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National academy launched to support next generation of Welsh rugby talent

22/07/2020

South Wales college, Coleg y Cymoedd has teamed up with the Wales Rugby League to launch a brand-new dual academy aimed at supporting Wales’ future male and female professional rugby players.

The ‘Wales Rugby League National Development Academy’ will be the only dual academy in Wales officially accredited by the Rugby Football League.

Committed to producing the next generation of male and female rugby league talent, for the first time, the academy at Coleg y Cymoedd will be open to everyone aged 16-19, regardless of gender, and will offer a potential pathway to play in the Super League and international rugby league.

Designed to provide full-time education alongside professional training, the academy sees individuals train daily while also studying for a qualification such as A Levels, BTECs or vocational courses. They will also play competitive games together on a weekly basis, taking part in the British Colleges League and Cup competitions.

Wales Rugby League CEO, Gareth Kear, said: “We’re delighted that the partnership between Wales Rugby League and Coleg y Cymoedd has undertaken the official accreditation process with the Rugby Football League, and we have now achieved Dual Development Academy Status. This is the first and only accredited dual academy in Wales with a strategic plan to build the men’s and women’s game.”

The Wales Rugby League National Development Academy offers education alongside daily training regimes that are led by Mark Jones, the WRL’s national development manager, and Geraint Kettley - a level 4 strength and conditioning coach. They will be assisted by Wales Students’ head coach Paul Emanuelli, and Wales U19s assistant coach Wayne Ponting.

The programme, which aims to develop all players to an international standard, focuses on key areas including Strength and Conditioning, and Technical and Tactical development, while also providing an enjoyable experience of personal development for young athletes.

Mark Jones, national development manager at the academy said: “At Coleg y Cymoedd, we are very excited to be official partners with Wales Rugby League. We are very impressed with the work WRL is doing with its development pathways, and this partnership is a natural fit as Coleg y Cymoedd is currently the only college in Wales that offers a full time rugby league programme alongside a student’s education.

“We are now in a position to offer travel, kit and meal grants and we also provide self-funded local accommodation with host families for all players who live too far away to commute daily to the Academy. We are also looking into partnerships with Super League clubs, but we do not put any restrictions on teams that our players play for whilst at the Academy. If they would like to represent clubs local to them in the South Wales area, we will help them to locate suitable clubs to join.

“We’ve already had a success story in Kieran Lewis, who came through the WRL pathway, playing for Wales U16s, Coleg y Cymoedd RL, Wales U19s and Wales Students, before signing a professional contract with Huddersfield Giants Academy. We know there are more to come.”

For those who would like to attend the Wales Rugby League National Development Academy, please complete an online application form at https://www.cymoedd.ac.uk/en/course/33853/level-3-in-sport-rugby-league to reserve your spot, or email mark.jones01@cymoedd.ac.uk, or call Mark Jones on 07886 654933.

National academy launched to support next generation of Welsh rugby talent

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