Rugby star Ollie lands spot on Harlequins scheme
King’s Academy Ringmer Year 11 star rugby player Ollie Wigman has got into the Gordons/Harlequins Diploma in Sporting Excellence (DiSE) programme.
In September 2021, Ollie will enter Gordons School as a full-time boarding pupil under the Harlequins RFC DiSE programme while studying A-level PE and two other subjects.
This is a huge honour as there are only eight places available for the whole of Sussex, Surrey and South London. Clearly Gordons School and Harlequins see his potential and think he could be good enough to be given a professional contract at 18.
Alongside this fantastic opportunity, Ollie will be attending Harlequins Professional Training Centre at Surrey Sports Park each Sunday for a full day from December 2020 as he moves from the Developing Player Programme (DPP) into the Elite Players Development Group (EPDG).
Ollie was eight when he first took an interest in rugby, but it wasn’t until he was 11 and the 2015 Rugby World Cup when he really got hooked.
Ollie’s dad had played rugby at various levels and his passion and enthusiasm for the sport thankfully rubbed off on Ollie.
He said: “He has shown me that anything is possible if you try hard enough, he has always been there for me and my brothers during the good and bad times, bringing us up for the majority of our childhood on his own. My dad is my biggest critic and without him I wouldn’t be where I am now.”
Ollie first started playing rugby for Eastbourne RFC, training twice a week for two hours, but his hunger to learn more and improve his skill set led him to join an additional older group for extra training with the colts. Whilst playing at Eastbourne Ollie was invited to trial for the Harlequins and was successful.
He now trains for two hours a week with the Harlequin’s on top of his training for his new club, Heathfield RFC.
Playing rugby professionally is Ollie’s biggest aspiration, hopefully by the age of eighteen and hopefully for Harlequins. The ultimate goal would be to be capped for England and then to be selected to play for the British and Irish Lions.
Since realising his potential both on and off the rugby field Ollie’s work ethic has changed dramatically; he undertakes strength and conditioning training sessions three mornings a week before coming to school, trains on the rugby pitches several times a week with his age group and the older colts section, and completes a long distance run on the nights that he doesn’t have club training.
This dedication has seen an improvement at school in his learning and attitude, as well as losing a vast amount of weight, dropping from 120kg to 95kg.
Asked for his thoughts on being selected for Gordons School and the Harlequins Academy, he said: “Having just started in the academy on the EPDG was an amazing feeling, stepping into the Harlequins Training Centre where many of my rugby hero’s train daily, like Joe Marler, Marcus Smith, Mike Brown and Danny Care, all professional rugby players and all capped playing for England which is truly unbelievable.
“The real work doesn’t begin until next September when I start at Gordons School boarding fulltime. I will be training between 12 and 18 hours a week and also playing rugby matches in the top UK schools U18 rugby league, playing against teams from the likes of Exeter, Saracens and Wasps and I can’t wait!”