The England Rugby Developing Player Programme (ERDPP) is an RFU programme that was launched in 2013 to provide a structure package of quality coaching for new and existing players between the ages of 13 and 16.

For many young players the ERDPP is the first step on the talent development pathway and will identify those players with talent and potential to access the correct support mechanisms for the level appropriate to them as well as find the right direction to follow, whether that is into professional rugby, representative rugby or long term participation.

In Yorkshire, Yorkshire Carnegie and Yorkshire County RFU are working in partnership to deliver a robust player and coach development programme that encompasses on and off field development to drive the game of Rugby Union to new heights across the county.

Delivery of skills and game understanding will take place mostly in the form of games, situational work and competitive scenarios, to develop decision making, learning how to think clearly and perform under pressure as well as where possible, players work out answers/strategies to on-field problems.

The programme from September 2015 will simplify and streamline the player pathway by consolidating CB and RA activities within the Yorkshire region. The main delivery mechanism to drive the joined up aims of county and club will be through the England Rugby Developing Player Programme (ERDPP). The collaboration between Yorkshire County RFU and Yorkshire Carnegie is unique within the game and will retain the county identity whilst being supported and facilitated by the professional club.

In Yorkshire, the regionalise ERDPP programme provides development opportunities for players aged between 13 and 17 across the Yorkshire Region, delivered through six regional centres. In addition the ERDPP programme provides a mechanism for coach development both directly within the programme (through coaching opportunities on programme) as well as outside the programme through coach education and knowledge sharing pathways.

The ERDPP programme shall provide a holistic and player centred experience for all players in the programme and will assist with retaining more players within the game at 16+. Through a centrally developed technical and tactical curriculum a consistent delivery platform across all six delivery hubs will increase the number of players with enhanced skills and game understanding moving upwards in the talent pathway.

Key outcomes of the programme will be to provide a positive view of the sport to players, parents and other stakeholders; develop coaches both within the talent pathway and community game with enhanced skills and knowledge to meet the needs of players at this stage in their development; strengthen clubs and schools by improving the standard of the players within them.

Each site is staffed with highly qualified and experienced coaching teams from a range of coaching backgrounds to enable the best possible support for the developing players.

ERDPP players are encouraged to transfer the practiced skill from ERDPP training into their training and games at club and school rugby but as well as this application each ERDPP group get the opportunity to put their learnt skills and understanding into practice in an ERDPP festival at the end of the season, in 12-a-side games against ERDPP players from other regions.

Over the course of the programme information about each player will be collated based upon the players’ learning and performance on the programme through the progressive delivery syllabus. These records will be monitored by Yorkshire Carnegie Staff and used to support the identification of players for Yorkshire Carnegie training groups such as the U15 JDS (Junior Development Squad) preparation group; the U16 JDS group and the U18 junior academy.

Yorkshire County Age grade squads will select players from the ERDPP centres to populate their county representative sides. It is envisaged that the selected county coaches and selectors will work with the ERDPP staff to assist in identifying players that meet the Yorkshire County age grade playing philosophies.

Our overlying aim for the Yorkshire ERDPP programme is for it to grow and continually evolve within the Yorkshire region to create the best-integrated, and most effective player development systems and rugby academy program in the world. Through delivering world-leading, evidence-based coaching and support programs, providing high-quality experiences that maximize individual potential and that develop players with elite performance ability as both rugby players and people, this will be possible.

Alongside the rugby technical and tactical syllabus delivered through a “learning through games” approach, players and parents will also exposed to a number of athletic development, self-reflection and lifestyle sessions that will become valuable tools and understanding to provide the foundation to support lifelong involvement in the game or further underpin the 360° player support systems in the Yorkshire Carnegie Academy if that is the identified pathway.

The underlying principles and key learning outcomes of the ERDPP delivery will be focused around four core playing philosophies consistent with the Yorkshire Carnegie and England Regional Academy for Yorkshire Philosophy:

  • MOVING THE BALL
  • SCANNING AND AWARENESS
  • CONTINUITY
  • DECISION MAKING

All of the sessions will include learning opportunities that link back into these core elements and will provide game understanding and applied knowledge of a number of technical and tactical principles.

Yorkshire ERDPP are looking to identify and work with circa the top 10% of talented players from club and school rugby sides to populate the regional ERDPP delivery centres. Each centre is looking to operate with 24-30 identified players at each age group who have the potential to perform to a high standard and access the England Rugby Regional Academy at Yorkshire Carnegie and beyond.

The players that we are looking for are those firstly with good attitudes towards learning, players who are willing to try new skills and prepared to make mistakes as part of the learning process. How far a player progresses along the pathway will ultimately be dependent on the resilience of the athlete and the attitude towards constant improvement. From a rugby perspective we are looking for players with the following abilities (or aptitude to learn towards):

The ability to identify space, move the ball (pass, catch, kick) with skill and proficiency, make smart decisions under pressure and have good defensive qualities and desire to defend with controlled intensity. These players should regularly display these technical and tactical attributes, and be identifiable as players of a higher standard that others within their peer group through their actions and decisions. We are looking for the players who have a good understanding of game play, spatial awareness and can read the game as well as good technical understanding.
The ERDPP programme also considers athletic players who may not yet be technically/tactically proficient but demonstrate the potential to improve beyond the standard of other players on the pathway, but their athletic potential must set them apart from other players in their peer group.

Through years working with developing young players between the Yorkshire Carnegie staff and Yorkshire County coaches, experience tells us that young players all develop at different times and in different ways, both physically and mentally.

