A change to the season structure at age-grade level will provide greater opportunities for young players to showcase their abilities according to Dan Griffiths, who oversees the development pathway.
After consultation between the regions and the WRU over the course of the last year, the forthcoming season will see a change in the order of games played in the regional age grade system.
Instead of the Under 18 regional teams kicking off the season, this year will see the college league being the first to get underway in September with the Eyasses and their regional rivals playing their games later in the season.
The structural changes to the age grade system in Wales will benefit all and allow more opportunities for young players across Ospreylia as Dan Griffiths, Elite Performance Manager for the Ospreys, explains:
"The structure of the season is something we have been working hard on with the WRU. We really wanted to get to a kind of structure where the system stepped up and led to the regional age grade (RAG) competition being the most meaningful part. The pathway we have for the coming season means that the intensity will grow as the season progresses. That is exactly how it should be."
“Whereas previously we had RAG games right at the start of the season, and then went back to college rugby, now we have the college and school games at the start of the season. This system means that there is a natural progression from college, to age grade, to international rugby throughout the season.
“It's a much better structure as the players get a chance to get some rugby under their belts and show their form and ability before we go into the RAG season and the games go up in intensity.
“It also allow us to identify players that aren't already in the age grade system and gives them a chance to put their hand up for selection by showing how they perform under that kind of pressure against quality opposition. The upshot is that it provides more opportunities and will assist with our aims of building a broader player base that will strengthen the game right across the region.”