The Brumbies have taken a big step forward in attracting the best schoolboy talent in the country to the ACT, announcing the launch of a new academy.
The academy will have a core of 12 players in its first year, with each player taking part in three training sessions per week under the watchful eye of coach Daniel Hooper.
Hooper will be flanked by Ben Norcott, who will take charge of strength and conditioning, with Tom Anderson also joining the academy as an analyst.
In setting up the academy, Brumbies coach Dan McKellar said the club will be in a better position to turn schoolboy and club stars into Super Rugby calibre players."The academy will improve the transition from our pathways to our Super Rugby team," McKellar said.
"It will provide a clearer pathway to the Brumbies squad for local players and will assist us with our succession planning.
"It is hoped that the academy will enhance the number of local players that may make the Brumbies Rugby Super Rugby squad in the future."
The initial 12 academy recruits feature familiar names for those that follow the NRC and schools rugby, with Vikings centre Len Ikitau and prop Harry Lloyd featuring alongside ACT schoolboy stars Seamus Smith and Will Goddard.
They have also poached some interstate talent, namely Australian Schoolboys vice captain Noah Lolesio, who was a star for The Southport School in QLD GPS footy this year.
He has been lured south on the George Gregan scholarship - which is part of a deal with the University of Canberra - and will train with the academy in hope of earning a spot in the Brumbies 23 at some point in 2018.
Brumbies CEO Michael Thomson said the academy will also provide opportunities for coaches that may not otherwise get exposure to a professional setup.
"This concept provides the organisation with an opportunity to identify, observe and develop local players and coaches and target future opportunities within the elite squad,” Thomson said.
“The launch of this academy will help us to speed up the development of players in certain positions and will expose those players to the professional rugby environment so that any transition to the elite level is that much easier to handle."
The squad will commence training on Monday.
Brumbies academy squad
Angus Allen, Backrow, Wests
Will Goddard, Flyhalf, ACT Schools
Byron Hollingworth-Dessent, Wing, NSW CAS
Len Ikitau, Centre, Tuggeranong
Harry Lloyd, Prop, Wests
Noah Lolesio, Centre, Australia Schools
Langi Lolotonga, Backrow, Easts
Lachlan Lonergan, Hooker, Tuggeranong
Liam Rasch, Lock/Backrow, Wests
Tom Ross, Prop, Gungahlin
Seamus Smith, Scrumhalf, ACT Schools