Wellington Festival 2019 set to kick off
The 2019 Wellington Festival kicks off on Saturday, with 420 players from the 14 regional academies taking part.
The week-long programme is held annually at Wellington College, Berkshire and aims to develop both academy players and coaches on and off the field in a variety of areas.
On the field, the academy teams will train and play against each other in a number of matches, challenged with law variations and a theme that has been provided for the players to interpret.
Players have been sent footage with challenges around ball carrying, and during the week they will be encouraged to explore different ways of being effective in both attack and defence.
Off the field, players will also be given education and guidance in the following areas: nutrition, anti-doping and professional sports pressures, such as psychology.
Wellington Festival is the largest academy festival in English rugby and is seen as a key part of a players’ development and transitional experience.
As well as match days on Sunday and Thursday, players will also receive specialist advice in their specific position during national coaching day on Tuesday, with England forwards coach Steve Borthwick among the guests.
Players will also be immersed in skill zones and masterclasses throughout the week.
RFU’s head of regional academies Don Barrell said: “The purpose of Wellington Festival is to provide a really unique experience where there will a combination of off-field, as well as on-field activity, which we hope will add to a player’s development journey.
“We’d like to think this is a unique experience they can’t get anywhere else. So, to live with 14 academies on one site, mix with their peers from around the country and take part in different activities is a great opportunity for them to both learn and reflect.
“The festival is one part of a player’s journey and a really important week in our overall festival programme within the pathway.
“As a player moves through the pathway we’d hope the experiences we provide create some opportunities to learn and support their development. If you look ahead, some of the foundations that we put in place this week will be mentioned during the U18 Six Nations Festival. For us it is the bits in between the games that really add value.”
14 regional academies: Bath Rugby, Bristol Rugby, Exeter Chiefs, Gloucester Rugby, Harlequins, Leicester Tigers, London Irish, Newcastle Falcons, Northampton Saints, Sale Sharks, Saracens, Wasps, Worcester Warriors, Yorkshire Carnegie.