Strong relationships with clubs at Championship and National League level will allow a group of Leicester Tigers players to gain senior rugby experience as they kick off the 2019/20 season.
Tigers have had links with Nottingham Rugby over many years and have also established relationships with Moseley, Hinckley, Loughborough Students and Leicester Lions to provide opportunities for players.
Ged Glynn, the club’s head of performance pathway and talent identification, says the possibility of playing on loan in league rugby below the Gallagher Premiership is a vital step in a young player’s career as they come out of the top end of the academy and into the Tigers development squad.
“We’ve had a very strong group in the academy in the last couple of years, as results show in winning the Under-18 League for two years in a row,” said Glynn.
“Eleven of those players are stepping up to the development squad this year and now it is all about helping players in the next stage of their careers and providing opportunities for them.”
Moseley, now under the direction of former Tigers back-rower Adam Balding, play in National One, while Loughborough Students and Hinckley, where former All Blacks wing Scott Hamilton is in charge, are in National Two North, and Leicester Lions are in the southern section of that league.
Cameron Jordan, Taylor Gough, Thom Smith and Henri Lavin are members of the development squad in line for loan moves in the new season, with Sam Costelow, Ollie Ashworth, Joe Browning and George Martin among the Under-18 League title-winning side lined up to gain senior experience at National League level.
“The players will work through the pre-season here and then have the chance to play National League rugby from the start of September on a loan basis,” said Glynn.
“The Premiership Shield starts for us during November and they will all be aiming to get an opportunity to play in that.
“We’ve had players at Nottingham and Doncaster recently in Championship rugby and we’re working closely with Moseley, Loughborough Students, Hinckley and Leicester Lions to give players a good opportunity to step up to senior rugby and put their hands up for the Premiership Shield campaign.”
England and Lions internationals Tom Youngs and Dan Cole are among the academy graduates who have previously used loan moves to gain competitive experience at senior level before establishing themselves at Tigers.
Seven academy graduates involved in last year’s development squad have been promoted into the senior squad under Geordan Murphy this summer, including Under-20s internationals Tommy Reffell, Joe Heyes, Jordan Olowofela and Ben White.