Tonbridge Juddians RFC

The Academy

Tonbridge Juddians Academy

TJs Academy is the U16-U18 section of the club and currently has over 100 active players within the three age groups. TJs Academy is non-selective and aims to provide every player with the best possible rugby experience they could wish for in their final years as a junior rugby player.

TJs Academy is led by Head of Academy, Gareth Withers and overseen by TJs Head 1st XV Coach, Peter Dankert. Gareth and Pete are supported by an excellent team of coaches and administrators as well as physio and sports psychologist support. 

You can learn more about all those involved in delivery our Academy programme on the Academy Staff page.

We are always looking to increase our number and welcome new recruits so if you would like to join Kent’s leading rugby Academy set up please get in touch. We cater for all levels of players from Premiership Academy to complete beginners. If you are U16-U18 (Schools Years 11-13) and would like to play rugby for TJs we would love to have you. 

Please contact: Gareth Withers – Head of Academy or 07739455783


How does TJs Academy work and when is training?

Although TJs Academy covers three separate age groups they very much work as one. All three age groups train 1together on Wednesday nights from 7-8.30pm with matches taking place on Sundays.

Training sessions have already started and are currently taking place at the custom built, floodlit Vizards 3G facility at Judd School in Tonbridge.

PLEASE NOTE and abide by the Vizards Conditions of Use when using that facility either as a coach, player or parent/guardian/supporter

Training sessions tend to be highly active and intense affairs focusing on players’ individual skills and technique, team play and game understanding. 


Our aim is to help every player improve and produce highly competitive teams that play good rugby.
We appreciate this is a busy time of life for the boys and that some may be away at boarding school during the week. Therefore, whilst training is strongly encouraged an inability to regularly make midweek training sessions should not prevent you joining and playing for TJs Academy.


What kit do I need to buy?

Just a pair of TJs socks! 


On entering the Academy you will be provided with a full kit bundle courtesy of our sponsors, generous supporters and the fund raising efforts of Academy players and family members.  That said, any contributions towards the cost of kit is greatly appreciated or better still see the Sponsorship and Fund Raising  page for more ways in which you can contribute to supporting your Academy.
The kit bundle includes Academy playing shirt and shorts, a pre-match warm up t-shirt, post-game polo shirt and contact training top.  In total this is
worth over £150 per player.

Is TJs Academy Successful?

In a word Yes! No matter how you measure success TJs Academy has had lots of it!

  • TJs Academy has enjoyed an active playing membership of around 100 players for each of the last three seasons.
  • TJs were National Colts Cup Winners in 2015 and semi-finalists the season before.
  • In the last three years over 40 Academy graduates have played senior rugby for TJs including a dozen in the National League 1st XV.
  •  In the past three seasons TJs have made the U16 Kent Cup semi-finals every season. The U17 As have won the Kent Cup both years they entered and have finished as winners or runners-up of the Kent League Division 1 every season.
  • The U17 As have reached the last 16 or better of the U17 National Cup for the last two years.
  • This season TJs will run an U17 B team in the Kent League system for the third year in a row - something no other club has achieved. In 2015 TJs U17 Bs were winners of Kent Division 2 placing them as the 8th best side in the county.
  • Last season TJs were Kent 7s Champions at U16 and U18.

What help do I get when I am injured?

TJs Academy employs a trained and qualified physio who holds clinics at Wednesday evening training sessions. The physio works closely with the coaching and management team to ensure we have the players’ best interests at heart.

Further help in injury rehabilitation and prevention is available from Academy Strength and Conditioning Coach Paul Dawson through his company Get Yours . Likewise, our Academy Sports Psychologist, Mark Healey, will be happy to help with the mental issues of injury and help players work towards returning to play. Mark can also advise on how players can work on their game whilst physically out of action. For more information on Paul, Mark and the rest of the coaching team visit the Academy Staff page.

Is TJs Academy a breeding ground for the senior sides including the 1st XV?

Absolutely. In recent years TJs Academy has provided over 40 players to the senior section of the club filling places in every team from 1sts to 4ths. This strong conveyor belt of players has helped the club reintroduce a senior 5th XV. TJs successful Kent Cup campaign of 2015 saw five U17 and U18 members of the Academy play for the 1st XV including three who played in the Kent Cup Final victory over Old Elthamians. Many of the

Academy coaching staff are also part of the 1st XV coaching set up giving Academy players a direct line of progression into the 1st XV squad if they are good enough.


L-R:  Bertie Boast, Will Billing and Finn Lewthwaite with the senior Kent Cup.  All three boys were U18 members of the Academy when they played in TJs 1st XV’s victory over Old Elthamians in the senior Kent Cup Final.  .

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