1st March 2011, 09:37
Two Welsh junior sides for Conference Youth League
Wales Rugby League are delighted that they will have two clubs...
Wales Rugby League are delighted that they will have two clubs in this season's Gillette Conference Youth League with both becoming the first Rugby League clubs in Wales to achieve Clubmark accreditation.
CPC Bears RLFC, who play at Carmarthen Athletic RFC, and the new North Wales Crusaders Junior RLFC, who will be based in Wrexham, will enter for the first time and will face each other in the opening match in Carmarthen on Sunday 13th March. This year's Gillette National Youth League will be competed by youngsters born between 1/1/1992 and 31/08/1995.
Clubmark is the only national cross sports quality accreditation scheme for clubs with junior sections. It is built around a set of core criteria which ensure that accredited clubs operate to a set of consistent, accepted and adopted minimum operating standards. It provides a focus around which all organisations involved in sport can come together to support good practice in sports clubs working with children and young people.
Dan Clements, Head of Performance for Wales Rugby League, said: "With two brand new teams playing in the Gillette National Youth League, we now have even more players being exposed to a higher level of rugby league in Wales, which is a huge boost for the game. This gives the players an opportunity to test themselves against similar opposition on a regular basis giving them a chance to develop in rugby league.
"On top of their inclusion in the GNYL, it's also great to see the first two clubs in Wales achieve Clubmark status. This is a huge achievement for them and the sport as it shows they are working hard at their infrastructure."
Both clubs have been placed in the Western Division of the competition where they will take on a number of junior sides from experienced Rugby League areas like Leigh, Wigan, Widnes, St Helens and Cumbria, and both are looking forward to the challenge.
The launch of North Wales Crusaders Juniors is the Crusaders Super League club's first attempt to organise a youth outfit in Wrexham. The official Crusaders Super League acadamies are still based in South Wales but following a trial last week in Wrexham which saw 40 under 18s attend, they are happy that youth development has extended to the whole of Wales.
Crusaders' Community Development Manager Matt Pritchard said: "We had a brilliant turn-out for the trials. It was a fantastic response and the enthusiasm that they put in on the night was very high. They gave 110% and their quality exceeded our expectations.
"This season will be a learning curve for us, especially the first couple of games. We'll be learning positions and testing the players. A lot of them are from rugby union backgrounds but some have played Rugby League before.
"To receive Clubmark accreditation means a lot to North Wales Crusaders. It means that we have everything the right structures in place. You need these targets to move on as a club and we can now start to develop our own players. There are more junior clubs starting in North Wales too at under 11 level so the sport is growing up here all the time."
CPC Bears are the representative side for Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion and are in only their second season of operation. Their under 17 side reached the Welsh Grand Final last year at that level and it is this side that will form the basis of their Gillette National Youth League squad.
"As a club we are very pleased that our application to play in the GNYL has been accepted," said CPC Bears chairman, Geraint Jones. "We see this competition as an exciting opportunity for West Wales players to prove themselves against teams from traditional Rugby League playing areas and with the Crusaders also entering a team based in North Wales, it will be tough season for us.
"It will be important for us to manage the travelling and ensure the squad see it as part of the match day experience and it shows the lads commitment to the sport. The club is eager to ensure that all of our players are given the chance to develop and display their talent to the full.
"It's a proud achievement for the CPC Bears to be one of the first two clubs in Wales to be awarded Clubmark accreditation. The process has made us stronger as a club as we have had to look closely at all aspects of where we are, what we want to achieve and the best way of doing so whilst ensuring all legal and safety issues are dealt with correctly."
For full updated fixtures for Rugby League in Wales, please go to http://www.walesrugbyleague.co.uk/cymru/fixtures.html.
For more information on the Gillette National Youth League, please go to http://www.nationalyouthleague.co.uk/fixtures?tf=&c=.
CPC Bears v North Wales Crusaders Juniors on Sunday 13th March at Carmarthen Athletic RFC kicks off at 1.30pm.