This Saturday afternoon, Gloucester Rugby host Benetton Treviso at Kingsholm (ko 15:00) in Round Two of the European Rugby Challenge Cup, and there is plenty going on alongside the action.
Gloucester Rugby has a history steeped in tradition that has evolved into the professional era. Gloucester Rugby is a club proud of its traditions and heritage, none more so than producing home grown talent.
During the transition into professionalism, it was recognised that Gloucester needed to develop local players who can compete at the highest level and bring the passion and desire that goes with playing for your home club.
In early 2002, Gloucester Rugby was awarded RFU Academy status. A clear development pathway was then identified for potential athletes that aims to produce the complete rugby playing professional worthy of wearing the Gloucester Rugby shirt.
The Academy pathway starts with the Developing Player Programme, which is aimed at talented U14 and U15 players who may stand out because they are athletic, technically or tactically astute or show an outstanding work ethic and commitment to the game.
On finishing the Developing Player Programme players who demonstrate key characteristics are invited into the U16 Player Development Group. This section of the pathway starts to introduce opportunities to represent the club and positional specific development within an increasing challenging environment.
The Junior Academy which operates at U18/19 level and where the Academy looks to drive the players development ready for their potential inclusion within the full time Senior Academy who train alongside the Gloucester Rugby senior squad.
There are formalised entry and exit routes at every stage of the academy through club/school nominations, scouting and a recommendation network.
This development is underpinned by education at various levels, thus providing players with a focus outside of rugby and a rounded education pathway.
Gloucester Rugby have developed an excellent partnership with Hartpury College that has seen the likes of Jonny May, Tom Savage and Billy Burns develop through the Academy to become first team regulars.
Alongside Hartpury College the Academy has a number of other educational establishments to cater for all players within the pathway.