The Schools England Rugby League and Union Players

In an environment whose breathtaking beauty could hardly be surpassed in world sports, hundreds of students switch from their green tweed blazers to sports kits to receive lessons in rugby, football, netball and hockey four afternoons a week. Mainly rugby. For this there is Sedbergh, one of the best sports schools in England, where rugby is king.

On its sacred playing fields, which offer a breathtaking view of the Howgills Fells and are located next to its stylish indoor sports center, 40 sixths are divided into forward and back training. The facilities would envy several professional clubs.

You don’t have to have been to Sedbergh to know what it looks like. Think of the school campus at the Dead Poets Society or the Catcher in the Rye. Sedbergh, which is located on the western edge of the Yorkshire Dales, calls itself “England’s book town.” But the well-groomed playing fields of the school are located among lush bush fields invading the city center, and a dozen towering white posts protrude from the gray roofs, as if to announce: ” This is Rugby City.”

Dozens of professional rugby players have emerged in this rural paradise. The productivity of the Sedbergh School Football Club, which was founded in 1879 and is known as Brown because of its distinctive uniform, would be in every code next to every academy of the biggest clubs in the world. Simon Mulholland, who is in his eleventh season as the school’s director of rugby, believes that “if you’re not the best, then you’re pretty close” to being the school that produces the most professional players. “The full approach helps, as they live and breathe rugby 24/7 here. I trust that you could not go through school without seeing a series of touches somewhere. It’s in the air. It’s a pretty special place.”

They are successful in the professional era and have old boys in the top leagues in Europe, with old Sedberger representing England (Bevan Rodd), Scotland (Cam Redpath), Wales (Jim Botham) and Ireland last year.

Eighty miles above the Old West Riding is Castleford – a town as different socially, culturally and aesthetically as any county can muster, but it’s also home to another of the country’s best rugby centres of excellence. Sedbergh’s status as England’s most successful rugby school is called into question by the large amount of cutlery at Castleford Academy. The state comprehensive school, rated “outstanding” by Ofsted, has won a third of all RFL Champion Schools competitions – an astonishing 53 titles.

At both Yorkshire schools, students spend their early days playing rugby. You start the way you want to continue. The big difference is that most Sedbergh students pay a year for catering. “Most kids come to Sedbergh to play rugby,” says Mulholland, who grew up in New Zealand and was recently named Coach of the Decade by NextGenXV.

“We only have 380 kids, so it’s not huge, but where other schools have fewer kids who want to play rugby, our numbers are going the other way. We need to create accessories for them. The entire school schedule is organized around sports. In winter we have games in the middle of the day, then lessons from 4 to 6 o’clock after dark.”

With five training sessions a week on the field, as well as analysis and strength and conditioning work, Sedbergh is effectively a full-time elite academy. Mulholland estimates that about 30 of his sixth-graders are in prime Minister’s academies. “Sale, Newcastle and Yorkshire are our biggest feeders, but we have kids in Saracens, Cardiff, Edinburgh and a few in rugby league clubs.

We have very good communication with the clubs to manage their workload. From September to December, her priority is school. So a schoolboy can go to Sale or Newcastle twice a month, then at least once a week after Christmas, and even more after that, if he does not play sevens or 10s for us. The complicated thing is when you get to the international standard, where there are always clashes.”

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