Players from Cardiff and Vale College’s Rugby Academy enlisted the help of Cardiff Blues legend Sam Warburton to give budding young rugby players the opportunity of a lifetime.
A group of 22 Year 8 pupils from Maesteg Comprehensive School made the trip to BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park to be put through their paces in an exclusive coaching session led by Warburton after winning a competition.
Supported by players from Cardiff and Vale College’s Rugby Academy, Warburton imparted some of his knowledge and too the young rugby fans through a series of drills and techniques in the hour-long session. Working in partnership with Cardiff blues, CAVC’s Rugby Academy allows young people to balance a rugby career against their education, encouraging success both on and off the pitch.
Maesteg Comprehensive teacher Tom Davies said: “The boys have been busting for this for a couple of weeks now, they’re really over the moon. Having Sam here has been amazing for them – there’s a really strong rugby culture in the school so this is something they can take back and tell their mates about.”
Warburton was assisted by CAVC Rugby Academy players Odin Pronk and Aaron Churchill. Odin said: “It’s been good – Sam’s not only teaching the younger boys but teaching us all to give better training and it’s a pleasure to work alongside him.”
Aaron added: “It’s a big deal and it’s been a big opportunity for the boys with Sam being here and gaining the insight of a professional.”
Sam Warburton said: “Maesteg Comprehensive School have won the chance to come down to the Arms Park to have a training session with myself and some of the Blues training officers. It was an opportunity presented by the Cardiff and Vale College and it’s nice that CAVC has provided the opportunity for them.
“There’s a couple of lads from the Cardiff and Vale College Rugby Academy that have come down and assisted as well. It’s great for the guys to come down and train on a historic ground and get some good advice from players and academy players from the local college – it’s a great opportunity.”
CAVC Director of Rugby Martin Fowler said: “The Academy boys that took part in the session are part of our programme which takes a broader approach to their development and they’ve all done two coaching courses with the WRU. They’ve had the opportunity not just to play the game and learn life skills as they are today and to do so in such esteemed company at such fantastic a venue is invaluable for their development.
“At CAVC we’re not trying to develop just a rugby player; we’re trying to develop a whole person in lots of ways such as rugby coaching, mentoring models, anything that can develop them outside of the rugby bubble.”
Speaking of the CAVC Rugby Academy, Warburton said: “It stands out when you see a kid who’s come through the academy set-up, for example at Cardiff and Vale College. I came through the Cardiff Blues Academy and they have that professional ethos – it’s not just about playing it’s about creating good habits off the field as well.”
Warburton continued: “I’ve been to Cardiff and Vale College and seen the gym facilities and it rivals what most of the regions have got, if not better than some professional clubs. The fact that the Rugby Academy guys have access to that at their age means that when they go to a professional level it will be a seamless trip for them which is great.”
CAVC Principal Kay Martin said: “At Cardiff and Vale College we are proud supporters of rugby so we are delighted to be able to offer the next generation of players this amazing opportunity. Getting a personal coaching session from a player as renowned as Sam Warburton is a fantastic experience and our Rugby Academy players will also benefit from tips and advice from someone at the highest level of the game.”