High Performance Plan

Here is RugbyWA’s High Performance Academy Plan from 2019-2021 for Rugby in the state.


The High-Performance Unit (HPU) is RWA’s body responsible for delivery and development of player performance through the implementation of the HPU Plan. The role of the HPU is to provide support through provision of coach-education; athletic and rugby development for player transition to the elite levels of rugby. 


HPU is responsible for developing our talented youth in three (3) layers in alignment with Rugby Australia’s ‘Strategy and Implementation’ plan and national Academy model. Driving our program will be an intent to transition our academy players to State and National programs with a view to players attaining Western Force contracts.

The HPU will deliver its programs and functions through key bodies: 

Rugby Australia
Western Force 


The HP Plan will be subject to evaluation to ensure consistent messages between our academy, clubs and schools are aligned to the player’s development and progression. To enable this process, targeted areas have been isolated that will be periodically challenged for alignment purposes including:

Talent identification processes

Positional Athletic benchmarking
Coach-mentoring programs
Applied skill and position specific learning


Yearly targets will guide the progress of the HP Plan and Academy deliverables with specific measures of:

Minimum five (x5) players selected in Player of National Interest programs (PONI)
Minimum of three (x3) players selected in Junior Wallabies program
Minimum of three (x3) players recognised for National U17 Talent Camp

Section 1: Objectives

1.1 Develop quality programs 

Conduct reviews across the HP Academy; Coaching Panel; Coach Education & Coaching Council programs to facilitate continuous improvement of our coaches and players.

1.2 Establish a player-assessment model

Players selected in the HP Academy will have been assessed using the Skill-Positional Performance v Potential model. This process will be used as an on-going assessment for each player with details stored on RWA’s HP archive.

1.3 Supported modelling 

HP selected players will be screened (i.e. medically & physically; health & well-being) and receive appropriate support to enhance their rugby development.

1.4 Coach-mentoring system 

Coach-mentoring programs are to be designed and supported to enable our aspirational coaches the opportunity to develop both internally and externally within the rugby community.

1.5 Align our clubs; schools and HP programs

Conduct educational symposiums that enables the objectives of the high-performance planning to be imbedded across the rugby fraternity in a manner that serves the player’s best interests.

Section 2: Functions

2.1 Talent Identification 

The High-Performance Unit (HPU) will be responsible for screening and selection of Future Force and Emerging Force players. Western Force positional succession planning will guide selections.

2.2 Specialist Coaching

The HPU will access Western Force and State Coaching panel personnel to facilitate coaching, sports science and medical supports to resource the player’s needs. Where necessary outside consultative specialists will also be utilised.

2.3 Up-Skilling

The HPU will conduct player reviews against the HP program including individual training and match performances. Periodic reports will guide the players Development-Plan providing a mechanism for de-selection or continued selection in the HP Academy.

2.4 Competition

It is critical HP players are competing at the highest club level available. Where necessary, younger (U18) players are encouraged to participate at the highest standard available inside RWA’s competition – subject to RA Aged to Size Dispensation policy.

2.5 Performance Monitoring

The HP Unit and associated plan is to be reviewed yearly to ensure the program remains contemporary.  
Section 3: Process
3.1 Player development is to be supported by fast-tracking processes for our best talent based on rugby, physiological and psychological maturity. Players who are elevated to higher standards of rugby must be considered ‘capable’ across all three (3) components of maturity prior to elevation.
3.2 Tracking of identified players will be supported by skill and positional based processes. The player will be supported by professionally experience coaches including RWA’s Coaching Panel and Academy personnel. Monitoring will be recorded on the ‘Performance v Potential’ evaluation template. 
3.3 HP principles (i.e. fundamental fitness; skill & positional education) will provide the basis for all rugby related learnings. HP staffs will regulate; monitor and amend skill-based learnings on a seasonal basis.
3.4 The development and demands for each HP player’s work load & progression of practical and theoretical development will remain a constant consideration to their welfare and well-being. This process is to be managed by the HPU staffs. 
3.5 The State Coaching Panel will work with selected HP players at a skill-positional level in conjunction with their clubs. Club coaches will be informed and updated on player development components as required. 
3.6 The State Coaching Panel and high-performance personnel will work with the State under age squads during the pathway competition phase to track performance of academy players.
3.7 School’s Head Coaches must be encouraged to interact with the HPU for identification and tracking of potential academy players. Coaching Panel and High-performance staffs are to provide support upon request for school development programs. 
3.8 Club Academies will be supported to deliver an aligned program for players who possess the ability to progress to representative pathway competitions. 
3.9 The HPU and Coaching Panel will consistently monitor academy players to determine their ability to stay in the program.


