Rugby Union is the major sport for the Autumn term.
It is played from Year 3 to Year 13. Training sessions take place in curriculum time during timetabled double games lessons and also in extracurricular training at lunchtime and after school on different days of the week for each year group. Some training and matches continue to take place in the Spring term and pre-season training takes place in the Summer term. The season commences at the end of the Summer holidays when all boys are invited to pre-season rugby training at school in the final week of the holidays before the new academic year starts.
Prep school fixtures are played mid-week and Senior school fixtures are played both mid-week and on most Saturdays up to Christmas with some of the fixtures played in the morning and some in the afternoon. All Saturday fixtures are friendlies and all senior school teams are entered into the Leicestershire County Cup competition which is played mid-week against other schools in Leicestershire. In the prep school, competitive matches start in Year 4 and are played in Year 5 and Year 6. In the senior school every year group from Year 7 to Year 10 have an A team and Year 7 and 8 and Year 9 and 10 combine age groups to make B teams. The U18 1st team and 2nd team is made up of Year 13, Year 12 and Year 11 boys. All teams play on a competitive circuit against other schools in our geographical area.
The teams’ coaches are made up of Ratcliffe teaching staff and a number of employed external rugby coaches. We are also given expert coaching assistance by former Leicester Tigers and England players, Louis Deacon and Neil Back. This dedicated team of coaches strive to inspire our players to improve and succeed, creating a positive and enjoyable environment to train and play in.
Players have the opportunity to trial for the Leicester Tigers Development Player Programme from U14 to U16 and also Leicestershire County Rugby from U16 to U18. A number of our players are chosen for these representative programmes and some Old Ratcliffians have gone on to play professional rugby including Louis Deacon who made 274 appearances for Leicester Tigers and also 29 caps for England.
Ratcliffe rugby teams have the opportunity to tour at both the younger and older age groups with future tours planned to Canada for the seniors in 2020 and the International Rugby Festival held at Disneyland Paris in 2019.