Hardy relishing first season for Foundation’s new Category 3 Academy with Leeds City College

The beginning of the new academic year will also mark the start of an exciting new chapter for Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s partnership with Leeds City College, as the two organisations prepare to officially launch their ground-breaking Category 3 Academy this September.

Following two successful open trial events at Leeds Rugby Academy, Head of College Rugby Dan Hardy has been left impressed by the level of talent on show and looking forward to working with the student-players in what he describes as a “more holistic, robust programme.”

“The open trials have been really successful and we’re excited to get started now,” said Hardy.

“We have had upwards of 35 potential players wanting to register and be part of the Cat 3 Academy for the upcoming season. We were not granted our Cat 3 accreditation until the end of April, which put us a bit behind in our recruitment for this year, so to have such fantastic turnouts was extremely encouraging and reflective of our efforts during the past couple of months.

“It’s going to be a huge step up this year with regards to what we have in place for training and development, so I’m looking forward to seeing what the players can produce and how they prosper in our new programme.”

Pre-season preparations are now underway, with the side training for the first time this week ahead of the start of the new campaign in October. Hardy, who led the Leeds City College team to the Yorkshire College League title last year, recognises that the transition to a Cat 3 Academy will present them with plenty of new challenges and therefore must manage expectations accordingly.

“We have players from a range of playing levels and backgrounds, from beginners to ex-scholarship players. The intake of new student-players will supplement the second-year players who worked so hard last year and gave the programme the stable foundations it needed to grow and improve as a Cat 3 Academy this season.

“I think it’s wise to taper expectations though, as we’re coming into a very competitive league with teams that are a significant jump from what we faced last year. This year is all about establishing the programme and giving ourselves something else to build on moving forward.”

Enrolment for the programme is ongoing, and any 16-19-year-old learners interested in joining the Academy and playing for our team next season can email dan.hardy@leedsrhinosfoundation.org to find out more information.

Visit https://www.leedscitycollege.ac.uk/.