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Quintet of age group international Academy stars commit to Cherry and Whites

Quintet of age group international Academy stars commit to Cherry and Whites
Gloucester Rugby are today delighted to confirm a group of our young home-grown players have committed their future to the club after agreeing new deals.

All five have experienced senior rugby already this season, all playing their part in the Heineken Champions Cup campaign, after graduating through the Gloucester Rugby Academy programme.

Forwards Alex Craig, Ciaran Knight and Henry Walker, alongside backs Charlie Chapman and Tom Seabrook have agreed new deals with the Cherry and Whites, moving into the senior squad for the 2019/20 campaign.

Head of Academy Richard Whiffin expressed his delight at seeing the hard work of the young players rewarded.

“We put a lot of emphasis on the development of young players in our Academy both on and off the pitch, and we feel that these players have been tested, and exposed to the top level of rugby and this has really aided their development.

“The coaching staff are confident in the young players in the group, and they fit in seamlessly in the playing squad in some huge games.

“Our aim is to produce well rounded young men, ready for modern professional rugby, and these players are not just quality on the pitch, they are wonderful ambassadors off it too.

“We see in the senior squad, many boys that have come through the ranks, and our Academy squad aspire to follow in their footsteps, and when we see local talent doing just that, it then inspires those younger lads in our Under 18, and DPP programme to follow the same path.  We are delighted the players have chosen to commit further by extending their contracts at Gloucester Rugby.”

Today’s news echoes the club’s drive to produce homegrown talent through the Gloucester Rugby Academy, with the aim of driving long term success through the development of young, top quality rugby players.

It’s an approach that is crucial to the success of the club going forward according to Director of Rugby David Humphreys.

“For a club like Gloucester Rugby to be consistently successful at the highest level, we have to be able to produce a constant supply of talented, home grown players capable of performing at the highest level.

“That’s the challenge that we’ve set Richard Whiffin and his staff over the past few seasons. It’s not something that happens overnight, but I genuinely feel that the hard work invested over the past few years is now really starting to pay off.

“Already this season, you’ve seen most of the players confirmed today feature at first team level. And they’ve played in some very high-profile fixtures against top quality teams – in the Heineken Champions Cup, for example, and more than held their own.

“For us to be able to offer senior contracts to this group of players, plus Alex Seville of course who signed earlier this season, is something that I’m delighted to see and we’re all excited to see how they all continue to progress.”

First up is Charlie Chapman, the fleet-footed scrum half who combines pace and creativity around the fringes and has appeared this season on dual-registration with Hartpury RFC.

The Scotland U20 international has made a number of first team appearances so far this season, including in the away fixture against Castres Olympique in the Heineken Champions Cup.

Alex Craig, again a former Scotland age group international has pledged his long-term future to the Cherry and Whites as he looks to build on a number of standout performances for both the first team and Hartpury RFC.

The athletic lock has been an exciting prospect in the Academy programme, and moves into the senior squad next season, looking to build on his five first team appearances to date.

Prop Ciaran Knight is a familiar face this season, being involved heavily in first team matters, and developing at the coalface of the front row in high-pressure environments and improving with every outing.

The former England Under 20 international already has 24 appearances to his name, and the Gloucester-born tighthead prop has formed a fine, burgeoning partnership with Alex Seville and Henry Walker through the Gloucester Rugby ranks.

Tom Seabrook holds the record for being the club’s fastest try scorer on debut with his finish against Saracens on the final day of the 2017/18 season, and the flying winger has continued to impress and build on his reputation when called upon in the senior squad.

Capable of operating on the wing and in the midfield, Seabrook is a powerful and elusive runner and distributor, and progressed through the club’s Academy ranks after leaving Dean Close School.

The fifth young star of the group to recently renew their contract with the club is hooker Henry Walker. The former England U20 international product of Bromsgrove School has come through the ranks at the club to become a key member of the first team.

Walker has made 19 appearances in the first team jersey, including starts in the Heineken Champions Cup against Munster Rugby and Castres Olympique.

A dynamic ball carrier, and reliable in the set piece, Walker has committed his future to the Cherry and Whites.
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