Elite Rugby Students Enrol At EDC

Sat, 2001-02-24 00:00

While the home nations are battling it out at the Rugby World Cup, a talented crop of young rugby players are hoping they can follow in their heroes’ footsteps.

A group of the region’s best young rugby talent have recently started on East Durham College’s new Elite Sport Scholarship Programme.

The 19 lucky students train and study at the College’s Houghall Campus in Durham City.

The scholarship programme provides a package of benefits and support – such as a free laptop and travel expenses - along with expert coaching and guidance from the Rugby Academy’s excellent coaching team.

All the scholars study on a Level 3 Diploma in Sport and also receive training in sports nutrition, performance analysis and sports science and psychology.

College Principal Stuart Wesselby explained: “The aim has been to create a scholarship that attracts, and rewards, the very best of the region’s young elite rugby players and provides them with an excellent opportunity to develop their sporting skills and performance - whilst still getting a qualification.”

Winger Sean Brown, aged 16, from Prudhoe, has only been playing the game for two years but has already represented England U16s, scoring 5 tries.

“The elite programme is cracking. We get to train nearly every day, it’s a really professional set-up. The match pitch at Houghall is unbelievable.”

Other members of the elite squad include Liam Riley and Sam Laidler who also train with the Newcastle Falcons, as well as County Durham players Nathan Horstall, Joseph Arrowsmith and Cameron Toole.

Centre Cameron Toole, 16 from Chester-le-Street, added: “I’m absolutely loving it. As well as the great training, I also get to do PE A Level alongside the BTEC Diploma.”

Liam Gumbrill, Head of Rugby Coaching and the Scholarship Programme Leader, said: “We have a really strong squad this year made up of 33 players from the elite scholarship and the Rugby Development Centre.

It’s going to be an exciting year and we hope to progress as far as we can in the Daily Mail Cup. Yesterday’s 80 – 0 win against Wickham School in the first round was a very positive start.”

“90% of the squad are only 16 but will compete in the Cup which is an U18s competition and the league which is U19s – so this year will be one of development and building a team with the great individuals we have.”

Eight of the squad will also soon be taking part in the English Colleges’ Trails.

Another major bonus of the Elite Scholarship Programme is that the College is working very closely with Durham University so the students get access to their highly talented coaches.

Quentin Sloper, Assistant Director of Student Sport at Durham University added: “Our world class coaches and student athletes are committed to working with East Durham College to ensure that their students are exposed to the most up to date and comprehensive development programmes possible.

“We can play a part in raising the aspirations of young people within the County. By rubbing shoulders with Durham University students and coaches the young people studying at East Durham College will have the opportunity to understand just how many opportunities are available to them. This might be Higher Education, this might be playing or coaching and it might be something entirely unrelated.” 

A rugby taster day will be held on Monday 24th October, 10am, at East Durham College’s Houghall Campus.

To enrol on the programme you will need to be aged 16 or 17 on or before 1st September 2012. You will need to be county standard or above; selection is via a trial. You will also need to get four GCSEs at grade C or above.