Redingensians and University form new rugby academy
Release Date 26 April 2011
Ambitious National 3 South West side Redingensians and the University of Reading are teaming up to launch an exciting new rugby academy this Autumn.
It will be known as the Rams Academy, the Gensians brand name based on the coat-of-arms of the town of Reading, and will provide a well-balanced and enjoyable programme of rugby skills, conditioning and strength training, life skills and vocational training.
Six undergraduates, via scholarships, and six Redingensians (Rams) players will join the Academy this summer. They will be promising players who have played representative rugby or been involved with premiership academies.
The University's SportsPark will provide the group with top-class training facilities and fitness advice, while the Rams will give nutritional advice, video analysis, psychology support and physiotherapy. There will be regular feedback, assessment and advice plus life skills guidance related to career choices and business.
The partnership will also mean Rams Senior Squad members can use the University's SportsPark gym for free this summer, so they are in peak condition in time for the new season. Funding for the project will be from local businesses who have indicated their willingness to lend their support.
Redingensians' Director of Rugby Gary Reynolds said: "The Academy will ensure talented and committed local youngsters can play rugby at the highest level.
"Many of our juniors have developed through state schools, which do a good job but struggle to compete with private schools and lack the facilities for nurturing high class skill and physical development. Hopefully we can fill that gap and eventually several of the youngsters will play for our first team helping Redingensian to an even brighter future."
Both the Redingensians and the University of Reading's first team have enjoyed strong seasons,with the University winning the regional league and promotion to the University Premier League.
Iain Akhurst, Director of Sport at the University of Reading said: "We are delighted to be in partnership with the Redingensians and I'm sure we will both benefit from this new Academy. Reading is one of the world's top 200 universities and is well renowned for producing top-class athletes,particularly rowers. Our rugby squad enjoyed a terrific last season and this new Academy will encourage talented players to study at Reading, improving our rugby squad and hopefully helping Redingensians to progress."
The academy will be headed by Rams' technical director Mike Tewkesbury, who is also head coach at the University of Reading Tewkesbury is a top level coach whose career began at London Irish. Then he guided Reading to the third tier of national rugby as well as taking Limerick-based Bohemians to the top club level in Ireland.
Since taking over last autumn, he has steered the University to promotion. A member of that side is Shaun Brown, who has played for Redingensians at first team level this season.