Staff who run the College’s prestigious Rugby academy, which has nurtured the talents of current England players including Jack Nowell, Luke Cowan-Dickie and Henry Slade, have put in a number of secure measures that adhere to the National Governing Body guidelines for Sport England to ensure that students can return to the pitch safely this autumn.
Emily Lord the Coordinator for Sport academies, along with the College’s sport technicians and coaches, worked incredibly hard over the summer holidays to ensure that new and returning students were able to participate in the academy and receive the same high level of training and support that is normally delivered.
Some of the new measures in place to ensure the students’ safety include using an anti-bacterial misting machine to treat all equipment and kit used by the students each training session and game. Students have also been placed in training bubbles to ensure that they don’t mix with other players and these bubbles will be upheld throughout the term.
Both staff and students have noticed the positive impact that the new safety guidelines are having on the training sessions for the academy.
Rugby Coach Marek Churcher shared “It’s been working out brilliantly so far. What’s great is this year the elite players are spread out across the teams, so other players are getting to learn a lot from them, which is something we’ve not been able to do before.”
As travelling to matches is currently not a possibility for the students the academy’s coaches are making the most of the time that students would have otherwise spent travelling across the country by introducing classroom sessions. Within these sessions students are learning about different elements of the game, including match analysis, how to implement strategy and even covering topics on game psychology, all with the assistance of Exeter Chiefs Coach Richard Phillips.
Level 3 Extended Sport Diploma student Harvey Beckerleg, from Penzance, shared how he’s been enjoying playing with his team mates again and the new classroom approach since returning to College.
“We’re still training lots of hours which is good and that includes the classroom learning, which I’ve been really enjoying,” he said. “It’s really enhanced my learning. I also really like being in a bubble as it means you get to work with a tight knit group. I’ve really enjoyed the back to College experience in general and I’ve felt very safe playing rugby and studying again”.
This term’s changes to the Rugby academy has also seen female players joining the traditionally all male academy for touch rugby sessions for the first time ever.
A Level student Hannah Dawes, from St. Austell, is in her first year of studying English Language, Classics and Music, and has enjoyed playing with a mixed group of players.
This is the first time I’ve integrated with boys on the pitch and I’m really enjoying.
It was a bit intimidating at first but I’ve seen my confidence grow over the weeks and it’s given me a chance to really improve my skills,” she said.
The new safety guidelines for the Rugby academy have also been implemented, where applicable, to each of the College’s sporting academies which includes Football, Netball, Basketball and Badminton, meaning a number of the College’s students are back to enjoying their chosen sport this term.