Independent schools in the UK are known for producing outstanding athletes, especially elite rugby players. Rugby is a well-liked activity among boys (and more and more girls) around the world since it is a team sport with a role for everyone, regardless of height and stature.
Rugbyqa.com has rounded together the best schools for rugby in England below if you’re searching for a school in the UK where your child may join a rugby academy or follow an elite pathway combined with their academic education.
The 5 best schools for rugby in England
The Millfield school in Somerset is virtually unbeatable when it comes to sports; it had 24 athletes competing at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, where it won 14 medals overall, and it was the school with the highest representation at the London 2012 Olympics. Since 1949, the school has produced 44 rugby players who have represented England internationally. Students at this institution receive coaching from former Olympians, train for Olympic Gold, and have access to top-notch indoor and outdoor facilities on campus.
Instead of enrolling in scheduled PE classes, students are offered individual sporting programs here, and its unmatched A-Z array of sports includes rugby. A group of 18 specialized coaches is overseen by former England international and Director of Rugby John Mallett.
But it shouldn’t be a surprise that Millfield’s costs aren’t the most affordable. For students in Years 9 through 13, annual day tuition is £28,530; boarding tuition is £43,830. However, the school does provide several million dollars in scholarships and bursaries each year, including sports grants for admittance into the sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth grades.
With approximately 1,500 students, Whitgift is a very selective day and boarding all-boys school. It offers IB, A Levels, and BTECs at the Sixth Form, a robust bursary program, and a notable rugby program.
The institution has a stellar reputation in sports and has amassed more than 300 national championships in a variety of sports. Old Whitgiftians include cricketer Jason Roy, who was a member of the first England side to win the World Cup, and Elliot Daly, who represented England in the most recent World Cup Final.
Every Whitgift boy, regardless of his level of athletic skill, has the chance to play on one of the 28 rugby teams at the school, which range from A to F. The school competes against leaders such as Sedbergh, Wellington, Harrow, Millfield, and Dulwich, as well as has a strong link with local rugby academies like Harlequins, London Irish, Saracens, and Wasps. The school has taken home three U15 Cup victories and three National Schools Competition victories in the last ten years.
Bristol’s Clifton College is a coed boarding and day school that promotes pupils to “reach high and stay grounded” through a contemporary, forward-thinking curriculum. It is known for producing students who thrive in academics, excel in sports, and participate in a special Jewish curriculum.
Rugby in particular is quite popular. The school has strong ties to Bristol Rugby; each year, Clifton sends a number of players to the club’s U17 and U18 academy teams. The boys are coached by former Bristol Captain Matt Salter and former England Rugby player Danny Grewcock MBE. The South West school circuit on which Clifton competes is of the highest caliber; among its current opponents are Cheltenham College, Sherborne, Bromsgrove, and Bryanston.
Beggar’s Bush, the school’s 90-acre sports complex, is the largest outdoor sports facility in Bristol and features a 3G football field, an Olympic-standard 4G hockey field, 24 tennis courts, two Astroturf hockey fields, two indoor gyms, a mountain biking trail, an archery range, and a low ropes course. 20 acres of local playing fields, a cricket pavilion, and a sports center with an indoor pool, gym, weight room, rackets court, eight Fives courts, squash courts, and six tennis courts are among the on-site athletic amenities.
St Joseph’s College
St. Jo’s is a great option for kids who want to pursue a career in elite rugby or apply to one of the best schools for rugby in England because it is the top independent school for sports in East Anglia, if not the entire country. It is well-equipped to provide student-athletes with the resources and support they need to excel in their sport and in the classroom.
This coed day and boarding school is well known for its sports. It has a staff of top-notch coaches, netball, rugby, cricket, and football academies, and it provides a specialized sports qualification that allows students to continue their education at Bath, Loughborough, and Hartpury universities. Additionally, it boasts an exceptional number of students who compete nationally.
One of the best schools for rugby in England is St Jo’s, which has produced professional players like Lewis Ludlam of England. One of the most famous school rugby tournaments in the UK is held at the school every year, and Whitgift and Millfield are only a couple of the top rugby-playing schools in the nation who participate.
This tiny, welcoming full boarding school, located in the beautiful region of Cumbria, is a breath of fresh air for active, outdoorsy kids. Sedbergh Institution is a modest, joyful school that is well-known for its pastoral care and athletic prowess.
Its sports skill is genuinely amazing, and the school’s rugby team is one of the best in the nation. Many Old Sedberghians return to speak to students about the game. It frequently turns out England international players, and its fabled brown shirt has been worn by past England captains and players like Will Carling and Phil Dowson.
The school regularly competes against schools like Wellington, Millfield, Blackrock College, Dublin, and Llandovery College, Wales in rugby, which is the primary team sport during the Michaelmas Term. “Playing an open and attacking style of rugby, where players are encouraged to keep the ball in hand and improve their offensive talents” is the aim of Sedbergh’s intense rugby program.
The Sedbergh School’s facilities are first-rate, as you would expect from any private school in the UK that costs just over £15k a year. Tennis courts, sports courts and fields, a fantastic cricket pitch, a gym, a shooting range, and a new sports center are all present.
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