London Skolars to Launch stand-alone RL Academy out of Barnet and Southgate College.

18th May 2015

For a number of years now London Skolars and their education partners Barnet and Southgate College have been nurturing numerous young Rugby players through their studies whilst also giving them the opportunity to play a competitive level of rugby through the Rugby Education Academy at the College.

The College programme which was run in conjunction with Rugby Union giants Saracens has consistently provided Skolars with first team squad members, and graduates of the programme include centre Aaron Smalls, prop Dion Chapman and up and coming back Seb Kolasa. The alumni also includes current London Broncos Wing Iliess Macani who has made over 30 appearances in Super League and scored 13 tries.

In 2015 to line up with London Skolars and London RL’s performance pathway, the College programme will now split from its union partners and launch a stand-alone RFL Tier 3 Academy. This is a very exciting move for London RL, as Barnet and Southgate College will now become the only post 16 education establishment to offer Rugby League throughout the whole of London and the South-East.

This move is great news for aspiring young RL players in London and the surrounding home counties as it fills a much needed void in the London RL performance pathway. With the London Junior League only fielding sides up to U17’s, for those players who want to continue with Rugby League above that age, the only options are to play in the London Men’s League. The College Academy will allow them to play a competitive level of Rugby League against players of similar age and size whilst completing their studies at one of the biggest College sport departments in the country.

Community Development Manager Matt Cuss, who leads on the programme spoke of the move, “We are very excited to finally announce our stand-alone RL programme, this is a culmination of many years of hard work from lots of people, and we feel now is the right time to step away from the Rugby Union partnership and launch an academy which solely focuses on Rugby League.” Cuss continued, “The College Academy will give young players from the whole of London RL the chance to study a full-time academic qualification, whilst also developing themselves as a Rugby League player, training and playing 3 times a week and getting some of the best off-field support available outside of the Super League Academies. There will be a real focus on ensuring players are given an unrivalled platform to demonstrate their talent as they progress through the London Player Performance Pathway. Our team of specialist coaching staff at London Skolars, in partnership with the staff from the Barnet and Southgate College set up will provide elite training and performance coaching on a weekly basis whilst working with the College lecturers to ensure that the players maintain a high level of performance off the field too.”

James Edgerley, Sports Development Officer for Barnet and Southgate College added, “We are extremely excited by the possibilities of this new Tier 3 RFL Academy in partnership with London Skolars. This year is something of an anniversary for Rugby League here at the College as it marks 10 years since Gavin Willacy started a Rugby League programme here with Skolars, so it’s fitting we’ve gone full circle and will have an exclusive Rugby League programme again, only now as part of an official RFL Performance structure.”

In addition to the playing opportunities and Academic course, as part of the students study programme within the RFL Tier 3 Academy, they will have the opportunity to gain their RFL Level 1 coaching qualification, Rugby League officials qualification and possibly even more besides based on application and ambition.

All London Junior RL players are urged to attend the next Open Days for students interested in joining the programme for the 2015/2016 Academic Year, these are to be held on Wednesday May 27th and Friday July 10th both starting at 11am at the Colleges Southgate Campus, before the practical sessions at London Skolars ground White Hart Lane, New River stadium. To apply, please visit or contact Matt Cuss at London Skolars or James Edgerley at Barnet and Southgate College for more information.

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