16th October 2020 — Grassroots rugby across the county of Surrey is set to benefit from the partnership of two organisations of excellence – Harlequins Rugby Football Club and Gordon’s School, as the two link to provide a pathway for promising rugby players.
The game-changing initiative – a first for Harlequins and Gordon’s – will enable rugby players aged between 16 and 18 years old, to train in an environment similar to that of a professional club, whilst receiving a first class education.
The two organisations will work together to identify talented players and enable them to reach their potential both on and off the pitch. Successful students on the programme will receive support from Harlequins regarding all aspects of their rugby – from strength and conditioning coaches, nutritionists and physiotherapists to skills and game analysis. Off the pitch, they will study for A levels or BTECs at Gordon’s School – a day and residential boarding school in Surrey - and complete the Diploma in Sporting Excellence (DiSE) programme.
The scheme is endorsed by the Rugby Football Union and will be part-funded by the Government’s Education and Skills Funding Agency.
As part of the programme, Gordon’s school (will in 2021-2022) enter a Sixth Form team into the RFU's National ACE League, playing fixtures against the ACE School/Colleges of the other 11 Aviva Premiership clubs.
Both Harlequins and Gordon’s share a rich heritage. Harlequins has contributed to the development of rugby for over 150 years and has affiliated clubs throughout the world. Gordon’s in West End, Surrey, built at the insistence of Queen Victoria, has educated children for over 135 years and is among the top schools in the country for progress at A Level.
The two year course will mirror a professional environment with regular access to professional services for player, group and one to one support.
Former Fiji National Men’s 7 Skills Coach and Analyst Chris Davies, Head of Rugby at Gordon’s is heading up the new initiative. He commented: “This presents an exciting period for rugby in the region – one that will not only identify talented players but nurture them and provide an outstanding opportunity to progress in the game. Gordon’s is delighted to be working alongside such a prestigious club as Harlequins”.
Jim Evans, Academy Coach at Harlequins said: “We are delighted to have formed a link with Gordon’s School. The connection will further increase the development opportunities afforded to talented rugby players within our programme. This is an exciting opportunity for those lucky enough to be involved”.