It has been an exciting and busy time at Gloucester Rugby Academy with the formation of the new Gloucester Rugby Elite Academy. A number of Cherry and Whites’ young talents are also expected to get some playing time on loan in the Championship.
Gloucester Rugby has formed a new branch of the Academy which will act as a bridge between the Senior Academy and the first team, providing a closer link between the two formations.
The new Elite Academy will see players train regularly with the first team, allowing them to be challenged and develop alongside the first team experience.
Recently, Conor Maguire joined the Elite Dragons Academy and is an exciting young prop who hopes to thrive in this new setup.
Maguire represented Leinster at the Under-18, Under-19 and Under-20 level and also played for Ireland’s Under-18 and Under-19, before joining the Dragons for a short term contract.
The goal is to have one player at each position in the Elite Academy so that a strong group of young players can grow up and expose themselves to the first team environment.
Peter Walton, director of the Academy, is enthusiastic about the new structure.
“We decided that this campaign would push the players to the top. We had around 25 players in our senior academy and we decided to push 18 to form an Elite Academy. These are players that we want to challenge and bypass the first team. The rest will stay in the Senior Academy and we think they will just take a little longer to pass. That’s not to say the Senior Academy players aren’t going to get there, it just means they need more time.
The idea is that Elite Academy members will gain a lot of experience and be in a better position to step up when the time comes.
“It’s a bit of a two-way street. If we need players, we can move players from Senior Academy to Elite, then Elite to First Team, that’s how it works.
“There are players we have to see challenged in this first team environment and that’s what we’re trying to do. It also keeps the first team players on their toes as it makes them think “crikey, there’s a young player coming in, I’m improving my game” which is good and healthy.
Gloucester Rugby Elite Academy
Louis hillman cooper
The Elite Academy training is another example of how important the development of young local talent is to Gloucester Rugby’s future plans.
“We see this as the future of the club. We want the players to come from the Academy. If it comes from when they first joined the DPP at the age of 14 and throughout their journey or if it comes from their integration into the academy at the age of 16/17, we let’s see this as the future of the club. Yes, we will always look to bring in areas where we lack from a first team perspective, but we want to recruit from within.