Wales Rugby League




25th January 2013, 09:58



By Gary Baker


THE NEW Wales Schoolboys season gets into serious mode on Saturday as the squad and coaches get together for their first big training session.


And, with Test matches against England on the schedule for the campaign, head coach Dave Clark says it is a chance for many talented youngsters to shine this year.


Clark will be assisted by Andy Barlow and now-retired South Wales Scorpions ace Neil Dallimore, with Harrison Evans in the management set-up as trainer.


But with over ninty players to chose from after a brilliant Schoolboys Under-16 trials on January 12, it has been a headache for Wales RL to whittle that squad down to manageable propotions.


Clark is enthused by the prospect of leading such talented players, who may make their mark, as many others have done in the past, towards the senior national side in the future.


Clark said: "We had ninety kids turn up at the Open Trial who wanted to try out for the Wales Schoolboys which is a great start that there were so many who want to make the highest level.


"The squad has been dropped down to 24 and the first session is this Saturday (January 26) so that is just about greeting everyone and introducing the staff.


"We will do a bit of conditioning work and find out where the players are condition-wise, what levels they are and where we need to get to.


"We will do some skills work as well but the day is more about the players where we come up with some trademarks and where they want Wales Rugby League to be through this process this year so it is interesting times for Wales Rugby League."


Clark, who is working with Wales RL as part of their partnership with Wigan Warriors, said it was great to have people like Barlow, Dallimore and Evans on board.


He knows Dallimore, who retired through injuries, well from their time as coach and player at the Scorpions.


Clark added: "It is fantastic. It opens up a pathway for him in coaching. He has had a league career with the Scorpions and he will bring a lot as a coach to the national side. He knows the game and is passionate about the game."


The Scholarship Under-16 programme has also brought some excellent talent forward to the Schoolboys. Clark added: "I think there are something like 18 players out of 24 which have been selected from the Scholarship so that is good for us to say we have got the kids locally.


"It is good for us to say we have got the majority of the kids locally which is great to see the nucleus of the squad coming from the Scholarship. There are others who have come in from Super League sides up north so there will be a good blend of those players who are already in that Super League environment along with those players who are getting some good coaching from the Scholarship and their coach Lee Cullen."


Clark thinks the Test matches against England will be 'challenging' but added: "I am sure the boys will go into the game full of confidence and will bring their Welsh spirit with them. "


See Dave Clark's preview of the new Schoolboys season on video in full on this site's Home Page.