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About the Academy

About the Academy

Leicester Tigers have a strong tradition of producing home-grown players. Tigers legends Martin Johnson and Graham Rowntree were developed from a strong youth structure and Tigers recognised very early that an Academy system was needed to develop players capable of playing professional rugby. In 1998 the Tigers Academy was established with players such as Harry Ellis, Sam Vesty and Louis Deacon among the first successful players through the system.

In 2002, Tigers were rewarded for their pioneering work with RFU Academy status. The Leicester Tigers England Rugby Academy aims to produce players for both Tigers and England. The Academy recently produced its 100th age-grade international as well as producing British & Irish Lions caps Tom Croft, Harry Ellis and Lewis Moody.

The Academy programme is essentially based on two distinct elements.

First, our Elite Player Development Groups (for further information see our EPDG section) that select players into four satellite centres for concentrated development.

The EPDGs operate at under-14 through to under-16/17 and, from there, players are selected and invited to attend the full Academy programme based at the Oval Park training ground.

The full Academy Programme selects players aged 16-19 and our focus is to develop players across all components of performance - technical/tactical, physical, mental and lifestyle.

The programme is focused on individual development within a team environment and supported by principles of long-term athlete development.

One of the key features of our programme is a development-led, competition-supported playing programme which enables us to refer individual development back to and within the context of the game.

This allows us the opportunity to assess our potential first-team players in a controlled, meaningful, competitive environment.

Development Process

Leicester Tigers' philosophy is to provide development across all components of performance. This holistic approach ensures potential players are developed for the long term and are fully prepared for professional rugby.

Every player is provided with individual personal development plans (PDPs) that address all areas of development.


While every young player aims to be a professional, it is vital that they continue some form of education.

We have established relationships with a number of education providers within our area. This ensures our players maintain a balanced perspective between their rugby ambitions and life after rugby.

In addition, all players will attend personal development seminars on various subjects to aid their individual understanding of issues such as time management, communication, media training and goal setting.

Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth I College Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth I College is the Academy Official Education Partner.

Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE)

The Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence is a formal qualification that has recently been supported by the RFU and Leicester Tigers.

It recognises the work that is done at Oval Park in preparing young players for a career at the highest level and is based upon the two key elements of education and rugby development.

The NVQ Achieving Excellence in Sporting Performance at Level 3 has been designed to meet the particular needs of those who aspire to become professional rugby players. Four of the eight units directly provide for the assessment of elite performers' application of technical, tactical, physical and psychological aspects of their sport. The remaining four units address wider issues such as lifestyle, communication skills and career management. While these are extremely important issues for elite performers, they are also crucial for a successful transfer to secondary or supplementary careers.

Players have individual programmes to develop these skills. The competition programme is provided by Tigers Academy.

This qualification is a nationally certificated recognition of the skills, knowledge and understanding that players are developing in their ambition to achieve excellence in rugby. The full qualification includes the completion of a full-time education programme and our players study at Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth I College who are recognised as our formal education partners.

Academy Vice-Presidents

We are indebted to our Academy Vice-Presidents who continue to support the programme:

Tim Ellis Mike Bylina
Adam Walker Mark Falkingham
Robert Wills Peter Howard
Tony Snarey John Graham
Joe Grindal
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