3.10 Performance v Potential format must be adopted to ensure selection criteria is consistent between TID principles; clubs & schools coaches. 
3.11 Positional succession planning is to be continually reviewed to broaden TID network and to achieve greater consistency. 
3.12 HPU will conduct TID forums for both internal and external persons to align selection principles. These forums are to ensure generic principles are developed across our playing system.

Section 4: HP Modeling

4.1 Rugby remains central to our program with the intention to build fundamental platforms of athletic development; skill acquisition and positional development. To assist the player’s development, mechanisms are in place to nurture and support the player’s journey including preparing the individual for the challenges of professional rugby and post career pursuits.
4.2 The HP Academy supports talented players:
Player of National Interest (Rugby Australia) 
Under 20 Senior Academy (Including Future Force ladies)
U18 Junior Academy 
U16 Development
4.3 These programs offer a graduated learning experience designed to capture and retain our best products to compete at national championships and to transition to professional contracts with the Western Force. 
4.4 HP-Modeling will primarily be based on three (3) pillars of learning and evaluated against performance, supporting systems and career well-being elements.

Each pillar has specifically designed elements that support and challenge the player’s ability as a rugby athlete, personal growth and leadership qualities. 

Each program provides uniquely designed support structures for the individual to explore their ability as a rugby player, engage with acceptable attitudinal behaviours and confront preparation for post career employment.
Being a performance-based model, fundamental elements of developing the athlete’s rugby, fitness and game awareness are critical to fostering the player’s knowledge and skill-base that are fundamental to a pro-player. 

Section 5: Review Program 

To enable the HP Plan’s objectives; functions and processes, key areas of pathway, coaching and player development will require constant assessment and support. The HPU will have the responsibility for facilitating the over-arching review processes across the following components:

5.1 Facilitation of Pathway reviews.

Provide coach-appraisals for our pathway coaches and staffs.
Provide evaluation and professional development initiatives that will assist the depth; education and quality of our coaches

5.2 Integration of the HP framework to support club-academy programs 

Provide programs that facilitate HP principles for coaching and player development
Systematically provide clubs with review findings and recommendations to guide the alignment of club and HPU

5.3 Maximise player development 

Determine the level of resources required to meet the demands of the HP Plan throughout the cycle of the plan 
Align HP Academy planning with club & school Academy’s 
Determine deficiencies and required support systems to align club & schools academy 

5.4 Align HP planning with club and school’s academies

Schedule internal reviews that will directly influence academy and pathway performance.
Ensure the transitioning of HP programs are aligned with relevant systems. 
Incorporate internal and external bench marking for comparative purposes for as a club and school resource.
Consult Western Force and Rugby Australia elite coaches as a mechanism to upskill and maximise opportunities for our academy players. 
Integrate RWA HP Academy objectives to ensure coaching processes are aligned.

5.5 Monitor and assess processes; systems and program-delivery for academy; club; schools and pathway 

Assess generic templates that will assist skill-positional assessment; fitness testing; and coach education for our HP managed (coaching & ed.,) programs 
Access and evaluate junior and school club coach delivery
Evaluate knowledge & processes of our stakeholders in areas relating to coach-education, junior age coaching deliverables and need to academy alignment.

5.6 Enhanced planning and evaluation process for performance and pathway operational areas 

Improved integration of services between HPU and Pathway programs
Emphasis on high-performance; rugby athletes and emerging coach development.
Consistency in coach-delivery between HPU and Pathway coach plans.
Implementation of Club-Academy forums.
Initiate skill and positional templates for club / school distribution

5.7 Standards and quality of coach-delivery.

Expand coaching forums (Council)
Build rugby-knowledge base targeted clubs and schools to generate consistency of TID; Coaching and player development.
Design and Implement programs to develop coach delivery in specialist areas of fundamentals; skill-positional and specialist areas.

5.8 Technical direction

Expand Coaching Panel concept to further the HPU’s reach across Fitness; Positional development; rugby-nous and fundamentals
Place players and coaches at the centre of all planning process
Ensure that the HPU and Academy programs are coach-driven and athlete-centred. 
Section 6: Selection Protocols

6.1 Players recommended to enter the High-Performance program will be screened against the ‘Performance v Potential’ template as a process of the GAP analysis.

