In 1998 the Leicester Tigers Academy was established with future international players Harry Ellis, Sam Vesty and Louis Deacon among the first to successfully come through the system. Tigers were rewarded for their pioneering work with RFU Academy status in 2002.
The Leicester Tigers England Rugby Academy aims to produce players for both Tigers and England. The Academy has produced more than 100 age-grade internationals as well as British & Irish Lions caps Tom Croft, Dan Cole, Harry Ellis, Ollie Smith, Manu Tuilagi, and Ben and Tom Youngs. Among the most recent graduates to become Tigers first-team regulars are Tommy Reffell, Freddie Steward, Joe Heyes, George Martin, Jack van Poortvliet, Ollie Chessum and James Whitcombe.
The Senior Academy is made up of contracted players aged 18-23. Players follow a bespoke full-time programme or combine a part-time programme with study or work experience. Each player follows an individual training and playing programme to get them Tigers Ready for the senior team. The players and staff work closely with our partner clubs, Nottingham Rugby and Loughborough Students, to ensure regular gametime for players.
Players are selected for the Academy at the end of their under-16 year. The aim of the programme is to develop players' readiness for professional rugby. Players earn their stripes through competitive fixtures for the under-17 and under-18 Academy teams.
Players combine full-time education or vocational courses with regular training at Oval Park. We partner with a number of schools who support Academy players in their educational and rugby development, and many Academy players study on the ACE programme at SMB College Group Brooksby Campus.
Academy Partner Schools:
Denstone College / Oakham School / Stamford School / Uppingham School
Leicester Tigers ACE at Brooksby
The Leicester Tigers ACE (Academy College Education) programme is delivered at Brooksby Campus as part of the SMB College Group.
The ACE course hosts many Academy players but is open to aspiring players from all over the UK. The programme combines a range Level 3 BTEC options with 12 hours a week of rugby development. ACE players benefit from a full programme of strength & conditioning, physiotherapy, video analysis and lifestyle support. The ACE team plays in a national competition against other Premiership Academy Colleges.
Players are welcome to apply if they have not previously been selected for representative rugby and do not have to live locally as there is accommodation on site. Players should have a huge desire to train and play at an elite level, have good athletic potential and be committed to a programme of strength & conditioning and nutrition.
For information on courses and assessment days, please visit www.smbcollegegroup.ac.uk
Our Junior Academy programme aims to discover the next generation of Tigers. We start the process at under-15s with a wide-reaching nomination and selection process at our four regional development centres.
Our four under-15 Junior Academy squads train regularly throughout the season and players continue to play for their local clubs and schools. We invite all under-15 players to central festivals in May to showcase their development and help us confirm their selection for the under-16 squads.
Our under-16 squads train and play against each other throughout the season before we select a central udner-16 squad to play in a national festival and attend a residential development camp at Easter.
At the end of the season around 30 players will be selected to join the Under-17 Academy squad for pre-season.
All other under-16 players will be signposted to CB under-17 squads and many players will go on to join our partner schools or Brooksby to continue their rugby development and education.
Junior Academy Centres:
- Staffordshire – Stafford RUFC
- Leicestershire – SMB College Group Brooksby Campus
- NLD – Nottingham University (David Ross Sports Centre)
- Norfolk – Norwich RFC / Norwich School playing fields
We are indebted to our Academy Vice-Presidents who continue to support the programme. Our Academy Vice-Presidents are Mike Bylina, Tim & Dawn Ellis, Mark Falkingham, Thomas Falkingham, Joe Grindal, Peter Howard, Tony Snarey, Mike Yarlett and Carol Wills.
Trial and Assessments
Players must be nominated by their school or club for the Junior Academy. Assessment dates and details of the nomination process are circulated to clubs and schools at the start of each season.
We continue to scout and assess players across a wide range of competitions at ages 14-23 and regularly invite players to trail with the Academy.
If you have not been seen by our scouts or coaches, or play outside our catchment area and feel you have the potential to play professional rugby for Leicester Tigers – please send details of your playing honours, age, date of birth, height, weight, position and recent footage to [email protected]