WORCESTER have unveiled a 16-man academy squad for next season as plans to develop the next generation of Warriors talent gather pace.
The club announced last week that they are in the process of creating six regional academy centres which will all feed talented youngsters into the Sixways system, the cream of which will go on to join Mark Hewitt’s new-look set-up.
In total, nine new faces will be joining Warriors’ academy for the 2014/15 campaign, including two have been recruited from the youth systems at Saracens and Leicester Tigers.
Hooker Jack Singleton will arrive from Saracens, while Warriors have also persuaded wing Perry Humphreys to make the move from Welford Road.
Tighthead props Mike Daniels and Josh McNulty will join the club from Loughborough University and Coventry Rugby Club respectively, while locks Christian Scotland-Williamson and Andrew Kitchener will also link up with academy manager Hewitt’s side.
Supporters will already be familiar with Scotland-Williamson, who made his debut for Warriors last November in an LV= Cup clash against Leicester Tigers.
Kitchener, who has progressed through the development squads at Sixways, is the younger brother of former Warriors favourite Graham, who quit Worcester to join Leicester.
Flankers Sam Smith and Huw Taylor, who have both been with Warriors since the age of 15, are the final two forwards to sign academy contracts.
Full-back Jon Hughes, who has also come through the club’s development squads, will progress to the academy.
The new arrivals will link-up with current players Andrew Boyce, Jack Cosgrove, Elliott Davies, George de Cothi, Tiff Eden, Shay Kerry and Josh Watkins, who will all remain at Sixways next season.
Since director of rugby Dean Ryan arrived at Sixways in May 2013, a major focus of his attentions has been placed on developing a sustainable academy programme which will help the club achieve long-term success.
Next season’s 16-man academy squad will train alongside the club’s first-team players under the guidance of Hewitt and his backroom team.
Hewitt said: “Our academy programme has progressed massively in the last year and we will have a strong committed squad next season.
“They will work with some of the best coaches in the country at a club which provides young players with a clear pathway to the first-team.
“This season we’ve seen a whole host of academy players making their first-team debuts, while the Cavaliers side has featured an array of young talent so we’re excited about the future.”
Warriors academy squad 2014/15 Andrew Boyce – Flanker (19) Jack Cosgrove – Loosehead Prop (19) Mike Daniels – Tighthead Prop (21) Elliott Davies – Fly-half (19) George de Cothi – Scrum-half (19) Tiff Eden – Fly-half (19) Jon Hughes – Full-back (18) Perry Humphreys – Wing (20) Shay Kerry – Lock (19) Andrew Kitchener – Flanker (17) Josh McNulty – Tighthead Prop (19) Christian Scotland-Williamson – Lock (21) Jack Singleton – Hooker (17) Sam Smith – Flanker (17) Huw Taylor – Flanker (17) Josh Watkins – Wing (19)