Six talented youngsters will make up a new Dragons Elite Performance Squad in the 2023 season.
The year 10 (under 15s) boys will attend a number of the Wales under 16s training camps throughout the year to accelerate their physical and technical development. The players will not be available for selection for the under 16s fixtures, but could be called upon if any of the squad are hit by injury.
Under 16s head coach, Paul Berry, commented: “We had a fantastic turnout at the three trial sessions and as well as good numbers, there was plenty of quality. We noticed as coaching staff that a number of players who had been part of the under 16s camps last year had clearly benefitted from that experience and the exposure to extra skills sessions, and the strength and conditioning programme.
“The idea of the Dragons Elite Performance Squad is to provide more players with the chance to benefit outside of the main 24-player squad and put them and us in a stronger position next year.
“It’s testament to the coaches working in junior clubs and on the Origin programme that we are in this position to have a bigger playing pool. The partnership with Salford Red Devils is really starting to flourish with two players signing Super League contracts this year as well as another cohort of Wales players appearing for their U18s Academy team and U16s Scholarship team over the past couple of months.
“We had such numbers in the trial sessions and a number of those players have gone and registered at one of their community clubs, having not played for a club before.
“There’s lots to be positive about with the pathway for young players in Wales, and this is another example of that.”
The six players in the Dragons Elite Performance Squad for 2023 are:
Cai Atkins | Aber Valley Wolves | Ebbw Fawr Learning Community
Oliver Jenkins | Bridgend Blue Bulls | Dŵr Y Felin Comprehensive School
Oscar Jones | Bridgend Blue Bulls | Ysgol Gyfun Gwyr
Juris Kesans | Bridgend Blue Bulls | Ysgol Bryntawe
Hudson Nevin | Bridgend Blue Bulls | Llandovery College
Ryan Blyth | Bridgend Blue Bulls | Gowerton Comprehensive School
The under 16s squad for 2023 will be announced on Wednesday.