Rugby Union

The IAS Rugby Program is designed to support the developmental needs of the regions young talented boys and girls Rugby athletes by providing industry leading high-performance sport development programs. Scholarships are offered for a 12-month period commencing in October and concluding September. However, there will be a heavier focus on the program (particularly from a skills-based perspective) from October to the commencement of the Rugby season in April.


The aim of the program is to provide additional skill development on top of club or school-based training. The program will provide coaching, training and competition to improve athlete development with a view to:

  • Develop the fundamental skill level of athletes which will enhance their opportunities for selection into NSW State Teams;
  • Prepare athletes to a level where their transition to any NSW State Team is ‘seamless’ in terms of programs or pathways;
  • Increase the level of success of those athletes at competition and events in Rugby competitions nationwide
  • Provide an introduction and progression into sport specific strength and conditioning
  • Provide education around athletic development as well as personal development in topics such as Nutrition, Sport Psychology, Media Skills / Public Speaking, Youth Leadership, Drugs in Sport
  • The program will conduct weekly skills based and strength and conditioning training to which attendance is expected.

Mr Tony Leeder-Smith Head Coach

Mr Ian Westwood Assistant Coach

Mr Tim Filan Assistant Coach

Mr Ed Wylie Assistant Coach

Miss Brooke Harper Assistant/Mentor Coach

Miss Penelope Fletcher Manager


Adam Iaali
Alfred Coulthart
Amelia Sika
Angus McIlwaine
Bailey Benn
Blake Crehan
Charlie Jeffers
Charlotte Tregonning
Cooper Clarke
Ella Koster
Elliot Rainford
Evan Thomas
Finn Kiefer
Flynn Anthony
Goulder Monty
Harrison Schutz
Harry McAlister
Harry Mattick
Jack Cesare
Joshua Lewsam
Kane Wilson-Jones
Kelera Sigabalavu
Lleylan Kopara
Madeleine Allen
MIchael Milross-Rose
Miles Gorgijovski
Mitchell Sweet
Molimoli Sika
Molly Mills
Nathaniel Gallagher
Sam Tracey
Sebastian Ball
Thomas Fletcher

The IAS 2019-20 Scholarship period will officially run from the Induction Day on Saturday 12 October 2019 through to September 2020.

Key commitments for the Scholarship period include (more specific information to come at Squad Inductions)

Squad Inductions:            (TBA - Early October)
Induction Day:                   12 October 2019
Academy Games:               3-5 April 2020
Training:                              Weekly or fortnightly (dependent on time of year)
Education Sessions:          Various dates throughout the year
Athlete Testing:                  Induction Day & Mid-March
Strength & Conditioning: Weekly (dependent on time of year)

IAS rugby sessions will be held 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 & Campbelltown


  • 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.

Applications for 2019/20 Scholarships are now closed. 


For all enquiries please contact the IAS office on 4225 3899


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

  • 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