Chiefs win Academy honour

Exeter Chiefs have been awarded the licence to run the RFU’s England academy based in the South West.

Formerly known as the South West England Rugby Academy or SWERA, the Exeter Chiefs England Academy starts operating with immediate effect.

The Chiefs beat bids from Plymouth Albion and Cornish Pirates to win the rights to the licence for the next eight years.

Chiefs’ chief executive Tony Rowe said: “We are delighted to have won the licence to host the South West’s rugby academy. We are an ambitious club in terms of the success we are constantly striving towards both on and off the pitch but we also want to help nurture the talent that obviously exists in our part of the country.

“This club knows it is imperative these young players get the support, guidance and coaching they need to achieve their aims.

“I have no doubt that our facilities, personnel and professional attitude helped us in being awarded this licence and we hope to repay the faith shown in us by the RFU by producing a plentiful supply of elite rugby players from Devon and Cornwall.”

The Academy will be run across three sites: Sandy Park, Ivybridge College and Truro College. Academy manager Robin Cowling will be based in Truro with his assistant manager Rob Gibson based in Ivybridge.
Players between the ages of 16 to 18 will train at these two sites with those aged 18 and above training at Sandy Park.

Chiefs’ director of rugby Pete Drewett will oversee the academy and is ideally suited to the role having worked for England Rugby for 14 years culminating in two U21s Six Nations Grand Slams.

He said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity of working with clubs, coaches and young players in Cornwall and Devon to assist young ambitious players in achieving their rugby goals.

“The Guinness Premiership is full of players who started their rugby careers in the strong youth sections and schools throughout Devon and Cornwall and we aim to build on this success.”

Stuart Lancaster the recently appointed Head of Elite Player Development in the RFU Elite Rugby Department said: “I understand that it was a competitive pitch process for the South West academy business and all of those who took part in the process should be congratulated for the high quality of their presentations.

“I’m delighted that we will be working with Exeter Chiefs and look forward to helping them produce some quality age group players form the south west, which has been one of the areas of the country that has a proven track record in producing quality players.”