From the President of Sussex RFU: Dewi Vaughan (Chair SSRFU)
In both roles as President of Sussex County and Chairman of Sussex Schools, I would like to pay tribute to all the hard working Teachers who produce such good rugby teams and individuals. Many of whom go on to play for local clubs and join the player pathway to Elite Rugby!
On a personal level I would like to thank both Dr. Roger Edmondson and Martin Eley (CSU President) for all the work they do to promote
Schools Rugby in the County.
Roger in particular works tirelessly on behalf of all Schools to put the appropriate competitions as well as supporting the player pathway at Age Group Levels. This season sees the introduction of the Age Group Review and New Rules of Play. This will offer a challenge to all Schools but I am positive in the long run to be a benefit.
By the beginning of next season we will have four areas in various stages in the All Schools Programme – Hastings, Bognor, Crawley and Brighton. With good cooperation between the Schools, RFU Staff, and the local Clubs, the benefits could be massive.
It is so pleasing to see a rejuvenated England team captained by an ex-Sussex Schoolboy Dylan Hartley (Beacon Academy and Crowborough RFC) and the GB Sevens Squad at the Olympics captained by Tom Mitchell (Worth School). In addition, Joe Marler, Joe Launchbury and Billy Twelvetrees were in the World Cup Squad. Not bad for a small County.
Once again the Player Pathway system led by Simon Stodart and supported by Team Managers and excellent Coaches to produce some superb talent. Last Season Luke James (Cavendish and Eastbourne RFC) and Jon Searle (Brighton College and Brighton RFC) played for the England U16 Group, Marcus Smith (Brighton College) for the England U17 Group and Dino Lamb-Cona (Angmering School) for England U18 Group. Finally James Hadfield (Hurstpierpoint) and Ollie Davis Smith (Worthing College) were selected for the England U18 Counties Squad.
Special mention must be made of the Sussex U16 County Squad under the leadership of Gary Henderson and Jim Ward. They won three of their County matches and only lost to Surrey in the last minute of injury time. We wish them every success as U17’s next season culminating in a tour to Argentina – a great experience they will enjoy.
Brighton College has been nominated as “School of the Year” Award at the national Rugby Awards this September. The School under the leadership of Nick Buoy have become a real force nationally. Winning the Rosslyn Park U16 Sevens was a fantastic achievement. Nick also had the ‘nice problem’ of Eddy Jones bringing the National Squad for training purposes.
One of the best and supportive teachers/coaches has retired at the end of the last season. Andy Turner has been a massive influence on Schools Rugby and County Representative Teams for the best part of 40 years. But I am sure he will continue to be involved in one way or another. His replacement at Christ Hospital is Ian Davies who makes a welcome return to the County. I am positive as one of the Country’s leading coaches, he will have a positive influence on Schools Rugby at all Levels.
There is I believe more cooperation that ever between our schools and clubs and we must all support the growth of this area by highlighting good practice.
So I see season 16-17 as very exciting but also challenging.
Good luck to all school and enjoy your Rugby.