WALES Rugby League have launched the latest initiative to help youngsters into the sport with a new West Wales Regional Performance Development Centre in Whitland.
Robert Newsome OBE, headteacher of Ysgol Dyffryn Taf in Whitland, Caermarthenshire, Mark Rowley, general manager of the Wales Rugby League, and Andy Coley, liaison manager for Wigan Warriors attached to the Wales RL, officially opened the new facility on Monday (November 12).
The Regional Performance Development Centre is one of only three in Wales, and follows the opening of the Elite Performance Centre in Deeside last month.
The new Whitland centre is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities that help youngsters, especially those new to rugby league, to get to grips with the sport.
It is aimed at bringing together local Under-14 players from the various regions of West Wales so that they can be receive training from the Wales Rugby League performance coaching staff.
The players, drawn from local clubs and schools, can be identified by the WRL staff and come together in weekly sessions to work on the core skills of rugby league.
Then, at the end of each block of work, they will play against the other two regional centres in Wales which will give them a chance to showcase their talents.
Players can then enter the Wales Rugby League pathway through the Under-16 South Wales Academy that can lead to great things in the future.
There are about 25 players at each centre, and Rowley said: “West Wales has an enormous rugby heritage and culture. It is outstanding for the development of rugby league among the teenage age groups in this part of the Principality to have a centre such as this.
“The Wales Rugby League are extremely grateful to Mr Newsome and his staff for all the help and support they have given us in developing this centre. We look forward to talented players enjoying rugby league in the future and taking the steps along our established pathways that can lead to a Welsh international jersey.”