7 September 2017
Principality National Youth Leagues kick off
There is excitement at the start of the WRU National Youth Leagues season which kicks off officially this weekend, and is sponsored for the first time by Principality Building Society.
Some 148 teams from all corners of Wales are participating in the Leagues this season, all hoping to emulate last year’s National Playoff winners Bridgend Athletic.
As well as its continued support for Welsh Rugby’s top domestic division, the Principality Premiership, the Building Society has committed to boosting the national game at all levels, sponsoring the youth league for 16-19 year olds for the coming year.
Julie-Ann Haines, Customer Director at Principality Building Society, said: “We’ve got a long history of supporting grassroots level rugby across Wales. Extending our partnership with WRU to sponsor the Principality Youth League is a perfect fit, maintaining the health and wellbeing of young people in every community in Wales. We’re looking forward to an exciting season ahead as the rising stars in Welsh rugby battle it out for their teams.”
During the season Principality and the WRU will be offering the National Youth League teams the chance to win tickets to events at Principality Stadium, there will be Try of the Month prizes, as well as financial education classes led by the Society.
The teams in the Blues BA Division kick off their season this weekend with the likes of last year’s finalists Rumney Youth hosting Merthyr Youth and Mountain Ash travelling to Pontypridd. In the Dragons Region, Dragons A newcomers Newbridge welcome former National Playoff winners Penallta and in Dragons B, Risca take on St. Julians. In the newly formed North Wales (Gogledd) NW League, last year’s national semi-finalists Nant Conwy host Bangor on Saturday while in the NE League there is a local derby between Mold and Denbigh after both clubs kicked off their season while in last weekend and in the Scarlets region, Ammanford host Llandeilo in the SC Division after both clubs were victorious last weekend.
WRU Head of Rugby Participation Ryan Jones said: “Youth rugby is a vital element of the community rugby pathway and a key element of any thriving rugby club. Following a review of the adult and youth male club game, we are working with clubs to strengthen and modernise the organisation of the youth game and to help the transition between junior and youth rugby and between the youth and senior game. We are thrilled to be working with Principality Building Society to support and raise the profile of youth rugby.”
Current champions Bridgend Athletic kick off their defence of their Ospreys OA title on Saturday 16th September with a home clash against newcomers and last year’s OD winners Swansea Uplands Youth. Father and son coach and captain Lee and Joe Grabham explained the camaraderie that helped the team achieve success last season and that is such an important part of youth club rugby.
Joe said: “I’ve been with the club for about 12 years now. I always look forward to games especially big league or cup games. Team mates in school are the same and even with boys in different schools, we’re really close, we treat each other like brothers.
Coach Lee added, “The club is a great home from home. The boys are really tight on and off the field. Even when they’re not playing they come to the club on a Friday evening to play a game of pool and look forward to the game the next game.
“As a coach it’s a great feeling to see the hard work come off when the boys score a great team try, but equally it’s good to see them bond as a group of friends.”
Principality. Where home matters.