Leicester Tigers welcomed parents and players from the club’s Developing Player Programme to a day of events including talks from first-team stars and coaching with senior players.
Academy managers Dave Wilks and Jamie Taylor, head of rugby operations Ged Glynn and the club’s support staff welcomed young players and their parents at Leicester Grammar School to hear about life in professional rugby, the education opportunities for the club’s academy players and the way forward for aspiring players
England fly-half George Ford talked to the group about his experiences coming through the academy, with development squad duo Ben White and Sam Lewis revealing their thoughts on progressing through the ranks at a professional club.
“Tigers is a special place,” said Ford. “You are with your mates and coaches every day, there is a no-nonsense mindset, there are not many excuses, you just try to win games at the weekend and try to get better each week in training.”
Scrum-half White, who made his senior debut as a 17-year-old in 2015, was asked if he had one tip to pass on to the group based on his own experiences and said: “Be confident in yourself. You are obviously good enough to be here, but be humble within that and be willing to learn.
“If I started again I would ask more questions. it’s important to keep asking questions and have that attitude to learn in every minute of the session.”
England international Mathew Tait, Harry Thacker, Will Evans and Harry Wells were among the senior Tigers players who then delivered sessions on the pitch on positional skills, with George Catchpole, Worth and development squad members White, Lewis, Charlie Thacker, Jordan Olowofela, Fred Tuilagi, Harry Simmons, Tom Hardwick, Tommy Reffell and Joe Heyes all passing on tips to groups based on specific skills.
There were also sessions on psychology, nutrition, medical, and balancing education with rugby for all the players before a final set of conditioned games.
Parent Martin Greatorex said: “It has been a really informative day, a really good insight into how the academy goes forward with the programme. It was fantastic listening to the players, especially George Ford.”
DPP player Sham Greatorex added: “From a player’s perspective, it was a bit nerve-racking to be with first-team senior players but once you get going it all settles down. The players were very good, they brought a sense of calm to the whole thing. A lot of rugby sessions just focus on the field but the classroom stuff today is really important as well.”
Thank you to all the DPP players and parents who supported the day and to Leicester Grammar School for the use of their facilties.