UOW Crusaders Elite
Development Program

The first of its kind


The University of Wollongong has partnered with the most successful Super Rugby team on the planet to deliver a truly unique program. Over a 4-day period, Crusaders coaches will work with budding players to help them improve their rugby skills.

The UOW Crusaders Elite Development Program allows participants to expand their knowledge and develop their game from the knowledge and expertise of qualified Crusaders coaches.

The next edition of the program will be held from Sunday 3 July to Wednesday 6 July 2022.

To be eligible, you need to be a senior school student (year 9, 10, 11 and 12) who is keen to participate in an intensive rugby training program, which covers more than just the on-field components of the game.

Program details

Elite Development Program Key Dates

Dates for our October program will be confirmed and posted ASAP.



All Sessions (including compulsory evening sessions)
Giveaway items (TBC)
Individual technical report
Meals provided (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
Photo files from the program


An initial payment of 50% at the time of registering, with the full payment required 5 days prior to the commencement of the program.



  • The program is open to male and female rugby players in years 9, 10, 11 and 12 who are looking for an intensive rugby training program which covers more than just the on-field components of the game. 
  • You will be asked to provide a summary of your rugby playing experience to date as part of your online registration. 

Program Structure 

 Day 1Day 2Day 3Day 4

Welcome, introduction to the program

Field session & pool recovery

Field session & recovery Field session & pool recovery


Field session & recovery

Gym introduction

UOW presentation & campus tour

Cooking & nutrition workshop


Lunch & wrap-up 


*TBC by UOW coaches and staff.

Off-site Accommodation

Wollongong is a diverse and vibrant city located only an hour south of Sydney. There are many accommodations options around the heart of Wollongong that are available and are all close proximity to the University of Wollongong Campus.

A few accommodation complexes we recommended are:

  • Figtree Hotel Wollongong: ($324 for 3 nights)
  • Beach Park Motel: ($495 for 3 nights)
  • Novotel Wollongong Northbeach: ($654 for 3 nights)

*Prices are subject to change due to availability.

What's included?

Participants will receive:

  • A unique opportunity to train in a professional environment which is normally only experienced by professional and national team rugby players.
  • On-field coaching from Crusader International Academy coaches who have spent time learing with the Crusaders & Crusaders Academy in Christchurch. 
  • Insurance under the University of Wollongong's wider sports participation policy.
  • UOW Crusaders Elite Development Program branded gear.
  • Off-field sessions to assist your development including:
    • Video analysis sessions
    • Basic nutrition and cooking education
    • Gym introduction
    • Pool recovery sessions

Frequently asked questions

Q: What level of rugby ability do I need to join the Program?

A: The standard level for participants is some level of schoolboy or club rugby. However, we consider each potential participant on an individual basis. We look at your current level, future goals, how much you can improve by going through this program and other factors. If you are not sure about your current rugby ability, please reach out to us via the ‘Contact us’ tab, and a team member will be happy to guide you. 

Q: Why should I choose this program over others that are out there?

A: Our EDP is unique in that we are the only offering where we have coaches who have coached and learnt the ‘Crusader Way'. Our coaches have coached with the Crusaders and Canterbury teams for a number of years and worked with players at the highest levels of rugby development. Our off-field staff are also some of the best in the industry who will use their knowledge and experience to deliver the highest quality program in the market.

Q: What will I get out of this program?

A: The EDP is an abbreviated version of the UOW Crusaders Global Rugby Program which is a program available to UOW students. That program runs across the academic year, for 36 weeks. All aspects of that program have been replicated into the four days of the EDP which will give you a better understanding of the tactical and technical areas of the game, basic nutrition and cooking information, recovery education and strategies, gym introduction, physical testing and an introduction to UOW from an academic perspective.

Q: Why the Crusaders?

A: Crusaders Rugby are the best Super Rugby team in history, so it will be exciting to have them at UOW coaching UOW students passionate about rugby. Crusaders are world-renowned for their coaching success and have a long history in player and coach development with their Crusaders Academy in both Christchurch and Nelson sires. The academy allows the Crusaders to mould potential recruits into the best professional players they can be. The club’s proven record at producing exceptional talent speaks for itself: In each of the last three World Cup cycles, the Crusaders have produced more All Blacks than any of the other New Zealand Super Rugby sides.

Q: What if I contract COVID-19 before the program inhibiting my participation?

A: UOW will follow any and all guidelines from NSW Health at the time of the program. If a postponement is necessary due to health issues or wet weather, we will offer you the choice of a full refund, or we can hold your place for the next edition of the program.

Contact Us

If you have any questions that aren’t answered on this website, please feel free to contact our team on the below details:

Email: uow-crusaders@uow.edu.au
Phone: 02 4298 1525


Student throwing a rugby
Man catching football
All Blacks great Reuben Thorne leads a training session with young rugby players at UOW.
I am excited to welcome players to UOW to experience a week in the life of a Crusaders Player. This development program is a unique opportunity to get first hand experience of the 'Crusader Way' and improve your game. Joining our family for the week will give players an understanding of what it takes to get to the next level. Andy Gibson Crusaders Coach

Our coaches

It’s not every day you have the opportunity to be coached by qualified international coaches. Read more about those running our program here.

Meet the team
Andy Gibson