Assessment and Nomination

We are proud to champion the huge pool of talent on our doorstep in the North-West, providing a nurturing environment for young rugby players to thrive in with a clear pathway to the Sharks first team and the International stage. 

We have an open process for players entering the player pathway at any stage between the DPP to our Senior Academy. This is to help support the long-term development of players and ensure any late developers to the sport don’t slip through our net. 

Each school or club is invited to nominate up to 5 players at Under 14 and 3 players at Under 15 & Under 16 per age grade for assessment. If your school/club hasn’t received the nomination information or if coaches feel they have additional players who are of the standard for nomination please get in touch with our Junior Academy Manager, Noel Speed –

What is the assessment process for the DPP? 

Players nominated for the DPP will receive dates and details of the assessment session via email. Players are invited to an assessment session at their centre at the beginning of the DPP delivery window for their age grade. Players are then informed of DPP Centre selection via email and players published on our website with dates released for the programme. 

What are we looking for in DPP players? 

Player nomination guidance and player assessment within the DPP is against our Academy Player Development Model. We believe there are 4 aspects required in any future Shark: 

Defensive Warriors: Players who regularly demonstrate the ability to repeatedly make effective decisions in defence which will disrupt the opposition. These players show the bravery to be enthusiastic tacklers, to get off the floor quickly and to contest possession. 

Creative Attackers: Players who regularly demonstrate the ability to combine technical skill and tactical decision making to create attacking opportunities during game play. These players show the coordination to run, kick, pass effectively whilst at speed. 

Relentless Athletes: The potential for physical capacity of a fast, robust player to repeatedly perform high-intensity efforts and recover quickly. These players demonstrate the ability to play the future game in their capacity for work and some will have the physical attributes required to play the current modern game. 

Best Teammates: Players with the ability to self-organise, take responsibility, and build relationships in order to perform effectively as part of a team. These players are well prepared for training sessions and accept others and develop friendships. They show a point of difference in their attitude. 

The principle of our DPP is around identifying players with long term potential. The programme is not fixture or competition based and therefore assessment is based on identifying long term attributes. Players selected may not be considered the best in their age group or the most physically developed, it’s about their potential. 

What are the delivery windows for the DPP? 

The dates for delivery will follow the windows highlighted below and typically include twice monthly sessions. 

Under 15 & Under: August-September
Under 14: September-October

What is the link between the Under 15 and 16 DPP & County pathways? 

In order to support a single pathway across programmes, there is a clear collaboration between the DPP and CB programmes. Under 15 players follow the DPP from October- April with playing opportunities in May for the Cheshire Centres (East, Central, West) & Lancashire Centres (Manchester, Merseyside, North Lancashire). The purpose of these opportunities is for players to demonstrate the qualities they have developed through the DPP. Following the playing opportunities, players are added to the Sharks Development Groups (SDG). 

Under 16 DPP players follow an aligned pathway whereby players are part of the DPP between September- May and the programme includes a number of 15-a-side playing opportunities throughout the season.

When do the Under 15 and 16 Sharks Development Groups (SDG) get selected? 

Selection for the next stage on the Player Pathway after the DPP is the Sharks Development Groups (SDG). The SDG is for identified young players aged 14yrs – 16yrs. The majority of players are selected through the DPP, along with identified players of potential throughout the season. The SDG players train at Carrington and Myerscough College during the playing season on a Wednesday evening, following a curriculum that addresses the holistic development of physical, technical, tactical, psychological, educational and life skills. 

Players are invited into the SDG programme in May of the U15 season to start the programme in July of their Under 16 year. However, there continues to be opportunities for players to be invited into the SDG programme at any point during the Under 16 season. 

If club coaches/school teachers believe they have players aged 13yrs-16 yrs requiring nomination outside of nomination windows please contact our Junior Academy Manager, Noel Speed –