Bath Rugby’s Jade Whale will enjoy time in the spotlight in October after being nominated for a national award.

After a successful year as a student at Bath Rugby Foundation’s HITZ Learning Academy, Jade has been shortlisted for the HITZ Rugby Ambassador award, supported by Land Rover.

HITZ is Premiership Rugby’s award-winning education and employability programme which, with the help of its funders Land Rover, Wooden Spoon and Comic Relief, works with more than 2,000 14-18 year olds across England every year, and is delivered nationally by England’s 13 professional rugby clubs.

Using rugby’s core values of teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship, HITZ works to get young people not in education, training or employment (NEET) back into education, training, apprenticeships and/or employment, and is delivered nationally by England’s 13 professional rugby clubs.

One of the four gongs on offer is the HITZ Rugby Ambassador award, supported by Land Rover, recognising a young person for their progress and development in the sport of rugby – on and off the pitch. It rewards progress in physical fitness and skill, while also looks at how the core values of rugby have supported them to overcome a range of challenges and progress on their journey back to education, training or employment.

Two tries on debut

Jade joined HITZ in September 2017, and although she had a sporting background, had never played rugby before.

Having not enjoyed school she had low self-confidence, a bad attitude to learning and would often walk out of class.

However, throughout her time on HITZ Jade became more involved in rugby by volunteering with the Bath Rugby Foundation. From this she went on to volunteer at mixed ability training sessions with the Walcott Warriors team and is now signed up to play for Bath Rugby Ladies – scoring two tries on her debut.

It is not just on the rugby pitch where Jade has excelled. A year after leaving school and facing an uncertain future, through her hard work and dedication she ended up with a choice of job offers on the table.

Read more about Jade's HITZ journey here

Bath Rugby Foundation’s Andy Smith said: “We have all watched Jade’s development over the past year with a huge amount of pride.

“She deserves all the credit for the praise she is now receiving."

Earlier this year, Jade was recognised by Bath Rugby Foundation when she was selected to be part of the Foundation's XV - 15 special individuals who appeared on the Bath Rugby Clash shirt.


Much to the delight of the Bath Rugby Foundation staff, Jade has accepted an offer to join the team as an apprentice sports coach.

“Jade was part of a brilliant group of HITZ students and we’re all very excited that she will now be a part of our team, supporting this year’s HITZ group.”

The hard task of whittling down the nominees to a final three fell to a group of judges, with Bath Rugby’s Jade, James Marshall of Gloucester Rugby and London Irish’s George Herbert getting the nod.

Jenny Smith, Sponsorship and Partnerships Manager at Jaguar Land Rover, said: "I felt that the judging of the HITZ nominees was a real privilege.

“It’s actually pretty humbling to read such inspirational stories. In the current climate, programmes such as HITZ are vital to ensure that these young adults feel part of society and are given opportunities that due to challenging life circumstances are not always open to them.”

“All of the submissions and results are a testament to the work that the HITZ officers and wider teams put in,” Jenny added.

“Using rugby as a tool to enable them to find their feet again in life after the levels of adversity they have faced make them all worthy winners."

This year’s glittering HITZ Awards will take place at the BT Centre on Wednesday 17 October where participants, mentors and rugby stars past and present will gather to celebrate the programme’s achievements. Follow all the action at @HITZRugby