It seems like a long long time ago since we drove down to Cardiff to play on Friday 13th March 2020, only to turn around and head home without playing, so it certainly feels good to be back. I’ve no doubt you’ll have missed the games as much as we have. The impact this spell has had on clubs and players at this level has been huge with being unable to train and play for such a long period of time.
However, it’s sad to say the hardest hit are probably the youngsters in all this, those with aspirations to play at their highest possible level have missed out on a very significant development window, in which they would normally be working on their skills and in the gym 2-4 times a week, on top of playing ever-higher levels of competition. We have tried all sorts over the past 18 months to limit the damage, including a home gym and skills programmes, online conditioning sessions, online cooking sessions, rugby quizzes, and whenever possible we have gotten our age-grade groups together to do restricted training. Trying to make the most of a bad situation as they say.
From a Senior Academy point of view, to nullify the missed opportunities that our last two groups of U18s have experienced, we have moved a greater number of players forward into our Senior Academy programme. These 21 players have been training 3 days a week throughout the summer alongside the Premiership Squad. It has been a big challenge for them, they have had to learn quickly in order to compete with far more experienced players. At the weekend it was a real pleasure to see a good number of them returning to play for their North Wales clubs in the first round of the pre-Christmas Cup Competition, and have a positive impact on their team's performances.
In September a large number of these players will begin the first or second year of their undergraduate degrees at Bangor University and compete for the University 1st XV in the BUCS League. The partnership between RGC and Bangor University is growing ever stronger and ever more ambitious, and with such a significant number of Senior Academy and Premiership players now studying various courses at the university, it is a real priority to drive the university team up through the BUCS leagues providing another strong competition platform for developing players in north Wales.
Season 2021/22 Senior Academy Players:
Christian Hone (Mold RFC, formerly Rhyl & District RFC, Bangor University)
Cai Herdman (Newtown RFC, Bangor University)
Tommy Ellis (Mold RFC, Bangor University)
Morgan Bagshaw (Chester RFC)
Gabriel Mault (Welsh Exile)
Siencyn Metcalfe (Nant Conwy RFC)
Owen Williams (Mold RFC)
Sam Stoddart (Colwyn Bay RFC, Bangor University)
Carywn Jones (Nant Conwy RFC, Bangor University)
Rhys Cernyw (Nant Conwy RFC)
Steffan Simm (Rhuthin RFC)
Aaron Williams (Llandudno RFC, formerly Bethesda RFC, Bangor University)
Harry Roberts (Colwyn Bay RFC)
Ilan Evans (Ruthin RFC)
Sam Godfrey (Ruthin RFC)
Dafydd Thirsk (Caernarfon RFC)
Samuel Hughes (Pwllheli RFC)
Rhys Hamilton (Welsh Exile, Bangor University)
Tom Devine (Caernarfon RFC)
Harri Hughes (Ruthin RFC, Bangor University)
Dafydd Williams (Bethesda RFC)