A HARTPURY University student is helping young rugby players in the Forest discover their potential by offering free-to-attend training camps.

Third-year BA (Hons) Sports Business Management student George Paul hosted a three-day camp for 14-16 year-olds during half term at Drybrook RFC.

Youngsters were given the chance to develop their rugby skills as well as being offered advice and help with strength and conditioning, nutrition and mental health. 

The camp is part of a joint non-profit Initiative founded by George and business partner Will Jone, called AdviceAcademy. 

The partners believe that a rugby player’s journey into elite sport shouldn’t be affected by their academic and socio-economic background, and aim to break down barriers and ultimately widen inclusivity in the sport.

The 37 state-educated attendees at last week’s camp were provided with nine meals, six on-field strength and conditioning sessions, five rugby sessions, two gym sessions and were visited by professional players.

Hartpury staff and students worked at the camp along with industry professionals, while Canterbury NZ provided a full kit investment for players and coaches.

George was a former finalist in Hartpury's Dragons Den-style Enterprise Finals, during which he won a share of the £6,000 award fund and mentoring from Ian Renouf-Watkins of Renouf Wealth Management.

George said: “We set up AdviceAcademy in 2020 after noticing just how much talent was going unnoticed among rugby players who weren’t involved with academy structures or fee-paying schools.

"We decided to set up as a community interest company, allowing us to start the important work of ensuring equal opportunities for all players.

“Our camp mimics an elite environment for these state-educated rugby players who wouldn’t normally get the opportunity.”

Thomas Legge, Associate Head of Sport at Hartpury University, said: “We’re incredibly proud of George and the work he’s put in to establishing AdviceAcademy.

"This is an outstanding example of an individual that’s applying their entrepreneurial spirit in a philanthropical way to make a difference in a sport that he cares so passionately about.

"George is a superb student and his success in last year’s Enterprise Finals came as no surprise to those of us that know him best.

"The first AdviceAcademy camp was an incredible success.

“We aim to encourage all our sports business management students to pursue their entrepreneurial and community-led ambitions, aiming to support them through things like the Sports Business Hub that links students with industry partners for key real-world projects.

"We also work closely with business to formulate degrees at undergraduate and postgraduate level that remain fit for purpose and aligned with the current needs of business.”