PDG Programme

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Player Development Group - Background

Exeter Chiefs Rugby Academy is part of the RFU part funded National Academy regional organisation. The Exeter Chiefs Rugby Academy boundaries include Devon and Cornwall. 

Identification and development programmes have been delivered in the two counties for many years through the DPP (Developing Player Programme). This has been part funded by the RFU. Prior to that, the RFU Schools of Rugby delivered a similar county style programme and was funded independently. 

2 years ago saw the RFU change the delivery model and the Academy take responsibility for a county style programme, where over 600 players were provided with a development programme based over 7 sites in the region, by over 36 volunteer coaches. 

The actual cost was significantly greater than the monies allocated by the RFU and the shortfall was absorbed by the Exeter Chiefs and the Academy. 

Whilst the fantastic and valuable work carried out in this programme, the need for Exeter Chiefs to produce homegrown players has increased more so than ever due to further funding changes by the RFU.

The new licence agreement by the PGB (Professional Game Board) yet again sees a change in funding streams allocated. The immediate changes include:

  • DPP Funding from CGB (Community Game Board) will be repurposed. 
  • PDG to replace DPP (funded through PGB).
  • Pathway to comprise Player Development Groups from U15-U18 in two phases; 
    • U15 and U16 - Foundation 
    • U17 and U18 - Development
  • Regional Academy activity to begin at U15 (Phase 1 - Foundation).
  • Regional U15/U16 hubs (replacing DPP) situated around PDG satellites.
  • Integrated with elite coach development strategy (coaching pathway).

PDG Devon - Nomination / Selection Process

Exeter Chiefs Rugby Academy will now run a significantly different U15 Foundation programme. There will be significantly reduced numbers but outcomes of player production will increase.

Clubs will be contacted via email by the PDG Manager in September to nominate players to enter the initial trial process. U15 club coaches can also register their contact information HERE

It is reminded that players can enter the pathway at any time and at no stage is the door closed. Staff will increase the viewing programmes in clubs and schools. 

Devon will have one base where players will be invited in and go through a 3-month identification process. During this time, players will work with Exeter Chiefs staff and coaches. 

Once the player has completed the U15 PDG Foundation year, re-selection will take place for those going into the U16 programme. 

PDG Foundation Coach

If you are a coach and interested in getting involved, you can apply for a PDG Foundation Coach role. Click here for further information and a full job description

Devon PDG Training Venue

Exwick Sports Pavilion (Exwick Hub)

Ennerdale Way



Exwick Hub - 3G Footwear Policy

Please click here for information

Devon PDG Foundation Manager

Lee Western

Cornwall Based PDG Centres

For Cornwall PDG enquiries, please contact Matthew Birbeck

Cornwall PDG Training Venue - Callywith

Callywith College

Old Callywith Road


Cornwall, PL31 2GT

Cornwall PDG Training Venue - Penryn

Penryn College

Kernick Road


Cornwall, TR10 8PZ

Cornwall PDG Foundation Manager

Matthew Birbeck

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