U16s take a break

Four weeks into the new WRU Regional Age Grade season, the competition now breaks until February while the U18 College and Schools competition takes centre stage.

With the development pathway focus switching from the two Ospreys U16 teams to the Colleges League, we look at the season to date and how the players involved at U16 level can continue to strive towards regional involvement.

Despite a loss in their first match of the season, the Ospreys East Under 16's have had a successful campaign so far, winning the next three games including a final week 43 - 0 defeat of the Scarlets West side.

The team from the West of Ospreylia however have had a less successful time of it. After receiving a bye in the first week they have gone three weeks in a row without a win although will be taking heart from two very close results.

With the players now returning to School and Club rugby where they will take part in the Welsh and Ospreys Cups they will be continued to be monitored before the league returns early next year.

With nobodies place in the squad guaranteed, performance and attitude is all important as players can make an impression and step up from the development league or be brought into the Ospreys pathway from their schools and clubs.

Dan Griffiths, Elite Performance Manager, explained:

"With the first block of the Under 16's season now finished the players will go back to their schools and clubs and the talent ID process will kick back in to see if there is anyone standing out in their performances. All players receive extensive individual feedback from this round of games and so they know what they have to work on and we'll be monitoring them as well as looking at other players not yet identified.

"With the 16’s players now going back to their schools and clubs, and the U18 college league restarting, I can't emphasise enough how the pathway is in place to allow all players the opportunity to come in at any stage based on their performances.

“We'll be looking at the college league with a view to seeing who's playing well as everyone matures and develops at different points during age grade rugby. If you perform and play well at any age or grade there is always an opportunity. We don’t operate an academy system which focuses on a narrow group of players, we want to grow the player base at all levels of the community game and our pathway supports in that aim.”

This week sees a return of the WRU Wednesday Under 18 League where Schools and Colleges from around Wales compete for the Cup and Trophy.

Last season Gower College Swansea narrowly missed out on a spot in the upper tier of the competition after a shock win by Cowbridge over group leaders Coleg Sir Gar on the final day. However Dan Cluroe's made good on their promise to go on and win the Trophy competition, doing so with two games remaining.

Bridgend College did make the top tier of the competition in 2014/15 but unfortunately struggled only winning three games from ten and ultimately finished bottom of the league.

NPTC will also be hoping for a better season after a disappointing campaign last year. The college won only one game in the whole competition. However with Duncan Jones now at the college as WRU School's Rugby Officer they are optimistic of a better year.

The competition is an excellent opportunity for young players to put themselves in contention for the RAG Under 18's season, which kicks off in February. The Ospreys Age Grade coaches work closely with the three Ospreylian colleges and watch to scout players as yet not picked up by the RAG system as well as monitoring performances of players already coming through the player pathway.