Home / News / Snapped up! Sale Sharks select Burnley College Student for prestigious Rugby Centre of Excellence

Snapped up! Sale Sharks select Burnley College Student for prestigious Rugby Centre of Excellence

Sports Coaching Student Molly Bradshaw has been selected to join an elite pathway which could see her playing rugby for England’s Under 18s.

Molly, 17, from Burnley is studying Advanced Level Sports Coaching and Development at Burnley College Sixth Form Centre.

She’s now a step closer to playing for her country after being selected to join the Women’s Centre of Excellence at Sale Sharks.

Molly says she took part in trials last year:


“I felt amazing after them. I’m really proud of my achievements.

“I’m so pleased to have been selected. It’s proved to me that you should always keep going in pursuit of your passion.”

Molly Bradshaw

Advanced Level Sports Coaching and Development Student

The Sale Sharks Women’s Centre of Excellence represents the next stage in England Rugby’s Women’s Performance Pathway, serving as a stepping stone to representing England, with Sharks first team player and England U18 Lizzie Duffy a graduate of the programme.

Run by senior coaches, players, and staff at Sale Sharks Women, players learn from the best including guest coaches like Women’s Performance Lead and World Cup Winner Katy Daley Mclean MBE.

With a focus on players aged 15 to 18, the program provides a world-leading professional training environment at Sale Sharks’ Carrington Training Ground, complete with cutting-edge facilities.

“Since joining the Elite Athlete Programme here at Burnley College, Molly has come on leaps and bounds.

“Her recent selection in the Sale Sharks development squad a testament to that.

“Molly is a dedicated individual that demonstrates she has the physical attributes that make her a talented athlete, alongside the correct mentality and work ethic.

“She has become a role model for the younger generation of female rugby players at Burnley RUFC, pathing the way and demonstrating what can be achieved within female Rugby Union.”

Coach, coordinator and Sale Sharks Women player Leah Lyons says it’s about preparing players for the Premiership:

“We give the girls experiences so that when they go into a club like Sale Sharks they are prepared.

“The aim is to get as many girls into Premiership teams as possible.”

To prepare players for a successful career in top-flight women’s rugby, the program covers essential areas such as strength and conditioning, analysis, concussion management, nutrition, and mental wellbeing.

It’s a focus which closely echoes Fitness Evolution, Burnley College’s onsite training provider whose  £6.5 million facilities, including an elite gym, cryotherapy chamber, environmental suite and recovery spa are already used by Premier sports teams and professional athletes.

Burney College and Fitness Evolution are passionate about allowing athletes to compete at the highest levels and giving them a clear route to success.

Earlier this year they introduced the Professional Women’s Football Pathway in association with Burnley FC to create opportunities for young female footballers to progress.

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