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Sports Academy kicks off 2017

Posted: 27th January 2017

It’s been a great start for our RDC Academy of Sports.  Alex Keeton became the first Doncaster College & University Centre Academy student to feature for the Doncaster Knights 1st XV.  It was a huge day for Academy prospect Alex, who entered the field to rapturous applause, throwing himself into tackles and earning a turnover in the dying seconds. His contribution didn’t go unnoticed as Knights went on to record a 16-12 victory against Rotherham Titans.

Keeton’s call up is an amazing milestone for the Academy of Sport, first set up in 2015.  The collaboration with Doncaster Knights continues to prepare the next generation of players for a career in sport.  All rugby activity takes place at Castle Park with Academy players receiving the same Sports Science and Medicine support as Knights players.

Alex believes that the Academy has improved his Rugby exponentially and that it is a truly unique opportunity for aspiring young players, stating that, “I don’t believe I would have got this chance to play professionally anywhere else”.

“As part of the Academy we receive professional coaching and expertise, whether it is Ben Hunter taking me through line outs, Ants [Posa] helping us around the park and making sure we know where to be or Tyson Lewis showing us what it takes to be a professional athlete there is a real pathway for Academy players to go down.

“It is also a massive help off the field, everyone knows a career in professional rugby is very rare to get into but if all your qualifications have already been achieved you have a solid back up plan.”

Sports Academy flanker Sam Jones achieved his own individual milestone yesterday returning for his first academy game since he received the devastating news he has an uncommon form of Cancer.

Jones joined the Academy in the summer set to impress at Castle Park, however it wasn’t to be when a couple of weeks into pre-season training he received the shattering news he had Hodgkin lymphoma; an uncommon form of Cancer most prevalent in young adults in their early 20s.

Despite the grueling treatment of chemotherapy Sam continued to keep up his fitness in the hope that he would return to play with his team mates one day soon.

Sam explains “As part of the treatment I was required to have chemotherapy every other Friday which really took  it out of me. It would take me about five days to recover from each session, after that I could do bits of training including the non-contact stuff and gym work. It was very frustrating as I’d feel like I was making progress then have another session of chemo and be knocked back to where I was.”

By the end of 2016 Sam received the news he had been longing for, that he had the all clear and the cancer treatment was successful.  “I had my final treatment at the end of the December and got the all clear so now and I’m just delighted to be back playing”.

Showing strength and determination to get back to his best Sam took to the field on Wednesday for his first game for the Academy.  This game didn’t disappoint with a resounding victory of 7-137 away at Leeds Trinity taking the team through to the BUCS Northern Conference Plate Quarter Finals.

Interested in joining the team? Take a look here for more information.