Christ College Brecon has teamed up with Cardiff Blues in a partnership aimed at developing rugby talent regardless of age or gender.
The new partnership strengthens Christ College’s existing relationship with Cardiff Blues which provides a direct link to coaching expertise, strength and conditioning programmes, performance analysis and player welfare support for the school’s first XV.
Working closely with Cardiff Blues, the school will expand upon its rugby provision with specialised coaching available to all its pupils through timetabled lessons and extracurricular activities, and a focus on providing development opportunities for girls and primary school pupils.
Cardiff Blues’ Education Coordinator, Dan Parry, will be heading up the programme, taking responsibility for advising the college’s rugby staff on implementing a clear performance pathway for all pupils, an elite development programme for boys and girls and identifying further enrichment opportunities for all players.
Dan will work closely with his regional rugby club, the Welsh Rugby Union and the Welsh Exiles to deliver the programme. He said: “I am looking forward to building upon our great relationship with Christ College Brecon to provide their students with further opportunities to engage with rugby and develop the next generation of elite players.
“This ambitious and inclusive programme will provide students with the chance to gain valuable experience and access to professional sport.”
Plans to encourage students to engage with the sport include creating a fun and enjoyable playing environment, female led coaching sessions for girls and helping sixth formers become sports leaders to support younger pupils. The elite team will continue to receive first class coaching.
Nadine Griffiths, Community Foundation Director at Cardiff Blues, said: “This partnership is a brilliant opportunity for all students to get involved with rugby and give the sport a try. We have worked closely with the school to develop a range of exciting initiatives to grow the game.”
As well as providing excellent opportunities to existing students, it is hoped that the programme will attract prospective students from England over the border as well as ensuring those with potential here in Wales, remain in Wales.
John Patterson, Christ College Brecon’s Director of Sport, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Cardiff Blues to enhance and expand our existing rugby provision to benefit current and future students. This is hugely exciting for the school and adds a first-class rugby programme to the outstanding educational opportunities that we offer.”
Gruff Rees, Cardiff Blues Academy Manager, added: “Cardiff Blues has a proud history of supporting young players and future stars, both through its Academy and work within the region.
“We have some great WRU A-licence schools and colleges in the region but our relationship with Christ College Brecon is another brilliant option for youngsters who may be tempted across the border.
“Through this inclusive partnership, the students of Christ College Brecon will benefit directly from our team’s expertise, guest speakers and training days and we are excited to see the players develop under this programme.”
Gareth Pearson, Head of Christ College Brecon, said: “I feel very lucky to count such an established club as the Cardiff Blues as one of our partners. We are committed to help retain rugby talent in Wales. Rugby is a precarious career so it is important that those with rugby aspirations safeguard their future by working hard to achieve the best possible academic results they can. At CCB we are perfectly placed to support both their rugby and academic aspirations.”