Wasps have formally opened a junior academy centre at Henley Hawks’ Dry Leas home.
The new facility provides the Premiership club’s Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire-based 15-to-18-year-olds with a locally accessible training base.
“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,” said head of academy Kevin Harman.
“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 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.”