The Bishop Burton College rugby programme has over 90 players (male and female) spread across four teams at both under 18 and over 18 age groups.

We run men's rugby union academies at degree-level (Senior Academy) and at 16+ (Junior Academy), working in partnership with Yorkshire Carnegie. 

Players in the academy system at Bishop Burton get a high quality programme balanced with their academic commitments.

They receive skill and unit field sessions, strength and conditioning, video analysis, team meetings and various additional sessions to improve their knowledge and performance in the game.

The Senior Academy competes in British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS), in the Premier North 1A League and is pushing for promotion to the BUCS Super League. 

The Junior Academy plays in both the RFU AASE League and the Association of Colleges (AoC) Premier League.

AASE Rugby

There are 15 AASE rugby programmes across the country, all partnered with regional academies that form the highly competitive AASE League. The programme is there to provide a transition from schoolboy rugby into professional rugby and the AASE league is the RFU flagship under 18 competition, providing a real challenge to any promising talent.

Junior Academy players benefit from support from both Bishop Burton and Yorkshire Carnegie staff, including access to a physiotherapist three times a week.

Meet the Coach

Mike Umaga

The academies are run by Mike Umaga, Director of Rugby. Mike is a former professional rugby union and rugby league player who represented Samoa in two World Cups.

With more than 20 years coaching experience, Mike has a vast knowledge of player development, having coached across junior age groups, national leagues, championship, premiership and international rugby.

With Mike's extensive contacts throughout the rugby world, students have been able to explore playing pathways both in the UK and abroad. 

Bishop Burton's Head of Rugby, Mike Umaga, smiles at the camera

Entry Critera

Applicants to the rugby academy must demonstrate rugby ability and have played the game at club or school level before. Players must also study a course at Bishop Burton College or University Centre.

Junior Academy players will normally have been playing at a high level of youth rugby union, been on an RFU DPP programme, or have been playing adult rugby union.

Senior Academy players will normally have had regional or county honours, academy experience or have been playing at a high standard of adult rugby.

The criteria is not exclusive and all applications are considered. There are also other rugby union teams below the academy programme.

Players with any representative background are highly encouraged to apply, stating their honours. 

Scholarships are also available to help the right candidates to succeed. 

Training Sessions

We train every day except for Thursday. Monday and Tuesday is strength-based, followed by rugby training. Wednesday is a game day. If there isn’t a game, we focus on conditioning, rugby training and skills. Friday is dedicated to fitness and rugby training.

In a general week, players get up to four hours of rugby training, two hours of strength and one hour of skills. We also provide nutritional and lifestyle sessions throughout the year to help all players.

Student Success


Daniel studied the BTEC Level 3 in Sport alongside training as part of our Achieving Academic and Sporting Excellence (AASE) rugby programme, in partnership with Yorkshire Carnegie. Following an excellent international U18 series, where Dan played an instrumental role in helping Scotland secure some significant victories, Dan was selected onto the training camp for England U18.

The rugby academy has given me a great insight into what it means to be a professional and preparing to play a Championship game. Living on campus during the week with the group of friends I’ve made has been great. We’ve made some long-lasting friendships, which has helped to enhance my whole college experience.

How to Apply

Players can apply for any course at Bishop Burton College and University Centre and then be considered for our Men's Rugby Academies. Being a residential student is also recommended, but not essential.

To find out more, please contact Mika Umaga, Director of Rugby:

Call: 07795603420


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