Wales Rugby League is pleased to announce that Paul Berry has been appointed as the new Head of Youth
The 39-year-old first joined Wales Rugby League in 2019 as assistant to Lee Crooks as part of the U16’s programme. In 2021, he was promoted to head coach of the Wales U17 side in the one year that it ran post-Covid and has since been head coach of Wales U16.
In that position, he has been one of the most successful youth coaches in Wales Rugby League history, leading Wales to home and away wins over England in 2022 and this year, in the first ever U16 Four Nations, he coached Wales to a title win after beating Ireland, Scotland and England Community Lions.
Club-wise, he has spent over a decade working for Warrington Wolves as part of their junior development and scholarship programmes and will remain in his current position at Warrington alongside his Wales role. He has also spent time on the player pathway staff as Salford Red Devils, and was also one of the coaches who famously led Rochdale Hornets to a League 1 promotion final win in Toulouse.
In Berry’s new role which starts immediately, he’ll oversee all boys programmes from U14 up to U18, and will continue as head coach of the under 16s. He says: “I’m delighted to be asked to take on this new role with Wales Rugby League. It is important moving forward that there are the right structures in place throughout our junior boys’ pathways to allow our players the best opportunity to improve and develop as rugby league players.
“The volume of players playing the game at the junior age grades in Wales has increased remarkably over the past few years and we now need to increase the quality of players coming through to offer them the best opportunity to progress and stay in the game through to U18 level and then with a professional club.
“We’re currently reviewing the 2023 U16s and U18s programmes and once that is complete we’ll plan for 2024, which will include a Four Nations competition for U16s and a European competition for the U18s where we hope to improve on our third place finish in 2022.”
WRL general manager Mark Jones said: “I’m delighted that Paul has accepted his new role at Wales Rugby League. Over the last three years, Paul’s success at Wales Rugby League has been second to none and his professionalism, especially is regards to organisation of the whole U16 programme, has been highly praised by players, staff and parents.
“With him now managing our pathways for all boys aged 12-18 years old, I’m sure we’ll see significant progress in regards to players staying with rugby league when they reach adulthood, hopefully in Super League, which will see a stronger men’s side. Paul’s appointment is a significant investment for the future of Wales men’s rugby league.”