Boys Transition

This page has been written to provide an introduction to TWRFC Academy for any boys transitioning up from the U15s.

The academy comprises both a Girl’s section and Boy’s section both operating within the umbrella of the TWRFC academy. We usually work separately, but sometimes bring boys and girls together for some skills development.

Within the boys section there are two distinct age-groups – the U16s and the Colts (U17 and U18). These age-groups train together (often mixed) but play matches as separate age groups against their own peers.

We play our rugby by the three tenets of…




What are the goals of the academy?

Our mission is to work with all players, regardless of their ability, to develop them to their highest potential. We focus on building rugby skills, fostering well-being, and nurturing life skills using a holisic approach. Our goal is to create competitive teams whilst ensuring players enjoy their rugby journey.

The aims of the Academy are to create the best experience and pathway we can for players transitioning from youth rugby into senior rugby. This is a significant investment by TWRFC, we are delighted to have the support from a truly impressive coaching team led by former premiership player and first-team coach Simon Whatling.

Who are the coaches?

Simon Whatling

Head Coach

Simon played premiership rugby at Worcester, and London Welsh before leading the Blackheath academy. Before his career peaked as head coach for TWRFC academy.

Ben Whale

Forwards Coach

Ben plays back-row for TWRFC 1st XV, and brings both his rugby knowhow and a little kiwi flair to the academy.

Chaz Spence


Chaz played 9 for TWRFC 1st XV before injury impacted his paying career. Chaz now coaches the 1st XV as well as the academy.

Oli Crees

Strength & Conditioning

Oli is a long time club member and still plays regularly for the senior sides; he holds a Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training and Level 2 in Fitness Instructing.

You can find more details on them all here

What changes when you join the academy?

The academy is the bridge between the youth section and the senior section. Your coaches have done a great job of building your rugby skills and knowledge. Simon and the other academy coaches now take the lead on the rugby side of things over from your age-grade coaches.

The academy coaches will run the training sessions and oversee team selection with input and support from your existing coaches. Your coaches will still be with you on match-days, but you will be using the academy patterns of play and skills you have learned in the academy.

You’ll start training with the U17 and U18s (you’ll be U16). The game becomes faster, wider, more intense, more structured… Although you will be training with the Colts you’ll still compete in the U16s kent league and play matches against your U16 peers.

There is a big step up in skills. It’s far more like adult rugby – we play with a lot more structure that you will be used, the playbook is extensive & complicated, and your personal skills will be really stretched.

Preseason is also going to be a bit different and more intense. On Wednesdays you will work on learning the calls, and the playbook. On Mondays you will do Strength & Conditioning (S&C) with Olie the academy S&C coach. With Olie you’ll do both gym-work and also fitness.

What do you expect from me?

The academy is not just a step up on the rugby side of things, we are also expecting you to take a greater responsibility for your own rugby development.

  • Be organized: accept Spond, be on time, be ready for the sessions.
  • Work-rate & fitness: You need to put the work in. In pre-season Ollie will give forwards and backs their S&C programme, you’ll get the most from the academy if you commit to it.
  • Be respectful & attentive
  • Support each other – no negativity

TWRFC Youth Players Code of Conduct

How do I prepare?

We’ve already spoken to your coaches about aligning some of the things you are doing this year with the way the academy works.

What we want you to do is to work on is your core skills and your fitness…

  • Pass/Catch with confidence and precision at distance (5+ Meters) and pace. Catching square, and passing without needing to adjust.
  • Staying square when you run
  • Safe in the tackle… low tackle
  • Awareness and communication
  • Pull-back pass… used to calls of ‘Flat’ and ‘Deep’
  • Fitness!

And if you are a hooker… please work hard on your throw, our lineout uses front, middle & back ball equally.

Did we mention fitness?

Is it selective?


We welcome players from U16’s, U17’s and U18’s, of all abilities, and are resolutely non selective. We believe everyone who wants to play should play in a safe environment that encourages rugby’s core values and to achieve more as a collective unit, in turn enabling individuals to fulfil their true potential with their progression into senior rugby. At Tunbridge Wells RFC Academy, our mission is to work with all players, regardless of their ability, to develop them to their highest potential.

What does it cost?

We cover the cost of the academy through sponsorships, membership fees and through investment by the club.

Once the season starts will will also ask for a contribution to the cost of the 3G hire, this year that was a £50 voluntary contribution.