The conveyor belt of rugby talent in the Durham, Cumbria and Northumberland region was in full evidence as Kingston Park held the Under-15s Developing Player Programme (DPP) festival.
The event drew 210 of the best players in our region and is the culmination of three years’ worth of training in the DPP, with Falcons academy coaches using it as a selection tool.
Each county has three DPP centres, with players being nominated at the beginning of each season to be included on the programme.
The festival is guided by GASP principles (game sense, attitude, skill set and physical potential), with players mixed up and put into nine teams of 15, each team playing three 25-minute games.
Mixed teams were randomly selected from all DPP centres to prevent sides from overly preparing for the games, with coaches encouraging problem-solving, adaptability and communication among players who are unknown to them.
Coaches are also asked to coach players they will never have worked with, to help keep them on their toes.
The overall feedback from the Falcons academy coaches was that there is a wealth of talent within the region which is coming through the DPP, with speed and ball-movement being two of the stand-out attributes.