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Cardiff and Vale College’s Rugby Academy team is jetting out to Japan to represent Wales at a prestigious international rugby tournament.

Now in its 12th year, the Sanix World Rugby Youth Invitational Tournament is held every year in Fukuoka prefecture in Japan. Teams participate by invitation only, and are chosen because of their high standard.

The tournament has become renowned as the pinnacle of youth rugby, with the champions being considered the strongest youth team in the world.

The only other UK college taking part in the tournament is Exeter College. The CAVC Rugby Academy, which is made up from students across CAVC who are studying a range of different courses, will travel out to Japan on 25th April.

Martyn Fowler, Director of Rugby at Cardiff and Vale College, said: “Thirty of our finest young men are looking forward to representing the College, its Rugby Union, Cardiff Blues and the Welsh Rugby Union with great pride at the 2019 Sanix World Youth Tournament.

“Our third fixture is against favourites St Peters College Cambridge, representing New Zealand. This offers the boys the opportunity to face the formidable haka – a genuine privilege as not many teams or indeed individual players get an opportunity to do so.

“Teams representing Uruguay, South Africa, Russia, Korea and Australia will be competing with six additional teams from all parts of Japan. This is without question the tour of a lifetime – you can enjoy a rugby career of 15 years and never have the opportunity to be invited on a tour of this nature to a destination so rare and significant in a World Cup year.

“We are looking forward to fully immersing ourselves in the Japanese culture and hope to amplify the good name of Cardiff and Vale College and Wales on an international stage both on and off the pitch.”

The squad has also been through a programme of training with the Welsh Rugby Players Association and Colegau Cymru to prepare them for their first international tour and to help them better understand Japanese language and culture.

The Rugby Academy squad captain will be 17-year-old Evan Lloyd from Penarth.

“I cannot wait – taking part in this tournament is going to be really good,” Evan said. “It will be a new experience for all of us; I don’t think any of the boys have played against teams from Fiji, Australia and New Zealand so it’s going to be really good for all of us.

“I’m excited about going to Japan. From what we’ve seen in our training sessions it looks really good.

“Rugby is my main focus at the moment and I want to see how far I can go with that. Being part of the Rugby Academy is a massive help in getting on to a regional or national team.

“Experiences like representing Wales in Japan will allow me to see teams from other countries and learn from them as well.”

CAVC Principal Kay Martin said: “It is an honour to be invited to participate in the Sanix World Youth Tournament. Only the best of the best are invited and this is a fantastic, life-changing opportunity for our Rugby Academy players - I wish them all the best of luck in the contest.

“Many of our Rugby Academy players will be sitting exams in June and they have all had to work hard to ensure they got a seat on the plane. They will have a number of revision sessions while in Japan to make sure they are ready for their A Level exams in the summer.”

Cardiff and Vale College’s Rugby Academy is made up of students from across the College who are studying a range of vocational and academic courses. The Academy is provides a supportive and specialist environment that combines first-class coaching and sports facilities with the College’s expanding portfolio of courses. Players can progress in their sporting careers while studying at the College.

The CAVC Rugby Academy has attracted welcome support from a range of partners and sponsors. Supporting partners include Principality Building Society, Cardiff Blues, Aston Martin, Hodge Bank, Cardiff Bay Rotary Club, Genero Group and Limegreentangerine, Moss Bros and Macron.

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