On Sunday the 9th April, the leading U16 rugby players in the country made their way to the annual RFU U16 Premiership Rugby Academy Festival at Wellington College in Crowthorne, Berkshire. Seven pupils from Sedbergh School took part in the festival.

In what was a brilliant week of matches and trainings with some of the most elite coaches in the game, including Eddie Jones, Russell Earnshaw and Aiden McNulty, the players received an early and exciting taste of what it is like to be a professional rugby player.

During the week, the players had two match days where they played opposition academy sides, they also trained and attended various educational seminars including nutrition, finance & social media in week that covers all things rugby.

Sedbergh has an extremely proud and proven record of academy representation at all levels throughout its rich history and this year would be no different as we had seven players involved in the week for various premiership clubs. 

This included Ben Patchett (S), Fraser Jones (W) Sale Sharks, Will Haydon Wood (P), Harry Hill (S), Carwyn Tuipulotu (E) Newcastle Falcons, James Magee (P) Yorkshire Carnegie & Alex Brundage (E) Harlequins. SSFC Director of Rugby Simon Mulholland who attended the tournament said “What an amazing experience it is for these young men to be involved in. To get an opportunity to play, train and also experience the many other important educational elements of rugby whilst all living together for a week is something these players will never forgot.

The camaraderie between teammates and opposition is something that is very special about our great game of rugby and this experience will signal the start of many great relationships and friendly rivalries for years to come”. 

At the end of the week the England selectors named a 23-man squad to play for England v Wales U16 at Bridgwater and Albion RFC on Sunday the 30th of April. After showing superb form during the festival Sedbergh fly half Will Haydon Wood (P) and No8 Harry Hill (S) were both deservedly named in the starting line-up of the England squad.

Mulholland said 
“I could not be prouder of both Will and Harry. At Sedbergh we pride ourselves on giving our pupils the best possible platform to ultimately go on and reach their potential in both academics and on the sporting field; it is very rewarding to see that these young men have been recognised individually for their strong and consistent performances throughout the Sedbergh rugby season and in the Wellington Festival.

Both players have huge potential and I am extremely excited about working with them going forward into the sixth form”.  Sedbergh’s representation of two players in the starting line-up of the England U16 squad is the most from any school in the country.

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