Wasps launch Southern academy base at Henley Hawks RFC

Date: 20 Jul 2018

Wasps have opened a junior academy centre at Henley Hawks’ Dry Leas home.

The new facility provides the Gallagher Premiership club’s Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire-based 15-to-18-year-olds with a locally accessible training base.

In addition to preventing repeated return journeys to Wasps’ Coventry training ground, head of academy Kevin Harman believes the next crop of black-and-gold teenagers will really benefit from the range and quality of facilities on offer at Henley.

“We’ve been looking for a new base in this area for 15 months or so, and Henley was the obvious place for us to come as we previously had a good partnership with them for many years,” he said.

“It makes sense for us to have something in the southern part of our academy area. We have a huge geographic spread across Coventry, North Warwickshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, and without it parents are travelling to Broadstreet once or twice every week.

“We have used Aylesbury in the past, who were very good to us, but having a superb gym here thanks to Matrix will make a real difference.

Alistair Beynon (Henley Hawks), Lucy Bowyer (Matrix Fitness), Jon Pendlebury and Kevin Harman (Wasps) in the newly-refurbished gym at Dry Leas.

“The Henley site enables us to deliver a minimum of one professionally-coached rugby, conditioning session per week with good medical staffing.

“Henley have an excellent floodlit pitch, astroturf area, gym, meeting facilities, medical and rehab space and changing rooms which are now available to our age group squads.

“There is also plenty of untapped talent in Oxfordshire, and we’re delighted to have put together a deal which is about more than just the academy since our community teams will run courses at Henley and we’ll also work together in other areas.

“We will hold an U18 game at Henley in December and also plan to bring a Premiership Shield (formerly A League) game to Dry Leas during the course of the season.”

According to Henley marketing manager Alistair Beynon, this arrangement will assist the development of rugby union in Oxfordshire on a wider basis, while also bringing specific benefits to the Hawks.

“We had a long-standing partnership with Wasps in the past, and it is fantastic for us to be linked again with one of the best clubs in the country,” he said.

“We hope this will be an arrangement which goes far beyond the initial three years and together we become entrenched in the local community.

“The upcoming coach class sessions are a good start with this as are the planned Premiership Shield and U18 games. We also have a couple of Wasps players coming to club events, so this is already about much more than the midweek academy training sessions.

“We’re currently a National Two side, and hope that this partnership with Wasps helps us become an even more viable proposition for players and local businesses in the future.”