Ballyclare High is one of five schools selected to take part in a new Ulster Rugby partnership model aimed at building on existing engagement with schools throughout the Province, helping to identify up-and-coming talent and advance player development.
The Ulster Rugby Schools’ Academy Partnership will work directly with the official school partners and will focus on a player-centred approach, enabling young players to reach their full potential, while also ensuring all schoolboy players get the very best experience of rugby participation.
Other schools identified to take part in the initial phase of the programme are Ballymena Academy, Bangor Grammar School, Campbell College Belfast, and Royal Belfast Academical Institution.
The partner schools will be invited into Kingspan Stadium, the home of Ulster Rugby, for a week-long Continuing Professional Development (CPD) course during the summer where they will benefit from exposure to the Hughes Insurance Ulster Academy, Age-Grade pre-season programmes and the Ulster 1st XV pre-season programme.
Ulster Rugby will provide information and access to resources on key aspects of player development including personalised video analysis, strength and conditioning, nutrition and lifestyle management. The schools will also be able to attend a number of CPD events organised by Ulster Rugby, which will involve engagement with Ulster Rugby Academy staff, professional team staff and players.
Commenting on the announcement of this new initiative, Head of the Hughes Insurance Ulster Rugby Academy, Kieran Campbell, said: “This partnership will support the schools as they develop their top level players, but it will also engage younger players as they step out on to a rugby pitch for the first time, so we hope it will have the dual result of ensuring talented players fulfil their potential while also encouraging participation at all levels throughout the schools.
“We hope this partnership will encourage every school to work with Ulster Rugby in providing all schoolboy players with the very best experience of rugby.
“In acknowledgement of some of the excellent rugby programmes being delivered throughout the Province, we would anticipate that more schools will become an Ulster Rugby Schools Academy partner in the future.”