Saracens Academy Heads Premiership Talent Supply

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12 July 2017

In-depth research by writer Alex Shaw (@alexshawsport) has tracked which club academy systems – if at all – developed the current playing squads of Premiership clubs.

Shaw’s study looks at the provenance of the 500 players, which academy system spawned them or – failing a formal academy set up – which club provided the player development at academy age.

Saracens lead the way with 30 of their alumni currently playing in the Premiership, with Sale, Leicester and Harlequins following them up with 24 graduates apiece.

Yorkshire Carnegie’s 20 graduates is particularly noteworthy, given that they aren’t even in the Premiership, whilst Wasps trail amongst current Premiership sides, with just 13 members of their academy on senior deals in the competition. In fact, the Sharks – of Durban, not Sale – are just one player behind Wasps as things stand.

The Sharks lead all foreign academies in the Premiership, with Western Province (10), Canterbury (9) and Wellington (8) not far behind them.

Shaw then sets out to remove players born before 1990 to compare more recent trends.

The significant change between the two sets of data is that, in the group of all players, the 14 Premiership Rugby Limited (PRL) academies – the current 12 Premiership sides plus Bristol and Yorkshire Carnegie – account for 269 of the 500 Premiership players: 53.8% of senior players. Looking at just the players born since 1990, 193 of the 284 have come through those PRL academies, which is a much

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