Academy celebrate Newport High link


Dragons Academy are looking forward to celebrating ten years of a successful partnership with Newport High School Rugby Academy.

The Academy programme at the school has gone from success to success as a hub for 16-18-year-old rugby players from across Gwent to develop their elite rugby skills alongside their academic studies.

Newport High School Sixth Form is part of the Newport West collaboration of schools allowing students to continue their academic studies, accessing A level and BTEC courses from across any of four of the Newport secondary schools in the partnership.

The programme balances the demands of elite sport and academic demands to support all players reach their full potential.

The training experience at Newport High Rugby Academy is timetabled alongside the academic timetable and focuses on the practical delivery of technical, tactical, physical and mental elements of rugby. All players receive bespoke support by the school to succeed in both pathways.

The school runs two competitive teams in both the College League Programme and the Association of Colleges League, offering competitive opportunities to all players, alongside a range of annual sevens tournaments.

The games programme is exceptionally competitive and the senior team of 2021/22 recently competed in the National Plate Final showcasing rugby at the highest level at this age group in Wales.

The success of the programme is centred around the development of each individual, expertly supported by Rob Sidoli, the Academy Manager, and his coaching and support team, providing a wealth of expertise and experience to the aspiring players, developing their skillset to survive and thrive in a professional era. The school has also recently appointed a full time Strength & Conditioning coach to further develop the expert support offered.

Success, therefore, is not ultimately based on team success but the success of each individual reaching their potential and progressing in their elite journey.

In recognition of this, a study last year assessed the number of professional contracts attained by developing players from their respective academies in the world, based on current official published squad lists by teams in the Gallagher Premiership, United Rugby Championship, Japanese top league, Super Rugby, and Top 14.

From that list of 736 institutions, Newport High Rugby Academy was rated 26th for professional contracts gained and was the second highest in Wales.

To date the Newport High School Rugby Academy has been proud to recognise:

  • 85 players being selected for the Dragons Under-18 regional squad.
  • 24 Academy players have represented Wales Under-18s / Under-20s with five in the current squad for the new year.
  • 2 Academy players gaining their senior Wales international cap.
  • 18 Academy players gaining Welsh premiership contracts.
  • 16 Academy players gaining senior Dragon professional contracts.

Mrs Lee, Headteacher at Newport High School, said: “Newport High School is extremely proud of the rugby programme and the opportunities it provides for elite rugby development but also in the academic success achieved by the players.

“The pathway supported by the WRU is a great example of partnerships between rugby and educational institutions.

“We recognise the rugby aspirations of the players, but place first priority on academic progress to ensure every player has the best options available to them at the end of the programme.”

David Rees, Head of Academy at Dragons Rugby, said: “We have enjoyed a strong partnership with Newport High Rugby Academy over the last decade and have been thrilled to see it evolve to the excellent rugby and academic programme it is today.

“We’re delighted to continue to work closely with Rob Sidoli and all the staff at Newport High Rugby Academy and look forward to even more players coming through this excellent programme and into the Dragons Academy in the years ahead.”

We’re delighted to continue to work closely with Rob Sidoli and all the staff at Newport High Rugby Academy and look forward to even more players coming through this excellent programme...
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