The pathway, and development programmes that are put in place must therefore represent these different developmental journeys that players will go on, and provide opportunity both on and off the pathway at correct times for players to develop at the most opportune rate and be challenged at the correct level to maximise the windows of opportunity.

It is for these reasons that the pathway will include ongoing assessment, self-analysis and reflection by the players themselves and feedback from coaches to ensure that players understand their learning objectives and how far they are progressing. There will also be set opportunities for players outside of the pathway to be nominated to enter the pathway. Equally important is the opportunity for players who are not progressing as quickly as they need to at certain stages to be able to exit the pathway to work on their personal areas of development and then be assessed to return onto the pathway if appropriate.

All of the clubs and schools in Yorkshire will have the opportunity to nominate players at the designated windows through the year. Assessment sessions will look at a series of progressive skills to compare where players are from previous assessments as well as against their peers.

There are two windows of opportunity each year to gain entry onto the ERDPP programme. In December there is an assessment day based around small sided games with key specific game skill/understanding outcomes for nominated players to be assessed alongside selected ERDPP players who haven’t at that stage demonstrated some of the technical and tactical proficiency within the programme. At the end of the season (April/May) there is a second opportunity in the form of an assessment festival at the time of the ERDPP festival for players to demonstrate their ability in a more “real-game” scenario of playing 12-a-side rugby matches.

In order to attend an assessment event, players must be nominated by their school or club coaches, information relating to the nomination windows is sent from county office to all clubs and schools within the county.

ERDPP training occurs during the “ERDPP week” once a month across the six regions. Currently the regional centres are located at the clubs and schools listed below:

East – [U14 – Mon, U15/U16 – Weds] – York RUFC, Pocklington School, Selby RUFC

Coastal East – [U14 – Tues, U15/U16 – Thurs] – Bishop Burton College

North – [U14 – Tues, U15/U16 – Weds] – Ripon RUFC, Thirsk School, Northallerton RUFC, Acklam RUFC, Thirsk RUFC

South – [U14 – Weds, U15/U16 – Thurs] – Wath-Upon-Dearne RUFC, Barnsley RUFC, Rotherham Phoenix RUFC, Sheffield RUFC, Dinnington RUFC, Wales High School

West – [U14 – Mon, U15/U16 – Fri] – Huddersfield RUFC, Keighley RUFC, Woodhouse Grove School, Huddersfield YMCA, Beckfoot School, Halifax RUFC

Central – [U14 – Mon, U15/U16 – Fri] – West Park Leeds RUFC, Pontefract RUFC, Silcoates School, Ilkley RUFC.

Players will be placed in the ERDPP region in which they reside.

There are a number of coaching roles on the ERDPP from Age Grade Lead Coaches, through to observational coaches as well as support staff members with areas of expertise in strength & conditioning/sport science and team management roles.

Through the off season the recruitment for the ERDPP centres opens and coaches are asked to apply for the regional, age grade specific roles but observational coaching opportunities and development coach opportunities are available all year round.

For a list of Job Descriptions see the links below:

  • ERDPP Centre Lead
  • ERDPP Regional Age Grade Head Coach
  • ERDPP Regional Age Grade assistant Coach
  • ERDPP Development Coach

Yorkshire Carnegie have committed to the delivery of a number of coach development topics across the region and have devised the knowledge sharing initiative designed to generate new thinking and discussions amongst club and school coaches across the county as part of a wider coach development programme.

The project will be rolled out through the England Rugby Developing Player Programme (ERDPP) in collaboration with Yorkshire County RFU will be aimed at coaches at clubs and schools and there are elements within the sessions that are relevant to all age groups however it is aimed more around the U12-U18 age groups.

The topics that have been selected for initial roll out have been identified through conversations with club and school coaches across the county, as well as key outcomes and player traits that we wish to see players developing on the ERDPP and academy pathways.

The “Learning Through Games” session is an interactive workshop focussed around the creation of opportunities to understand the application of technical and tactical theories through game practice. The session includes opportunities to observe the ERDPP delivery to identified talented players from the region, in which games play a prevalent role. The theory of learning through games is to create players who are active leaners, problem solvers and independent players on the field, who can perform and execute clearly under pressure and have developed good Game Understanding. The workshop is designed to promote discussion and offer new thinking strategies around skill and game understanding development.

The “developing speed, strength and power for adolescent rugby players” session is an introduction for coaches into the field of strength and conditioning and is specifically aimed at people who work with young rugby players. The session is delivered by leaders in the field from Leeds Beckett University and further demonstrates the links that Yorkshire Carnegie have with the Carnegie department of the university.

There are lots of questions and misnomers around strength and conditioning, especially in young people and this session aims to provide practical solutions that can be applied in any setting, without equipment that will have a positive impact on player mobility and athletic development. The workshop element of the session gives the opportunity to ask the industry experts from the university questions about the topic and the practical exercises, so that they can deliver elements in their own sessions. Coaches who attend will also leave with a resource that outlines the exercises. This dovetails in with the delivery that the players on the ERDPP programme are receiving for their own athletic development.

The sessions that are available to attend can be used as CPD events that go towards renewing their RFU coaching licence and the dates and venues are outlines below. To book on one of the workshops please go through the RFU GMS system.

In addition, all ERDPP session have an open door policy for coaches to attend and observe the practice that is going on across the county. There will be an ongoing review of the delivery topics and new workshop topics will be added to the list depending on the needs across the county.