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Students take first step on the professional rugby ladder

18 March 2022  |  Jill Lundberg  |  Posted in:

Two Richmond School students who are key members of Darlington RFC’S Under 16 team at Blackwell Meadows have taken their first step on the professional rugby ladder, after being scouted for the prestigious Newcastle Falcons Academy.  Osea Navuso and Alex Nimmo, Year 11 students at Richmond School and Sixth Form College, are both exceptional sportsmen and have worked incredibly hard to reach this high level in the game.

Being part of the Falcons Academy is a huge honour and a superb opportunity for Osea and Alex to develop their game and skills, as well being a springboard for them to follow in the footsteps of some of the most well-known names in the rugby world.  The Falcons have an enviable track record in bringing local players through the Academy system and into the Newcastle Falcons first team squad and beyond. Over 30 players have gone on to earn International honours, including British and Irish Lions players Jonny Wilkinson, Rory Best and Geoff Parling.

Osea, who plays as a centre and is renowned for being very quick and strong with a superb offloading game, has played at Darlington for four years, having converted from rugby league. A backrow forward, Alex is in his second season with the club and is very athletic, an excellent all-round sportsman who excels at most facets of the game with an incredibly strong tackle but equally quick with ball in hand.

Grant Hopkins, Under 16s coach at Darlington RFC said: ”Osea and Alex were initially chosen for Durham DPP (Developing Player Pathway) which select approximately 10% of the best players in the area. Due to their outstanding performances they were selected for the Falcons who only take the top players in the North East and Cumbria. The boys are great to work with and I am so pleased their hard work is paying off. Congratulations to the school for producing two great lads whose attitude and effort to succeed in their chosen sport is admirable.

“We are very proud that, as a club, together with Will Hopkins and Johnny Burgess, we have four players represented in the Academy. I really appreciate the dedication that these boys put into their rugby and it is incredibly satisfying to watch them train and know where they have come from.”

Alex and Osea said:”We are thrilled to have this great opportunity and to receive training from professional rugby union coaches. We are really looking forward to our first games playing against other leading academies in the country.”

In addition to their training and match commitments at Darlington, Osea and Alex train twice each week at the Falcons Academy at Kingston Park. They train like professionals and as well as being mentored by some of the best coaches in the country, they are surrounded by many of the top players of their age range in the region.

Jack Moore, PE Teacher, said: “This is fantastic news for Osea and Alex who wholly deserve this opportunity. It comes as no surprise to me that their potential has been noticed, they are both really promising sportsmen who are fabulous team players with the right ethic and commitment required to succeed in the professional rugby field.

“We are very proud of all the students at Richmond School who are dedicated to the game. As well as students across the year groups playing for Darlington RFC, we also have many students who play for our local clubs such as Wensleydale and Richmondshire. It is fantastic and exciting to see that rugby is very much alive in our area.”

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