10 top UK boarding schools for rugby

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10 top UK boarding schools for rugby

Boarding schools offer excellent sporting facilities and rugby is a popular sport that many international students like to take up whilst at school in the UK. The 10 schools we listed below are in alphabetical order – we like to play fair!

Bedford School for Boys

Bedford has a great deal of success when it comes to rugby teams. The school regularly plays against other top teams across the UK. Rugby is the major game for the autumn term and the school employs professional coaches to assist with training. Students also have the opportunity to take part in rugby tours – the school’s most recent tour took them to Australia. Read more about Bedford School for Boys.

Brighton College

This College has a strong rugby tradition with 20 teams for players of all abilities. Top England player Marcus Smith attended Brighton College and credits the supportive environment of the school and its coaches for his success. Smith was also shortlisted for Young Sportsperson of the Year and notes that the experiences at Brighton College “gave me a massive opportunity to succeed in professional sport and beyond.” Read more about Brighton College.

Clifton College

Clifton College enjoys strong links with local rugby clubs such as Bristol Rugby and the Clifton Rugby Football Club. The Upper School currently has 16 rugby teams, 5 of which are teams in the Sixth Form. All boys play rugby during the first term of the school year, and several former professional rugby players assist as coaches. Read more about Clifton College.

Merchiston Castle School

Merchiston Castle School in Edinburgh has fantastic opportunities for students who want to get involved in rugby.  The school has a host of alumni who have had great professional success. For example, England rugby player Zach Mercer attended the Scottish school and said that Merchiston “instilled the perfect ethos and culture in preparing me for a professional rugby career. The standard of coaching on the field and the support in video analysis, and strength and conditioning in the classroom allowed me to shape my game to a different level and provided me with the pathway to professional sport.” Read more about Merchiston Castle School.


Millfield School

A number of Millfield School alumni have gone on to play for international rugby teams, giving Millfield its reputation as one of the best rugby schools in the UK. Beyond rugby, Millfield holds a reputation as the number one school in the UK for sport more widely. Students receive elite coaching from top rugby players – the current Director of Rugby is former Bath and England player John Millet who is supported by a team of no less than 18 coaches. Millfield School offers talented players the opportunity to develop their skills and uncover their full potential. Read more about Millfield School.

Oakham School

Oakham School offers students of all abilities the opportunity to get involved in a rugby programme that fits their skill level. Talented students may undertake more intensive and specialised coaching, including strength and conditioning sessions, athlete performance monitoring and video analysis. As one of the best schools for rugby in the UK, Oakham’s teams often play against many of the other schools on this list. Over 400 boys at Oakham take part in rugby across 22 teams. Current Six Nations Scotland player Hamish Watson was a student at Oakham School. A number of other alumni have also gone on to play professionally. Read more about Oakham School.

Rugby School

This one couldn’t be missed out, as it’s generally thought that this school is where the sport originated in 1823. It’s believed that during a game of football, one pupil decided to change the rules and run with the ball in his hands! To this day, rugby remains one of the school’s five major sports. The school has close links with professional teams, inspiring students to progress to the next level. The year 2020 saw three students awarded professional contracts with premiership rugby clubs. Read more about Rugby School.

Sedbergh School

Sedbergh School has an impressive success rate for producing professional rugby players. Most famously, former England stars Will Greenwood and Will Carling attended Sedbergh. A number of alumni are still involved in professional rugby, most notably England internationals Phil Dowson, Carl Fearns and James Simpson Daniel. Sedbergh’s rugby success is a testament to its intensive and comprehensive development programme. It prides itself on top-level coaching from staff who have vast amounts of playing and coaching experience. The school’s rugby programme also takes pupils all over the UK to allow them to play against talented teams from other schools. Read more about Sedbergh School.


Stonyhurst College

Stonyhurst College has an excellent reputation for rugby. Multiple alumni have gone on to be professional rugby players, and one of the highlights of the school’s sporting calendar is the annual Stonhurst Rugby 7s Tournament. As well as rugby matches against other schools in the UK, Stonyhurst offers pupils the chance to participate in trips to South Africa where they have the opportunity to play rugby against schools in cities such as Cape Town or Johannesburg. Read more about Stonyhurst College.

Strathallan School

Strathallan’s Rugby Academy provides students with the best coaching, facilities and support. Pupils in the Academy can also benefit from access to physiotherapists, nutritionists and sports psychologists. The school also has a fantastic partnership with Scottish Rugby. Many former pupils have gone on to play internationally in recent years. The current Scotland Six Nations team includes many Strathallan alumni. The professional athletes produced are a testament to the time and effort the school dedicates to nurturing young talent. Read more about Strathallan School.

This article appears in the following categories  Best of..., Boarding School Life, Students

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