As part of their England Talent Pathway Programmes local rivals Castleford Tigers and Wakefield Trinity have teamed up to run extended player development opportunities for Under 15’s and 16’s players who are not currently involved on a scholarship programme.
Aligned to the RFL’S Category 3 academy programme this project will offer further player development opportunities for local under 15’s and 16’s players with a further pathway available onto the respective club’s college programmes at Castleford Academy (formerly Castleford High) and Wakefield College.
Each club will run a timetable of training sessions leading up to playing opportunities were players will be able to showcase their skills. It is anticipated this open access programme will provide further participation and development opportunities for young players who have aspirations to progress into the professional game, including potential talent transfer athletes from other sports.
Speaking on the announcement of the project Tigers Talent Development Manager Darren Higgins, “It’s great to be working with Wakefield Trinity and our respective education partners to offer extended development opportunities. As club’s we recognise the game is a late specialisation sport and a players pathway into Super League is not always a straight forward one via scholarship and academy programmes.
“Moving forward we fully anticipate to recruit players into our under 19’s programme via our new education partnership with Castleford Academy who offer player development and college rugby alongside sixth form provision as we work towards category 3 status.”
Wakefield Trinity’s Community Development Manager James Stephenson added, “Having had a great working relationship with Daz Higgins at Castleford Tigers and sharing the same visions for player development it made complete sense to join together and offer this leading opportunity for youth players who may have missed out on the scholarship pathway.
“We have a prime example here at Trinity in James Batchelor who was overlooked through the junior talent identification process but was part of our CAT 3 academy 18 months ago at Wakefield College and has since played for England RL Academy touring Australia and also has secured a 5yr first team contract with us. We hope to see more and more late developers following this route that could become part of our first team”.
The development sessions will run through the summer holidays for Wakefield’s programme whilst Castleford’s will commence at the start of July with both clubs hosting a game at their respective stadiums.