Gloucester Rugby are pleased to confirm that Richard Whiffin has been appointed as the club’s new Head of Academy.
Whiffin, who joined Gloucester Rugby as Academy Backs Coach in the summer of 2016 from London Irish succeeds Neil McCarthy who left at the end of last season, and will seek to follow on from the success, knowledge and structures that McCarthy put in place.
Prior to joining Gloucester, he spent more than ten years with London Irish, starting in an Analysis role before becoming an Assistant Coach to the First Team. He also worked with the England Saxons and Argentina.
Last season saw him involved as part of the management team for the Singha Premiership Rugby Sevens squad and also the Gloucester United side in their 2016-17 A League season which saw the team reach the final.
But, perhaps the ultimate endorsement of the work of the Academy last season was the ‘graduation’ of three of its members – Freddie Clarke, Lloyd Evans and Ben Vellacott – into the first team squad while numerous others featured in the first team in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.
The Gloucester Rugby Academy and the production of top-class local talent is a huge focus for the club and Whiffin will be working closely with Director of Rugby David Humphreys and new Head Coach Johan Ackermann.
Speaking to the Gloucester Rugby website, he said that he’s incredibly excited about his new role and seeking to build on some solid foundations.
“I’m absolutely delighted. We had a very successful year at the back end of last season, and I’m just pleased that I’ve been given the opportunity to take that forward and try and grow what is already a very good programme and achieve more success.
The club took training out to Sir Thomas Rich’s school last week and Whiffin knows that links to local clubs and educational establishments are a key part in helping the Academy to achieve success.
There is huge excitement ahead of the forthcoming campaign. Returning to training this week were six players who featured in the recent Junior World Championship in Georgia – Alex Craig, Ciaran Knight, Joe Mullis, Harry Randall, Alex Seville and Henry Walker – so the future looks bright.
“It shows the pathway works. You only have to go back to that A League Final and 10 out of the 23 guys had come all the way through our DPP programme from 14 all the way through from local areas, we had 21 out of 23 who were under 21 years old.
“The pathway’s working, we’ve got talented lads in the programme and it’s now just about us pushing and developing and giving them opportunities to succeed, and ultimately push their way through into the senior team.
“That’s mine and the rest of the management’s role in the Academy. We want guys to have come through that pathway and go on to represent Gloucester. Several players did that last season and we now hope that they really push on and establish themselves.”