Leeds Rhinos Academy rated as outstanding again
Leeds Rhinos U19 vs Wakefield U19
The Leeds Rhinos Academy has been rated as outstanding by an independent review by the Rugby Football League.
An evaluation of outstanding represents a level of performance, which exemplifies best practice. It also implies these very high levels of performance are sustainable and will be maintained.
The Academy is responsible for players aged 14 to 19 at the Rhinos and encompasses both the Under 16 and Under 19 teams. The annual RFL assessment is a way of benchmarking the Rhinos against the rivals but more importantly setting standards to improve the coaching of young players across the game.
The review found that the Rhinos had improved in a number of areas over the past twelve months highlighting the development of an outstanding talent identification system, which has been aided by the appointment of former Rhino Chev Walker to the coaching team and ensuring that young players have an equal balance between Performance and Education to give them a more holistic person centred approach.
The Rhinos work with Leeds Beckett University and the use of Phd students to create ground breaking research on young elite players was another key development factor.
Following recommendations from the 2016 review, the Academy has increased the number of staff this year including the appointment of former Rhinos and Great Britain player Adrian Morley. The Rhinos now work with 37 ambassadorial clubs that have developed with a player from the academy or first team making regular visits.
The review also reported that the club is clear about the value and importance of education and the off field development of each individual. Players stated that they are supported throughout exam periods and the club understands about associated pressures and importance. Equally, there is a system in place to help those players who are exiting the Academy. The exit programme includes education advice and support for players to move into playing for other clubs and teams in other leagues.
Head of Youth Development Simon Bell commented, “We are delighted to have achieved an outstanding rating again for our Academy. We have done a great deal of work over the past year to build on our strong performance last year and take the youth development programme forward. There are still areas we need to improve on and the report has been useful in highlighting those areas with a particular reference to post 18 student recruitment that we can look at moving forward. Importantly for us as a club, it was gratifying to see the hard work that goes on behind the scenes in looking after the young players both on the field and in the classroom being recognised. We aim to develop young men not just rugby players.
“A person who has had a key part in that process over the last decade has been Rhinos Assistant Coach Chris Plume. Chris is leaving us this summer for a new role in education but on behalf of everyone associated with the Academy I would like to thank him for his unstinting efforts and commitment to the young players at our club. We have exciting times ahead with Rob Burrow set to join our coaching team next season and we look forward to the future with confidence,” added Bell.