Rugby Union

The IAS Rugby Program is designed to support the developmental needs of the regions young talented rugby players by providing industry leading high-performance sport development programs. Scholarships are offered for a 12-month period commencing in October and concluding September, with the majority of the program completed in the off-season before May.

Mr Tony Leeder-Smith Head Coach
Miss Stephanie  Ball Assistant/Mentor Coach
Miss Brooke Harper Assistant/Mentor Coach


Tahlia Collinge
Micah Gibson
Ryan Hodgson
Jaxon Lavender
Molly Mills
Nicholas Witheridge
Thomas Cusack
Thomas Cusack
Zintori Makene
Luke Platt
Maraia Rorocola
Jack Sprod
Harrison Valevatu
Tommy Wraith
Tahliya Cabo
Angus Mcilwaine
Benjamin Whyte
Selene Chadrawy
Blake Crehan
Jack Crehan
Marcus Hasler
Blake Hasler
Oliver McCrea
Samuel Milross-Rose
Jack Newhouse
Zali O’Brien
Tyla O’Brien
Lilli O'Dea
Tully Phillips
Zac Stevenson
Oukei Taufahema
Charlotte Tregonning
Jaydon Viliamu
Holly Whitton

IAS rugby sessions will be held weekly/fortnightly at various venues throughout the Illawarra Region including Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama, Shoalhaven and the Wingecarribee.

IAS Scholarship holders will be exposed to high level competition through their participation in the annual ClubsNSW Academy Games held in April.

IAS Scholarship holders are expected to attend ALL scheduled IAS rugby sessions in addition to club, representative and other sport commitments.

The IAS Rugby Program underpins the NSWRU and ARU Youth Program in the National Rugby player pathway.

The IAS is committed to the development of the holistic athlete by providing elite training in rugby specific skills development, education and development around strength and conditioning, as well as a sports education curriculum.


Sports Specific Skill Development 

IAS Scholarship athletes are provided elite Rugby skill development programs and exposed to high quality instruction from the region’s leading Rugby coaches.


Strength & Conditioning

There will be an expectation that IAS athletes commit to a Strength and Conditioning (S&C) program throughout the scholarship period. IAS view S&C as a crucial aspect of any athlete’s development. The IAS S&C program is overseen by our Physical Performance Coach and there are supervised weekly gym sessions at the majority of the council regions.


Education Components

IAS Scholarship athletes will complete an education curriculum covering sports specific topics including sports nutrition, performance psychology, drugs in sport, media/public speaking skills as well as many other topics throughout the year.


Education sessions will be in the form of webinars and workshops. The webinars are easily accessible anywhere, online. The workshops will take place at the University and will be a mix of interactive and content-based learning.

The IAS Rugby Program is aligned and integrated into the NSWRU and ARU National Player Pathway Program.

Boys and Girls aged between 14 - 17 are eligible for a IAS Rugby Program Scholarship.

The IAS Rugby Program underpins the NSWRU & ARU National Programs (men and women's) and athletes under scholarship with the IAS will be eligiable to transition into State and National youth  programs.


The IAS is the only regional Academy to not charge an athlete levy to athletes successful in obtaining a scholarship. However, athletes may be required to contribute to some additional components of the program such as camps and tours.

Athletes will also be required to purchase the IAS Rugby squad uniform.

To be eligible for a Rugby Scholarship, athletes must:

  • Reside within the Illawarra Region, Kiama, Shellharbour, Shoalhaven, Wingecarribee or Wollongong local government areas; and Wollondilly, Camden & Cambletown


  • The IAS boundries are more flexible for the Rugby Union program to fit within the Illawarra Rugby Unions boundary. 


  • All athletes need to be registered members of Illawarra Rugby Union


  • Selection of athletes will be based upon the assessment that the player is an emerging talented rugby player of Illawarra representation level with the aim of achieving Country representative level or above.


  • Athlete Age

Boys       U/14 – U/16 (Born between 2006 and 2004)

Girls       U/14 – U/18 (Born between 2006 and 2002)


NB: dispensation maybe granted by the board for athletes outside the eligible age.


Satisfy the eligibility criteria and demonstrate the following qualities;

  • Demonstrate potential to be selected for Regional,  NSW Country or Higher within 12 months;
  • Physical abilities and physical skills considered to be essential for eventual success in rugby;
  • Display an ability to apply coaching & technical instruction;
  • Display attitude, commitment and dedication to improving performance;
  • The ability or potential to work as part of a team to achieve excellence.


NB: Subjectivity is an unavoidable element of selection to the IAS Rugby Squad.

Nominations for the rugby program will open soon.


Once you have completed your nomination please attend the trials which will be held on the following dates at the University of Wollongong Sports Hub. Please note, applicants must attend the trial to be included in the squad.


Trial Date: Tuesday 24th September 5.00pm to 7.30pm


For all enquiries please contact the IAS office on 4225 3899


The IAS Rugby Program is endorsed by the NSW Rugby Union.

  • 2018/19 Rugby Union Coaches & Squad
  • Program Overview
  • Program Specifics
  • Australian Rugby Union Development Pathway
  • Athlete Fees
  • 2019/20 Athlete Eligibility
  • 2019/20 Selection Criteria
  • 2019/20 Rugby Nominations

Program Partners

Illawarra Rugby Union