Newport RFC are three quarters of the way through our pre-season friendlies that we have lined up in readiness for the coming season. These matches are not only vital in the preparation of the squad for the challenges that lie ahead but an opportunity for us to give young local talent a chance to prove themselves. It allows the coaches to see what they have to offer and for them to experience what it takes to play at this level.
Louis Pullen and Dray Jack-Griffin who have featured in both of these games are the latest off the Newport High School production line that have pulled on the Black and Amber Jersey. They follow in the footsteps of the likes of Lennon Greggains, Josh Reynolds, Tom Workman, Daf Buckland, Will Reid, and George Young to name but a few, who, all under the development of Rob Sidoli and his coaches at the High school have gone on to represent this world-famous club.
As a club we are passionate about the development of young players, along with The Friends of Newport Rugby Trust who have been huge supporters of grassroots rugby in Newport since its formation and have regularly provided financial support to local schools, clubs, and their junior sections. Newport High School proudly wear the FoNR logo on their jersey as a demonstration of these links. The Newport Schools 7’s tournament is also sponsored by FoNR every year and they invite along children from local schools and clubs to form ‘Guards of Honour’ and to act as Mascots for every home game.
We recognise that not all players develop at the same rate and if they haven’t been picked up by the academy system, it’s important that these young players realise that it’s not the end of the road for them and we are committed to giving opportunities through the schools and as such we have built up long and strong relationships with a number of educational institutions in the area.
The relationship between Bassaleg and Newport is an historical one with many former pupils such as Stuart Barnes, The Callard brothers and Malcom Thomas playing for the club and current Assistant Headteacher Marc Batten and DOS for Nutrition & Fitness Justin Thomas both former players.
The school has a fantastic new 4G pitch and facilites that we use as our training base and we have recently brought on board the schools WRU hub officer Darren Venn to assist us with our coaching and analysis needs and we will work in collaboration with him to cement a pathway and player identification process that allows us to be aware at an early stage of emerging talent and bring them in to our environment when appropriate. The partnership also involves allowing the school use of our equipment, resources and tapping into our knowledge. We have Invested in their analysis equipment/software in order to help pupils review and reflect on training sessions to aid their progression and our expertise particularly on the medical side has been invaluable with an incident that occurred whilst we were on site.
As a club we are fast approaching our 150th anniversary in season 2024-2025, an incredible landmark and its imperative that we keep the name and history of Newport RFC alive and provide the youngsters a chance to fulfil a dream of representing their City, their Club, their Colours.