England Talent Pathway
England Talent Pathway (ETP) is the step of the rugby league performance programme aiming to “Improve Players by Improving Environments”, delivering more and better players, supported by more and better coaches.
The programme provides CPD and resources to upskill teachers and coaches so that rugby league players in those environments have access to high-quality coaching. The England Talent Pathway provides accredited coaches and teachers with a “national curriculum” for rugby league at 12-16 years.
The aim of the series is to provide an additional and more challenging representative playing opportunity for talented players and provide a development opportunity for aspiring coaches. Two squads of players are selected per age group at Under 14, Under 15 and Under 17, based on coach nominations and performances in community club matches. The squads are split into North and South of the Thames, and then train and playoff in a two-match series in September each year.
The series gives players an opportunity to secure a place with the London Broncos on their Under 16 and Under 19 Academy programmes, though the Broncos also hold open trials each year. The programme also provides the added benefit of development opportunities for aspiring coaches and extends the playing season for club players in London and the South East.
London Broncos U16s Scholarship Programme
The London Broncos Scholarship programme the next step on the pathway to becoming a professional rugby league player. 40 players (20 Year 10, 20 Year 11) are selected annually to form a development squad. The squad is typically selected from players representing a community rugby league club, but open trials are also held each year, open to players from schools rugby league or other sports.
The squad is based out of the Trailfinders Sports Ground in Ealing, and trains from November to June, with a playing programme from February to May each year. There are also educational sessions through the year on topics such as mental health and nutrition.
Players from the across both ages in the Scholarship are selected to play in fixtures against Super League academies such as Wigan Warriors and Leeds Rhinos. In April each year, some players from the Year 11 cohort will be offered contracts for the under 19 Academy.
London Broncos U19s Academy
The London Broncos Under 19s Academy is selected predominantly from players from the Under 16s Scholarship programme, though again, open trials are held annually.
The Under 19s Academy squad are all paid part-time professional players, and train three nights a week from November to September, with a full playing programme of 20-24 fixtures against Super League opposition.
The Under 16s Scholarship and Under 19s Academy share the Trailfinders Sports Ground in Ealing with the London Broncos first team and the programme involves field training sessions as well as a significant strength and conditioning programme. A number of players have progressed from the Academy to London Broncos, and further afield into Super League, most notably current England international, Mike McMeeken.The overall Academy (Under 16 Scholarship and under 19 Academy) programme was rated as “Good” by the RFL in 2017.
The London Broncos are a full-time professional club playing in the Championship, one tier below the Bet Fred Super League, the top tier of the sport.
13 of the current 28 man squad have progressed through the London Broncos academy pathway, with the remainder of the squad signed from elsewhere in the UK or overseas.
The club has a long history competing at the highest level of the sport, having formed as Fulham back in 1980. The club has been the top club in the South East over its full history, with a 2ndplace finish in Super League in 1997 and a Runners Up appearance in the 1999 Challenge Cup Final particular highlights. For more information about the London Broncos, go to the club website: londonbroncosrl.com
London Skolars were founded in 1995, initially created for post-university graduates in London. In 2002 the club’s application to join the National Leagues the following year was accepted, the first club in 80 years to make the jump from the amateur ranks to the professional leagues.
The first team plays in Bet Fred League 1, with a semi-professional squad, many of whom have graduated from the London player pathway. The club still runs community teams that play in the regional leagues and an “old boys” side, who have appeared in a number of Masters Rugby League Festivals. Furthermore, the club has an active community programme in Haringey and Enfield, fielding a number of successful junior teams.
For more information about London Skolars, go to the club website: skolarsrl.com
The England Youth squad is made up of players selected from the Under 16 Scholarship programmes operating at the professional clubs across England.
Three London Broncos players are currently members of the England Youth training squad, Josh Piper Gray (Elmbridge Eagles), Seth Jackson (Rutlish Raiders) and Darren Locke (Sussex Merlins).
The England Youth squad is made up of players selected from the Under 19 Academy programmes operating at the professional clubs across England.
England & England Knights
The England Elite Performance Squad is made up of the top professional players in the sport, competing to represent England in the international calendar.
England also has representative teams in Women’s Rugby League, with players selected from the new Women’s Super League, and Wheelchair Rugby League.
For more the latest news and information on the current England squads, including their upcoming international fixture programme, go to www.rugby-league.com/england