Dean Close is delighted to announce that three Upper Sixth boys have signed their first professional rugby contracts with Gloucester Rugby Club.  Archie Benson (1st XV captain), Josh Gray and George Barton (vice-captain) are all looking forward to life as full time sportsmen later this year, having just completed their A levels. All three boys also represented England’s U18s in the Six Nations tournament over the Easter break.

This news continues the trend over the last five years of Dean Close leavers going into professional rugby such as Tom Seabrook, Lloyd Evans and Ed Bogue who all signed for Gloucester Rugby Club, as well as Tiff Eden who initially started at Worcester Warriors before moving to Bristol Bears.

The Dean Close sports programme provides a clear pathway for development and excellence through a structured framework supporting and enhancing the individuals within an educational environment.  Echoing the School’s ethos, sports pupils benefit from individual support and coaching which is enhanced by the relationship with Gloucester Rugby Academy with whom Dean Close are formal educational partners, and have been for the last five years. George, Archie and Josh all featured heavily (alongside Lower Sixth Decanians, Freddie Thomas and Matty Jones) in the Premiership U18 Academy League campaign and all five started in the final against Leicester Tigers at Allianz Park.

The boys have been an integral part of a hugely successful undefeated regular 1st XV season in which Dean Close was ranked 14th nationally in The Daily Mail Trophy. Whilst they were disappointed to lose narrowly in the last 16 of the National Schools Cup in January, they were delighted with these significant achievements in a School that boasts just 259 boys in total.

Director of Sport, Greg Baber-Williams, said: “The School is exceptionally proud of Archie, Josh and George and wishes them all the very best of luck as they prepare for life as full time rugby players. It is great to see that all their hard work and personal sacrifice has concluded with full time professional contracts, which was the primary goal alongside their academic studies. The bar has certainly been set very high in recent years. With such positive role-models in the School it is no wonder that aspirations in the junior years are high.”

As the School looks to its 2019/20 season, there is plenty of talent in the tank.   Freddie Thomas and Matty Jones (co-captains) have already received national recognition with Freddie going to South Africa this summer with England U18s.  Alongside these, the School wishes James Humphreys, Sam Burgess, Jack Hamilton and Will Tong all the very best as they strive to achieve their ambitions in the same vein as Archie, George and Josh, as part of the Gloucester Academy programme.

There will be a Scholarship Information Evening at Dean Close School on Thursday 19 September 2019.  If you are interested in finding out about sports scholarships, please contact the registrar on 01242 258044 or email registrar@deanclose.org.uk.