GAP Analysis is a predetermined consensus relating to required positions for the organisations ‘depth chart’. (i.e. Western Force; Future Force and Emerging Force layers)
Agent recommendations are subjected to all screening processes as outlined in this protocol.
All players externally recommended to HPU (i.e. other States; Countries) are to be referred to Talent Scouts initially for Match Evaluations & appropriate screening.
Screening process (i.e. medical; fitness) is managed by the Athletic Development Coach

6.2 The GAP Analysis will include interpretations from the Western Force staffs; HP Staffs and State Coaching Panel with consideration to:

Athletic Testing and or provided data
Bench Mark comparative data
Game Evaluations
Scout Interpretation 
Medical Screen
6.3 Final recommendation shall be presented to WF Elite Player Performance Manager and HP Director.
6.4 Players entering the Future Force program must pass Western Force and HPU screening and sign off
6.5 Emerging Force recommendations from club; school and or State Pathway performances are to be signed off by Head Coach, High Performance (Head of Rugby)
6.6 RWA Board; Future Force Board are to be informed of all selections from all levels of the HPU program
6.7 Relevent Boards; Chief Executive Officer; Head Coach Western Force and Elite Player Performance Manager are to be notified of HPU player selections prior to entry into yearly program
6.8 Talent ID Reports shall be submitted periodically identifying Agent Lists and available players and are to be submitted to WF Head Coach and Elite Player Performance Manager for final review. 
6.9 Position-Succession plans are to be submitted periodically to ensure all layers of the HPU are occupied with best available talent. Succession Plans are to be configured for each player of the HPU on skill; positional deficiencies and development areas. Plans shall include recommendations on player recruitment; retention or release.


It is the intention of the HP-Unit and RugbyWA to develop a fully supported Ladies Academy by 2021 season (Refer Structure Model 2019-2021).

The current Ladies Pathway is being remodelled to align with the HP Academy program (U/16’s–U/20’s) with selected players having access to Panel staffs; Athletic Development and Sports Science specialists. 


1. Selection Criteria:

National representation highly considered but not a perquisite for entry 
State representation minimum requirement
All considered players will be subject to Talent ID and Skill Assessments
Fitness Testing benchmarking (National) will be utilised as part of the evaluation
Athletes from other sports can be considered based on stringent fitness and skills testing 

2. Evaluation:

All pathway players will be assessed periodically against the HP ‘Performance v’s Potential’ template 
Feedback will be provided at various points of the program as determined by the HP Director (Rugby Australia) 
Fitness assessments will be provided at start and close of each program as managed by Head of S&C (Rugby Australia)

3. De-Selection:

To remain in the squad, all players are subject to maintaining selection and evaluation criteria
Non-commitment to attendence and or meeting relevant rugby or fitness standards (including HP ‘Performance v’s Potential’ criteria)


1. Introduce a supported program of development for:

Youth 7’s (Emerging Squad 2018) 
Maximum 14 players selected 
Training commences in October - December with a program focus on Skill.
Head Coach (plus Coaching Panel) will coordinate this program in conjunction with the HP Academy modelling requirements (Refer HP Academy Plan)

State U18’s 

Targeted players will be identified (positionally) and provided specialist coaching support 
State Coaching Panel is to participate and support the State U18’s Head Coach including Talent Identification and squad selection
The U18 Head Coach will coordinate the program in conjunction with the HP Director during the non-competition phase

Super 15’s (Women’s)

In line with the High-Performance program, players will be targeted each year during October – December with a program focus on Skill and Positional development 
Head Coach (plus Coaching Panel) will coordinate this program in conjunction with the HP Academy modelling and Rugby Australia requirements

Wider Training Squads 

To compliment the Pathway Model, ‘wider training squads’ will be introduced as preparatory phase for National competitions
The Head Coach and the Coaching Panel will manage the program and scheduling for this training phase

Wallaroos (Player of interest/Squad Members)

Players selected in the PONI group will be managed by Rugby Australia programming and personnel (HP Director, RWA Coaching Panel and Head S&C) 
Program will run in alignment with International Calendar

Program Staff

Director High Performance (RA)- Steve Anderson
High Performance and Coach Development Manager (RWA)- Graham Cooper 
Head Coach- Dane Lazarus (RWA Assistant Coach Super Women)
Head of S&C (RA)- Jamie Papa   
RWA State Coaching Panel 


Coach-development is to be targeted where club coaches are invited into the Ladies Pathway program to observe and participate
State Coaching Panel is to participate in this program along with RA-HPU staffs 
HP Education Manager is to manage the coach-development process 

2. Model (See Diagram Structure) will directly support:

U16 Development Squad (NA)
U18 Junior Development (Active)
U20 Scholarship Program (Active)

3. U20 Scholarship holders (x4)

This will be announced in January of each year and will be required to attend across a 10 Month program:
Rugby development 
Strength and Conditioning 
Personal development.

Ladies Pathway Model