On Wednesday 8 April the first Jim Hamilton Rugby Academy was hosted in association with Cokethorpe School. Over 80 young players from Cokethorpe and across Oxfordshire were put through their paces by Jim Hamilton, Scotland International and Saracens rugby union player, supported by Greig Laidlaw, Scotland International Captain and Gloucester player, and Saracens Rugby Academy coaches.
The players were split into groups based on age that ranged from 10-18 years old. The groups rotated around a carefully planned set of skill based activities that covered all of the essential elements of the game. Top level coaching was provided at each station including off-loading at contact, defending and attacking a high ball, pass selection, evasive running and decision making.
In addition to having fun and improving their game the children also had the opportunity to ask Jim about playing at the highest level, an aspiration many have for themselves.
The day was the first of what Jim hopes will become a series of Academy Days that will run across the country. As he approaches the end of his professional playing career Jim is keen to turn his attention to coaching and is particularly passionate about passing on his expertise at a grass roots level.
Jim has a very positive view on the quality of rugby in Oxfordshire: ‘The Oxford area has a huge number of kids playing rugby regularly and I have been very impressed with the level of skill and commitment they have shown today. We have definitely seen some future stars in the making.’