Academy Re-launch

Tunbridge Wells RFC are delighted to announce the re-launch of our academy section.

The academy, which was badly impacted by Covid, started rebuilding last season and is now being formally re-launched for the 23/24 season to include boys and girls from U16-U18. We are really excited about this and already anticipate exceeding 100 boys and girls playing as part of the academy section.

To enable this, we are delighted to announce Simon Whatling, former premiership player, and past-Tunbridge Wells senior coach will lead the academy coaching team. Simon will be supported in his role by a team of coaches, including England International Tammy Samuel, who will oversee the Girls Academy Rugby.

The TWRFC academy mission is to work with all players (both boys and girls), regardless of their ability, to develop them to their highest potential. The academy aims to develop players both on and off the pitch: building rugby skills, fostering well-being, and nurturing life skills. Our goal is to create competitive teams whilst ensuring players enjoy their rugby journey.

Mike Rigby, Club Chairman said “We are delighted to welcome Simon back to St Mark’s as Head Coach of our Academy. He is pivotal to what is a significant upgrade to our Academy, and will lead our joint boys and girls Academy to ensure it is best in class. His significant experience: playing in top flight rugby; coaching senior rugby; running the Blackheath academy; and as a school rugby teacher, will mean he is able to lead us to our ambition of making our boys and girls transition to university/senior rugby safely and that they all play to the best of their ability. Through his oversight of the Academy, Simon will ensure players develop good life skills to give them resilience and independence. Welcome home Simon!

I am also delighted to see Tammy lead our girls Academy. Tammy has followed her rugby path all the way to International representation and she will be able to lead the girls to follow in her footsteps.

We now have a fantastic team of coaches to lead TWRFC Academy to new heights.”

For more information please Academy Manager, Martin Croker: 07770 936977,

Simon Whatling

Academy Head Coach

Simon (a former first team coach at Tunbridge Wells), joined the club after an impressive senior playing career, playing fly-half and inside-centre at both championship and premiership level. A graduate of Bath rugby academy, Simon represented England at U16 to U21 level. During his career he played rugby at London Welsh, Cornish Pirates, and Worcester Warriors, concluding his playing career at  Blackheath.

Since coaching the club’s senior team, Simon has remained part of the TW family with both his children playing in the minis section. Simon is committed to our philosophy of developing the entire player, and will be combining his coaching role with his position as assistant director of rugby at the illustrious Epsom College.

Tammy Samuel

Director of Ladies Rugby

Academy girl’s section – Head Coach

Tammy is a women’s rugby pioneer having played when the game was first established for teams such as Cambridge University, Waterloo, Saracens and Blackheath mainly in the second row and at number 8. She gained 6 caps for England, played for England Students.

She has been coaching for over 25 years and is a level 2 coach and referee. She has coached every age group at TWRFC from U6-U18; both girls and boy and was instrumental in setting up and developing our girls and women’s section which now boasts 100+ players.

Tammy’s daughters all play rugby. She is passionate about bringing on girls rugby and developing them as players and is excited to join the academy alongside her role as TWRFC U18 girls head coach and coaching Kent girls at both U16 and U18 levels.

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