Monkton pupil earns professional contract at Bath Rugby
Monkton Combe School is delighted to share last week’s exciting announcement from Bath Rugby which confirmed that Year 13 pupil Jack Bennett, who has been with them since our Prep School, has graduated from their Under-18 Academy and been offered his first professional contract. This is a fantastic achievement for Jack and a testament to his hard work and dedication.
The Academy manager at Bath Rugby, Craig Lilley said:
“From a personal and a club perspective, I would also like to recognise the work that has been done by the school to support Jack as a young man and developing rugby player. It has been a real pleasure to work alongside the school to help align development plans for Jack, and to see him flourish over these past few years. During his time with us, Jack has become an integral part of our school rugby teams and served as the 1st XV Captain in his final year. He has also progressed through the Bath Academy and represented England at Under-18 level, touring South Africa with them last summer. We are incredibly proud of his accomplishments and excited to see what the future holds for him.”
Richard Miller, The Director of Sport at Monkton, expressed his pride in Jack’s achievements and praised his dedication. He said:
“Everyone past and present at Monkton who has been part of watching and contributing to Jack’s development since his earliest days at the Prep School and through the Senior School, are so proud of his achievement in earning this contract to get started on life beyond school in such an exciting way. It’s well deserved. We will still be watching, supporting and wishing him well at every opportunity as he faces the next challenge.”
Following the announcement Jack kindly allowed Monkton Combe School to interview him about his time at Monkton and his immediate future with Bath Rugby.
How does it feel to have achieved your goal of securing a professional rugby contract?
It feels good. After many years of hard work and effort to finally have achieved a big goal is an amazing feeling.
What role has Monkton school played in your rugby journey, and how have your teachers and coaches supported you along the way?
The coaches and teachers at Monkton helped me to build confidence in my abilities and develop leadership skills as captain of the 1st XV this past year. With the amount of time I’ve needed away from school for rugby, the teachers have been incredible in supporting me and helping me manage my academic commitments effectively. The Head of Rugby, Mr Ashton, has been incredibly helpful in helping me from a rugby perspective, along with our coaches Mr Heslop and Mr Giles.
How do you think that your experience at Monkton has helped to prepare you for playing at the professional level?
Having had the opportunity to play a lot of rugby during my time at Monkton definitely helped. The level of opposition on a weekly basis helped me to learn how to deal with pressure and develop ways of leading my team in difficult situations. My tutor, Mr Heslop, has been a huge help in giving me advice and support when trying to handle the pressures of academics and sport. Mr Ashton also assisted me by linking up with the Bath coaches and ensuring the messages I was getting were consistent.
Can you tell us about a particularly memorable game or moment in your rugby days at Monkton, and what made it so special?
I have a few, which is great!
Our 1st XV match against Prior Park this year was on my birthday and I managed to score a hat trick, with the team winning as well.
In our last game of the 15s season, the 1st XV won a thriller with a last minute try against Clayesmore.
Our 7s season was also fantastic, with the 1st Team being the first ever from Monkton to make it to finals day in the vase competition. Additionally, the Collegiate 7s tournament last year was the first time I felt my confidence begin to grow as a rugby player and from then on my rugby has gone from strength to strength.
What advice would you give to young rugby players at Monkton and beyond who aspire to play at a professional level?
Be brave, put yourself out there and get involved even if you feel daunted by the opportunities in front of you. Work hard, stay humble while also remembering to back yourself.
What are your expectations and goals for your first season as a professional rugby player?
Continue to develop my skills and listen to my coaches. A big goal would be to debut in the Premiership Cup or hopefully even the Premiership.