Students Staff

03 November 2014

Unique rugby sevens development programme to be launched with masterclass from top Saracens coach

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Top rugby club Saracens will help the University of Essex launch its plans to make rugby sevens a ‘focus sport’ and develop the next generation of leading players within the men’s and women’s game.

Saracens Academy Manager Don Barrell is giving a coaching masterclass at the Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall on Wednesday 10 December explaining Saracens’ unique approach and revealing some of the secrets of the club’s success.

The talk, which is open to coaches, players, students and fans will be the perfect start for the University’s plans to launch rugby sevens as a focus sport from October 2015 with scholarships and extensive support packages up for grabs.

Saracens is officially endorsing the University’s rugby sevens programme and is also interested in developing further links with Essex due to its reputation in elite sport performance research - including working with the England Sevens team. Other partners will include Colchester Rugby Club and Colne Rugby Academy.

Don Barrell said: “The University of Essex and its new sevens programme is an exciting venture which promises to be the first of its kind, providing holistic development to young athletes. We are looking to engage with the University and endorse the programme. We will also aim to provide contact time during the year from a Saracens Academy coach to assist with coaching.”

Dr Dave Parry, Performance Sport Director at Essex, said: “We have exciting plans to develop rugby sevens at the University and are really pleased to have Saracens and local partners backing us. We believe we can offer a brilliant support package to talented players including the potential to play at international competitions around the world. Our sports scholars will also benefit from an outstanding learning experience at a top 10 university.”

The event will also feature talks from researchers within the Centre for Sports and Exercise Science. Centre Director Dr Gavin Sandercock will discuss how your birthday impacts on your sporting performance and Dr Paul Freeman will explain how athlete support networks make a difference to youth athletes.

The University of Essex is an accredited centre under the Sport England backed Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) with volleyball and basketball already launched as focus sports.

A performance coaching team for rugby sevens is being appointed led by Colchester Rugby Club head coach, and former Hartpury coach, Anthony O'Riordan. Gifted players selected for scholarships will receive financial awards of up to £2,500 per year.

Other support for focus sport scholars includes free strength and conditioning coaching, free use of sports facilities and free physiotherapy and medical care. Sports scholarship students can also take advantage of the high-quality sports science testing and support offered by the Human Performance Unit, which has an international reputation for working with elite sports men and women.

Coaching masterclass from Saracens Academy Manager Don Barrell and launch of new rugby focus programme at University of Essex. Wednesday 10 December,. Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall, University of Essex, Wivennhoe Park, Colchester, Essex, CO4 3SQ. Doors open at 7pm and the event will start at 7.30pm.

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