This Sunday, the Wales Rugby League National Development Academy based at Coleg Y Cymoedd will play their first match against an International side when they take on the Italian U19’s at Barnaria Arsa in Northern Italy.
Through a successful bid for an Eramus Grant, Coleg Y Cymoedd were able to fund a 10-training day camp that replicates the demands of being a professional rugby league player, culminating in a match against the full Italy U19 side.
After competing at the European U19 Championships last September, WRL and Coleg y Cymoedd have formed an excellent working relationship with the Italian Rugby League Federation.
As part of the trip, WRL and Cymoedd staff, Mark Jones, Wayne Ponting and Rob Apsee are delivering an International Rugby League (IRL) Level 1 Coaching Course and an IRL match official course for the Italian contingent. Using a combination of online lessons and practical lessons, the WRL and Coleg y Cymoedd staff will be looking to qualify 20 Italian candidates, who will travel from various regions in Italy to be assessed on Saturday 1st July at Bella Italia Sports Village in Lignano where the College squad are staying. The squad will also support the Italians during their assessments. To trip will finish with a cultural visit to Venice for some sightseeing and shopping.
Jones said: “This is a huge opportunity for our players to experience the intensity of being a full-time athlete and the different culture of this stunning Italian region. It gives us great satisfaction that we are able to use our resources to strengthen and grow the game in Italy, this then in turn raises the standards of the European competitions in future years.”
Wales Rugby League National Development Academy based at Coleg Y Cymoedd side – community clubs listed below if applicable:
1. Brandon Richards (Bridgend Blue Bulls)
2. Finn Northrop (Bridgend Blue Bulls)
3. Oliver Ford (Aber Valley Wolves)
4. Rhys Davies (Aber Valley Wolves)
5. Luc Jones
6. Dafydd Morgan (Cardiff Blue Dragons)
7. Connor Lacey (Cynon Valley Cavaliers)
8. Alex Banks (Cynon Valley Cavaliers)
9. Mason Apsee (Rhondda Outlaws)
10. Cole MacDonald (Aber Valley Wolves)
11. Carter Barnes (Torfaen Tigers)
12. Jamie Jenkins (Cardiff Blue Dragons)
13. Calum Jones (Rhondda Outlaws)
14. Efan Pritchard
15. Rhodri Jones (Aber Valley Wolves)
16. Dylan Morgan (Cardiff Blue Dragons)