The regional development pathway operated by Cardiff Blues brings together the best junior players from Cardiff, Vale of Glamorgan, Rhondda Cynon Taff and South Powys with the aim of guiding them into the senior professional team through semi-professional rugby, schools/colleges and of course, the Blues Academy.
We all know the names such as Sam Warburton, Lloyd Williams, Kristian Dacey, Dan Fish and Jamie Roberts who have come through that academy, so read below and get to know the next set of faces that could become heroes of the Arms Park, or even Wales.
These are the players in the second tier of the academy, still a few years off Pro12 action just yet, but likely to be involved in British and Irish Cup action, as well as maybe Anglo-Welsh Cup, but mostly for their allocated Welsh Premiership sides.
The players of the senior academy are included in the senior team report which can be found here to start: https://cardiffbluesblog.com/category/team-report/front-row/
The 18 year-old loosehead prop’s physical stats are already quite impressive, standing at 6ft2 and weighing nearly 19st. After playing for Cowbridge Comprehensive in the WRU College League he has moved up to Cardiff RFC this season, while he also has Wales U18 honours, being named captain of the side.
Also 18, he has followed a similar career path to Rhys Carre, only exchanging Cowbridge for Coleg y Cymoedd and Cardiff RFC for Pontypridd RFC. The hooker also has Wales U18 honours but weighs less than his loosehead colleague, tipping the scales at 15st.
Another former Coleg y Cymoedd pupil, the 18 year old is currently attending Cardiff Metropolitan University and turning out for their side in the WRU Championship. Playing at tighthead he is a Cardiff boy, coming through the junior ranks at Rhiwbina and St Peter’s, and has Wales U18 honours.
Former St Bede’s school first XV captain Novell has previously spent time with England U18s before switching to Cardiff’s academy system. The 19 year old has been allocated to Pontypridd this season where he has made a number of second row appearances.
The 19 year old captained the Cardiff Blues U18 side last season and has Wales U18 honours. A former Coleg y Cymoedd pupil he already stands at 6ft7, being most at home in the second row, although can cover at 6 if required.
Much will be made of the 18 year old being the grandson of Ian and son of Liam, but he could well turn out a fine player in his own right. Born and raised in Yorkshire the flanker has made appearances for Wales U18 before moving over the bridge permanently to join the academy.
19 year-old out-and-out openside who featured for Wales U20s in last season’s U20 Six Nations and Junior World Championship. Also come out of Coleg y Cymoedd, has previously been allocated to Pontypridd but turning out f0r Cardiff RFC this season as he furthers his development.
Another back rower, the Cowbridge Comprehensive graduate is already 6ft2 and 16.5st, at just 19 years-old. Another with Wales honours he is likely to be an 8 or 6, but has not appeared much in semi-professional rugby as of yet.
The final back rower in Tier Two is another former Wales U18 captain. A Cardiff boy he has come through Jamie Roberts former school, Ysgol Glantaf, and played junior rugby for Llandaff RFC. At home with a number eight on his back.
The 18 year-old Coleg y Cymoedd student is a hot prospect amongst Welsh scrum-halves. After gaining Wales U18 honours last season he has gone on to feature for Pontypridd RFC this year and also turned out for Cardiff Blues 7s in the pre-season Premiership 7s tournament.
The Treorchy junior has come through the Cardiff academy ranks alongside being a Coleg y Cymoedd student and has received Wales U18 honours. The 18 year old has turned out for Pontypridd RFC this season, and shifted from a fly-half to more of a centre.
Has followed a similar career to Declan Williams, but started out at Porth RFC rather than Treorchy. The 19 year old has Wales U16 caps and has also gone through Coleg y Cymoedd’s system as more of a centre/winger.
The 19 year-old wing has been in and around the Cardiff Blues academy system for a few years now. The Wales U18 cap come through the Rumney RFC junior section and is now allocated to Merthyr RFC’s Welsh Premiership squad.