The Women’s rugby academy in partnership with Oaklands College gives the opportunity for players 16-18yrs to train day to day in a full time performance environment alongside their further education post GCSEs.
Oaklands College (St Albans) has a long affiliation with Saracens, with the boys rugby programme being installed in 2006, and in that time seeing multiple current Saracens Senior players come through the programme. With the Women’s game in a period of accelerated growth, and since the launch of the Premier15s competition in 2016, seeing Saracens Women winning back to back championships, the need for more a more structured platform for aspiring players to gain the opportunity to achieve similar success has never been so prominent.
In 2019, Saracens Women started to put the foundations of a stand-alone programme to emulate, but also learn and grow from the male academy partnership that had continued at Oaklands College. With current Women’s club captain Lotte Clapp a product of the previous provision, the introduction of the Diploma In Sporting Excellence (DiSE) scheme that is tailored to support players with the highest potential on the field, has enabled students to learn how to become better all-round elite athletes, as they move closer to transitioning to the senior game and potential Saracens players of the future.
Players within the full-time college programme receive weekly on pitch training which covers core skill development and in depth technical position specific work. In addition to this, a weekly Strength & Conditioning programme and medical provision runs alongside their Rugby, aiding players athletic development, injury prevention and rehabilitation, led by Saracens Women coaches and staff.
Saracens Women’s DiSE Manager Lewis Sones says:
“Being able to strengthen the opportunity for the next generation of players in the game is vital to the future growth and success of women’s elite rugby. To provide a full-time performance environment for 16-18 year olds allows us to nurture the talent to the highest possible level over two core years of their rugby development. The partnership with Oaklands College massively supports being able to do this day-to-day alongside education, with the added offering of a brand new residential option which rivals some of the best facilities in the country is a real added bonus to the programme. The current cohort have been exciting to work with so far and we are looking forward to adding to this before the start of the new season”.
A core section of the college academy will sit alongside the Centre of Excellence programme that will use Oaklands as a hub for Saracens sessions over the season. Applications for September 2021 are now open, please register your interest in the Open Training Day on 2nd June, from 10:30am – 1:30pm here.