The WRU Exiles programme continues to flourish and the next series of Exiles camps for young Welsh qualified players based outside Wales are about to take place.
In recent years an increasing number of Exiles have been involved with Wales national age grade squads and several are expected to tour South Africa with Wales u18s next month.
WRU National Exiles Officer Gareth Davies said: “The Exiles programme is a very important part of our strategic plan. In the last three years we have had a huge increase in the number of players involved with the Exiles and there are now well over a thousand young players involved in the programme, some based overseas. It’s important that we engage with every single one of them and their families without them having to make long journeys into Wales, so the one-day camps are an important part of the programme. It’s impossible to involve them all in Exiles fixtures and events which take place in Wales.
“The players will benefit from coaching sessions conducted by some of the top age-grade coaches in Wales and will have an opportunity to develop their skills and learn new techniques. Regardless of their current standard, our aim is to engage with all Welsh qualified players and help them maximise their potential.
Wales under 18s Head Coach Chris Horsman said: “The Exiles programme provides an extremely important part of our national age grade player identification pathway and a number of Exiles players impressed us last season. Nineteen Exiles were selected to take part in the Wales u18s training squad last season and eight were eventually capped during the Six Nations u18 Tournament. Others will be selected to join us on the forthcoming South Africa tour. International rugby provides different challenges and such opportunities are very rare. These events were a great experience for the Exiles boys and it demonstrates that the Exiles programme can provide a credible pathway into national age grade rugby”.
Gareth Davies added: “The Exiles programme has very strong links with the four professional Regions in Wales as well as with the rugby playing universities in Wales where players can combine their academic progress and rugby development. It’s important that we focus on their education too, it’s not just about rugby. Relationships with the main rugby playing independent schools in Wales are also very important and a number of Exiles come into Wales every year for their 6th form studies and to link up with regional age grade groups. “
“The Premiership in Wales also provides a great opportunity for young Exiles and 18 year old Morgan French (Worcestershire) and 19 year old Tom Williams (Essex) have just joined Llanelli RFC where they will be monitored by the Scarlets”.
The next one-day WRU Exiles camps will take place in:
Players (aged 12 – 18) need to have been born in Wales or have one parent born in Wales or have one Grandparent born in Wales. For further information about the forthcoming camps and the WRU Exiles programme new Exiles players are invited to register with the WRU at http://www.wru.wales/exiles. Twitter followers can find the WRU Exiles @welshexiles