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Wasps ACE development player partnership

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Key information

Qualification type


Course code



2 years


Oxford City Centre,
Oxpens Rd,
Oxford, OX1 1SA

For students aged 16–18. Develop your abilities as a rugby player with intensive training and high-level competition while continuing your academic studies.

Whether your goal is to become a professional rugby player, move into a coaching or backroom role, or if you believe playing and learning the game in a professional environment can benefit your studies or career in other ways, a place on the Wasps Rugby ACE Programme is for you.

We provide talented young male and female rugby players (aged 16–18) with the opportunity to pursue their chosen academic pathway alongside your rugby ambitions.

You will have the closest experience to professional rugby that any U18 level will receive, competing in the RFU ACE League. You will benefit from specialised coaching with a training base at Harcourt Hill and games to be played at Oxford Harlequins. You will also have access to the outstanding new gym, strength and conditioning and sports therapy facility at the City of Oxford College city-centre campus.

Maximise your potential and your chance to pursue a rugby career in the Wasps 1st XV, Wasps Senior Academy, BUCS Super Rugby, Wasps Senior Women or National Rugby Leagues!



Register your interest in attending an assessment day here

What I'll learn

ACE players can choose to study a BTEC National Diploma in Sport, Sports and Exercise Science, Business or other vocational area, or a choice of A Levels at City of Oxford College. 

Diploma in Sporting Excellence (DiSE)

Alongside your chosen academic path, a selected number of student athletes will study towards a Diploma in Sporting Excellence (DiSE). This is an RFU endorsed rugby programme for 16–18-year-olds based at the England Regional Academies. The aim is to produce players who:

  • have developed the skills and abilities to gain a professional contract at 18 
  • are aware of their rights and responsibilities as professional players (lifestyle, image, behaviour etc.)
  • know how to manage their finances
  • have a contingency plan for an alternative career in the event of injury or failure to achieve a playing contract

Your rugby and academic schedule

You will have a practical rugby schedule in addition to your academic lessons, and will be supported on modules designed by sports professionals. Each module will develop a specific facet of your game, including your ability to read and interpret the game around you, as well as the correct mental and physical preparation and recovery.

As part of the ACE squad, your typical week will include:

  • Timetabled academic lessons
  • Seven hours of contact time plus one ACE matchday
  • Strength and conditioning and prehab sessions
  • Units/Team Rugby and analysis sessions
  • Additional (optional) sessions over the weekend

You will get the opportunity to compete in the highly competitive RFU ACE League, a widely-renowned competition at the highest level of college sport. Although we understand your passion and focus may be on the player development programme, you will are expected to place your academic studies as your first priority.


How I'll learn

The environment on this course is designed to mirror a professional environment, and you should expect to treat it as such. You will have regular access to professional services to help improve your abilities as a player, as well as group and one-to-one coaching support.

Our ACE Group is comprised of the top 30 players within the college's Elite Sports sector, while the next best 30 players form the ACE Development Group. Our ACE squad competes at a very high level and applicants are expected to be capable of playing to at least county standard.

You will learn alongside our experienced staffing team, including:

  • Head Coach and Manager
  • Elite Rugby Coordinator and Pastoral Lead
  • Full-time Assistant Coach
  • Wasps Academy Strength and Conditioning Lead and Assistant Coach
  • Wasps Academy Physiotherapist and Assistant Physio
  • Wasps Academy Analysis Support

You will also be able to access support services throughout your studies, including an analysis platform, access to medical staff on training days, meetings with coaching staff, and a Pastoral Lead to review academic progress. 

Accommodation in Oxford can be organised for Wasps programme students. 


Entry Requirements

This programme is for students aged 16–18 only. 

Your application will be judged on your abilities as a rugby player, as well as your academic merits.

As a rugby player, we will be assessing your experience, your rugby CV and performances in trials. Academically, you should expect to need good grades overall, with specific requirements dependent on the subject you wish to study. 


How to Apply

Register for an assessment day

Click the button below to register your interest in attending one of our upcoming assessment days.

Please note: Wasps students must be aged between 16–18 at the time of studying.

Enquire now


Contact the team

If you would like to contact us to find out more about the programme, you can email the team: