Jamaica Rugby Football Union creates youth academy
Jamaica's rugby is aiming to score big through the establishment of the Young Crocs Rugby Academy, a high-performance centre for the sport with a goal to catapult the country to the top, from its tier five status.
Major players shared optimism at yesterday's launch of the academy at the Jamaica Stock Exchange, downtown Kingston, where it was revealed that Vitae Sports Management will be driving the project with funding, while Huntley Anderson will be head coach.
"The vision behind the academy is to create a high-performance sports centre in terms of rugby. It has not been done here in Jamaica before," shared Anderson, who is also coach of St George's College.
"Jamaica is at fifth tier in rugby and I would really love to see us get up to tier one. The only way that will take place is if we have systems in place, a structure in place, and that starts with a high performance centre ... to ensure that there is a pathway to development for players coming from the high school system through to the senior stage, especially with the gap we have between the Under-19 team and the senior team," he explained.
The academy is based at one of the island's leading rugby-playing institutions, St George's College, and Vitae made an initial sponsorship of $500,000 to the first year of the programme for the Young Crocs, a national reference for rugby teams with the senior men known as 'Crocs' and women 'Lady Crocs'.
Much of the contribution will go towards gear and nutrition, with the school's gym also available for a holistic development of the sport's athletes, who will be recruited through the various competitions. Now there are 47 members at the academy and Anderson said that they are looking to increase the numbers to 100.