Rugby was first introduced at Oakham in 1893 and since then we have become renowned for our excellent standards and the strength and success of our teams. Our dedicated and enthusiastic coaches strive to maintain this proud tradition by inspiring in our players a desire to succeed, a selfless approach to hard work, and complete trust in those who work alongside them within an enjoyable and positive environment.
Over 400 boys of all ages regularly enjoy playing rugby across 22 teams in the Winter Term on a traditional and well-balanced fixture list. We play against some of the top rugby-playing schools in the country, including Oundle, Rugby, Stowe and Trent. Rugby sevens is played in the Spring Term and boys have the opportunity to play in a number of regional and national competitions.
We pride ourselves on the coaching and support we offer our pupils; we place great emphasis on developing the core skills of the game while encouraging every boy and every team to play to their highest standards. Those who are most able are selected for more intensive coaching, including video analysis and athlete performance monitoring on a weekly basis, and Strength and Conditioning sessions.
Many of our athletes are chosen for representative programmes at County, Regional and Premiership Rugby Academies and go on to win professional contracts. Recent Old Oakhamians now playing Premiership Rugby include Sam Wolstenholme (Wasps, Gallagher Premiership), Cameron Jordan (Gloucester, Gallagher Premiership), Jack Van Poortvielt (Leicester Tigers, Gallagher Premiership), Sam Costelow (Scarlets in Pro14), Harry Glynn (La Rochelle, Pro14) and Hamish Watson (Edinburgh in Pro 4).
Several boys have progressed to playing international School boy rugby in recent years, such as Sam Costelow (Wales) and Jack VP (England).
Just as importantly many boys continue to play rugby at university. Josh Lewis (2019) was named as Loughborough University Player of the Year in 2020, whilst 2016/17 Captain Fred Davies will captain Durham University in the 2021/22 season.
A number of Old Oakhamians have represented their country at full international level, as well as the British and Irish Lions.
We have excellent links with Leicester Tigers, who have used the Oakham facilities as part of their training. Our rugby squads have also benefited over the last few years from coaching sessions run by several current and ex-Tigers including: George Chuter, Craig Newby, Austin Healey, Brett Deacon, Tosh Askew, Graham Rowntree, and Geordan Murphy.
Oakham’s current and former list of 1st XV Tigers Academy players is impressive and they have helped Leicester Tigers U18 Academy win the Premiership title in the last 3 consecutive years (2018, 2019, and 2020).
A highlight for many at the School is the major overseas sports tour that Oakham runs every three years.
National School Sevens
180 schools enter the Rosslyn Park National Sevens tournament each year and Oakham have reached the semi-finals in 2017, 2018 and 2019. (2020 competition was unfortunately cancelled).
I joined Oakham in September 2016 as Director of Rugby from RGS Lancaster, where I held the position of Director of Sport. I previously ran the rugby at King's Macclesfield after a successful period in charge of rugby and cricket at King Edward's in Bath. My experience also includes a year's exchange at St Patrick's, Silverstream in Wellington in 1999/2000 where former Leicester Number 8 Thomas Waldrom was a 1st XV player.