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Rugby is played at Canford as a core team sport in the Christmas Term and a 7s programme operates for senior pupils in the Easter term. The philosophy in coaching all the rugby teams is to encourage the development of fundamental core skills during the games sessions. In addition, there is an emphasis on fostering team spirit through commitment and a positive attitude and these are characteristics that should be present in all Canford rugby teams, from the 1st XV to the U14d team.

At least 12 teams regularly compete against schools drawn from a very competitive fixture list. There are seven full size pitches for matches and practice, use is also made of the sports hall and weights room for both specific individual and team sessions. Guest coaches are often invited to work with the rugby teams and in recent seasons Canford rugby squads and coaches have worked with Former RFU Elite Coaching Director Kevin Bowring, London Irish skills and defensive coach Brad Davis, Scarlets Head Coach Glenn Delaney. Northampton Saints and England Backs Coach Sam Vesty and former RFU coaching wizard Russell Earnshaw.

Canfordians have benefitted from experienced Premiership and International players with coaching clinics run by Exeter Chiefs players Haydn Thomas, Brett Sturgess & James Scaysbrook. England Front row forwards David Flatman and Lee Mears. Backs have enjoyed sessions with England’s mercurial Olly Barkley.       

Numerous pupils have represented the County, Area, South West division and England at U16 and U18 level and have gone on to play professional rugby after they have left Canford. In recent years players have signed Academy contracts with Bath, London Irish, Newcastle and Exeter Chiefs or have secured scholarships to some of the leading rugby playing universities including representing Cambridge in the varsity match. One of our most illustrious Old Canfordian rugby players is Ben Gollings, who currently holds the world record for points scored in the IRB sevens series. Ben is one of the greatest 7's exponents in the world and often returns to Canford to share his knowledge of both codes of the game with current pupils.

Heading the coaching team is Director of Rugby Peter Short. Previously a player with Exeter Chiefs, he spent six years at Bath where he was part of the winning European Challenge cup squad. Prior to joining Bath, he spent two years on the continent with Racing Club Narbonne Mediteranee in the French top flight. In his formative years he spent four years with Leicester Tigers and was part of the squad winning multiple English Premierships and back to back Heineken Cups.

Director of Sport, Tony Diprose (Former Saracens, Harlequins, England and British Lions) also works with Peter co-ordinating the coaching of all the teams throughout the School. Tony and Peter are both PE, Sport Science graduates from Loughborough University have completed the RFU Level 4 coaching award which is the gold standard for any coaches wishing to work with junior international teams or in professional rugby. Peter gained further accreditation following his Level 4 to gain a postgraduate diploma in Coaching Science from Hartpury University. Tony joins Canford fresh off the back of directing Harlequins Academy alongside his roles coaching Harlequins men’s and women’s 1st squads.

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