Welsh college rugby matches will be broadcast live on S4C’s website over the coming weeks and there will also be a special highlights package on TV on S4C.
The best talents from Wales’ Under 18 generation will compete for the College League Championship. But who will be the next George North or Scott Williams? This is the nursery that might provide the answer.
Glamorgan College are set to challenge Bridgend College in the first live match to be streamed live on the website, www.s4c.co.uk/rygbi on Wednesday, 18 April.
A special highlights package on S4C on Tuesday, 24 April will feature the best of the week’s college and Under 18s rugby matches in Wales. The series will also give an insight into how rugby at this level affects the game’s development in general.
Russell Isaac, the series’ producer, says, "This is the first time for S4C to broadcast rugby matches exclusively online and it’s a great development. The series will pay particular attention to the Welsh Rugby Union’s policies and campaigns regarding talent development and attracting future players outside the region’s Academy structures. This is how winger George North developed his talent. The WRU’s main aim is to attract more youngsters to play so that it can increase competition for places."
During the season, seven colleges have battled for the Championship. At the start of May, the two teams leading the league will compete in the final, where one team will be crowned the winner and take home the silverware.
"College rugby attracts a great number of supporters to the traditional Wednesday afternoon games and now we’ll be giving the players a stage to show their talents on S4C. Who knows, we may see many of them starring on the international stage in years to come. That is certainly the hope of the Welsh Rugby Union. It’s an important development for Welsh rugby," explains Russell.
Head Coach, Warren Gatland is very supportive of the campaign. By expanding and increasing the number of colleges and possibly schools competing in the league next season – including Llandovery College – the WRU hopes to emulate structures in New Zealand and South Africa. In those countries, talented young players receive much encouragement but rather than having a small nucleus of elite players, the quality improves and there’s an increase in the number of players.
Tuesday 24 April 9.30pm, S4C
A Sports Media Services production for S4C