Wasps announce new Academy structure

Date: 18 Dec 2019


Wasps can today reveal a new structure for the Academy.

With the recent news that Academy Manager Jon Pendlebury will be leaving to join the RFU as England Men’s Under 18s Head Coach, the Club have appointed Kevin Harman as Head of Academy.

Harman has worked with Wasps for the past 12 years and has been with the Club ever since the move to Coventry in 2014.

He has provided the link between the Academy and the first-team squad which in the last year has seen eight players progress from the Senior Academy to the first-team along with 11 Under 18 players joining the Senior Academy.

Harman’s new role will see him have full responsibility for the Wasps Academy, while he will still play a role in recruitment.

Harman said: “I’ve been working with the Club since May 2008 so Wasps is my Club. I have an emotional attachment here and I’m passionate and excited about the challenge ahead.

“We’ve had excellent investment in the Academy over the past three seasons and it is now producing quality homegrown players as demonstrated by the eight players graduating into the first-team set-up and 11 players from the Under 18s into the Senior Academy last summer.

“I know we have a strong talented group of staff who will continue to help our young developing players flourish, with the end goal to become Wasps first-team players.”

Wasps Director of Rugby Dai Young said: “Kev has done a fantastic job during his time at Wasps and there’s no better person to lead the Academy.

“He has Wasps in his blood and he is very passionate about bringing young players through the system.”

Harman will be ably supported by Assistant Academy Coach Matt Williams, who has been a fundamental part of the Academy for the past six seasons.

Changes to the structure will see Williams taking on managerial responsibilities on the day-to-day operations of the Academy, with ex-Yorkshire Carnegie back-row Richard Beck as Senior Academy Coach and former Wasps and Italy star Andrea Masi as Under 18s Lead Coach.

Masi oversaw his first game in charge of the Under 18s last weekend as the youngsters ran in eight tries to secure an emphatic 54-12 win over Yorkshire Academy at Warwick School in the Premiership Rugby Under 18 Academy League-opener.

The Club are also in the process of recruiting for a new position of Development Player Pathway Manager/Academy Coach Development Officer, who will be working throughout the Academy region to give the Club visibility while also delivering coaching.

The Academy’s strength and conditioning will continue to be headed up by Michael Main with the support of coaches Lewis Grinsell and Connor O’Shaughnessy, while Head Academy Physiotherapist Tracey Russell is joined by Aled Rees in the physiotherapy department.

The Academy is also supported by Analyst Cassian Graham and Operations Co-ordinator Lydia Robbins.

AASE Manager Gareth Harris, who was appointed in October 2018, looks after the Wasps AASE programme at City of Oxford College, the new partnership which began earlier this year. The AASE programme is crucial in bringing players through the system and is already showing positive signs with eight players from the programme being named in the squad in last Saturday’s first Wasps U18s game of the season.

Young added: “With the new structure in place we feel we have everything we need to continue that conveyor belt of talent coming up through the age-groups and hopefully over the coming years we’ll see more and more Academy players go on to represent the first-team and become top-end Premiership players.”

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