18th November 2020 — Rory (Y11) has been at Ryde School since he was Y7 and has been active in Rugby, Hockey and Cricket. A dedicated sportsman, he currently not only plays fly-half at Ryde School for the U16 A team but also for Vectis RFC U16s and Hampshire County U16s. Three years ago he was selected to be part of the U13 team for the London Irish Developing Player Program (DPP). This program was set up in 2013 as part of the London Irish RFC, a professional English rugby union club, with an Irish identity. Based in Surrey and Brentford, London Irish run the DPP program as part of their Academy.
The process into the Academy is tough, each player is put forward by its school or club and then selected through a trial. They then retrial each year as selection gets tougher and places more limited. Over the past 5 years Rory has gone from strength to strength and last season he was invited to train with the U18 Gold Academy and named on the EAP programme (England Academy Player), this is the last stepping stone to playing professionally. The Gold Academy only selects 40 players a year, from all over the UK, with Rory being the youngest member.
Rory has been playing rugby since the age of 6 with his local Island rugby team, Vectis RFC. He has a rigorous training program, playing several times a week at school, Monday evenings at London Irish and on Sundays with Vectis RFC. He recently got the opportunity to train with Richard De Carpentier, a professional England Rugby Seven’s player, who has been the visiting coach at Ryde School. The coaching at School has been pivotal to Rory’s success and he cites the Sport Department for helping him achieve his potential.
“Ryde School has helped me massively with my rugby; being able to train twice a week on the field and then in the gym as a Sports Scholar has been great. Also some excellent coaching from the likes of Mr Bagnall and Mr Illot has helped me to improve certain areas in my game like catch and pass and game awareness.”
Credit has to go to his parents who are a foundational support for Rory. During lockdown his father was so keen to keep him motivated that he created a home gym and trained with him every day. Rory has other influences that help him to aspire and achieve the best he can. Asked who were his sporting icons he replied; “In terms of a rugby icon I would say Dan Carter, I think he had the best all round game of any fly-half ever. I try to base some of my play/skills around him. From outside of rugby I would say Michael Jordan, I respect the drive and passion he had to win for himself and his team.”
The future looks very promising for Rory, he hopes all the work will pay off and he will be able to achieve his dream of becoming a professional player. London Irish Academy are also proud of his achievement and are positive about his future.
“Rory has great character, is very hard working but crucially is always trying to improve. His desire to pursue feedback so he can make consistent gains is very impressive. I've no doubt that he has an exciting future on and off the pitch moving forward,” said Jack Patterson London Irish Junior Academy Manager.
Even though the current pandemic has halted some of the offsite fixtures and training, Rory is working hard at school to keep up his fitness and his skills. The next couple of years will be exciting for Rory and the School is looking forward to celebrating his future achievements.