Masks, Sanitiser, Personalised water-bottles, limited contact, etc etc, just as the rest of the world has had to adapt to the new normal so also have the returning RGC Age-Grade squads as they started back training.
Normally the Summer would see the younger boys from the previous season's Under 18s join up with their counterparts from the Under 16s to form this year's 18s. However the lack of competitive rugby over the last 15 months meant that the decision was taken to keep the 2 age-groups apart. The older age-group training with Head Coach Andrew Williams assisted by Gav Hodgkinson, who moved from a successful stint as Head Coach of the 16s, and a larger than usual group of 16s (17s come September 1st) being coached by RGC Senior players Afon Bagshaw, Sam Williams, Joey Simpson and Danny Cross together with age-grade stalwart Paul Shanks. Receiving mentoring in this role from Latham Tawhai it is hoped that this coaching cohort will develop into performance coaches of the future.
This season's Under 18 and Under 16 Regional Age-Grade programme, fixtures against the other Welsh Regions, does not start until January but for the 17s there are 3 friendlies taking place this month. They travel to Ystrad Mynach on the 15th and 22nd August to face the Dragons North & South sides before finishing with a home fixture at Parc Eirias on 29th August against Cardiff. KO 1.30pm.
These games will provide the players involved with their first taste of Regional Rugby before they join up with the squad from the year above to prepare for the games in the New Year.
Both age-groups have thus far shown a massive amount of enthusiasm and determination to put to one side the obstacles placed in their path by Covid, something for which everyone at RGC is very grateful for.
RGC Performance Manager Josh Leach is pleased to see how the players and coaching group have adapted in the last couple of months -
“This U17s group of players have come together from their respective RGC East, RGC South, and RGC West squads to form one RGC U17s group. It has been fun to watch them gel over the summer as they have become very close, with some great characters in the group. You can see they have enjoyed training together, and are very clearly excited at the thought of playing the upcoming games. Given the year we’ve had, these games are purely about these boys going out to enjoy playing matches again, to enjoy the challenges and experiences of playing representative rugby.”