the coaches involved is also a key objective.

Other benefits for DPP coaches include:

  • Personal development opportunities will be provided at no cost, and will be a key benefit to all coaches delivering the programme. Including CPD (Continuing Professional Development) Programmes and invites to Academy training sessions.
  • Coaches will be offered a range of support from DPP site Head Coaches/Managers and the Academy Coach Development Officer (ACDO).
  • Access to the DPP coaches’ Hudl group – with a variety of games, skills and practices included online to stimulate ideas.
  • Opportunity to progress as a coach in the academy pathway.
  • DPP coach kit.

A DPP coach must demonstrate significant commitment to their own development as a coach and be able to commit to coaching on Wednesday evenings and at festivals in October, November, December, March, April and May.

If you are interested in applying to be a DPP coach for the 2022/2023 season, please fill in the expression of interest form HERE.

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