Bath Academy have announced a new partnership with Beechen Cliff School, which will see Beechen Cliff have an Academic & Sporting Excellence porgramme (AASE).
This will see Beechen Cliffâ€™s 1st XV enter next yearâ€™s AASE League, which has been dominated in recent times by Hartpury College, who are aligned with Gloucester.
The way the AASE League works is that each team is affiliated with a Professional Academy, and is designed as a way to help more State Schooled players into elite rugby.
The programme will look to attract 16 year-old players from the Bath catchment are of Somerset, Wiltshire and Dorset.
Previously Bath had been one of just two â€˜eliteâ€™ sides without an AASE affiliate, the elite sides being the current top 11 Premiership clubs plus Bristol, Worcester Warriors, and Yorkshire Carnegie. The new partnership with Beechen Cliff means that Harlequins will be the sole side without and AASE affiliate.
Beechen Cliff have had a good deal of success on their own, producing players such as the Burns brother, the Slowick brothers, and one of Bathâ€™s very own, Kane Palma-Newport.
The AASE league will be a big step up for them, but with Bathâ€™s support they will be well suited to meet the challenge, as Director of Rugby, Sean Turner pointed out:
“The AASE League is a very high standard of rugby and we are looking forward to the challenge, but with Bath Rugby’s support in areas such as strength and conditioning, match analysis, positional coaching and physiotherapy, the players will have the best opportunity to achieve their full potential.”
Bathâ€™s Academy Director, former England international, Danny Grewcock, was equally excited, saying:
“We see this as a fantastic opportunity to provide an elite rugby pathway in an outstanding state school environment. Players will be able to take advantage of Beechen Cliff’s successful sports programme, complemented by the school’s strong reputation for high academic standards in its Sixth Form. The school has great facilities and coaching expertise and Bath Rugby will be working closely with the school to support their already very strong rugby programme and provide both players and coaches with first class support.”
With Beechen Cliff hoping to also retain their traditional Saturday fixture list as well as competing in the AASE league next year, there ought to be a benefit to many more players than just the AASE side.
To see the full story from Bath Academy, please follow this link: http://www.bathrugby.com/news/academy-news/bath-rugby-academy-forms-new-partnership-with-beechen-cliff-school