East Midlands Rugby Union

Helping to promote, foster and develop the game of Rugby Union


The DPP is a development programme that compliments school, club and county playing programmes, providing further development opportunities without the conflict of competition. It is a national programme managed by the RFU and delivered locally in partnership with the RFU, Regional Academy and Constituent Bodies (CBs). Each programme is established within the 14 Regional Academy boundaries.

The delivery model builds on the principles of Age Grade Rugby; player centred, development driven and competition supported, with the wants and needs of young people at its heart. Putting player enjoyment and rugby’s core values first and foremost, an ambition is to ensure young people are enjoying the game for longer and into their adult years. Supporting key principles of long-term player development; early engagement, broad numbers and longitudinal opportunities to develop and nurture potential, the programme is aimed at male players from Under 14 through to Under 16. Delivered alongside regular participation programmes in school, club and Constituent Bodies, the programme is designed to provide enhanced development opportunities for the best young players.

While a key objective by the end of the programme is to identify players with the greatest potential to enter the pathway towards the professional game and England, the initial emphasis will be on nurturing a player’s attainment of skills, game understanding (principles of play) and athleticism.

This integrated approach, built on a positive learning environment, is essential in the development of young rugby players. The DPP will focus on providing a learning environment for players, with guidance on creativity, awareness, resilience, decision making and self-organising (CARDS) within the game. The CARDS skills accelerate players’ ability to adapt to the game by exploring the boundaries of their capabilities. They will also learn about key components of performance to readily equip them with attributes most important to their long-term development.

Players involved in the DPP may also be involved in more than one environment: school or club. It is important to recognise that the DPP is not instead of but additional to their normal place of engagement.


ROSS STEWART – Player Pathway Manager (DPP) Rossstewart@northamptonsaints.co.uk
07826 865 498
01604 751 543

MARIA GRACE – Community Administrator Mariagrace@northamptonsaints.co.uk 01604 599 162

WILL PARKIN – Junior Academy Development Manager (PDG) Willparkin@northamptonsaints.co.uk
07885 464 901