The Urdd Eisteddfod was the setting for a new partnership agreement between Llandovery RFC, Llandovery College and University of Wales Trinity St David writes Huw S Thomas.
The launch was attended by WRU Chairman Ieuan Evans, visiting the Maes in his official capacity as well as being a life-long supporter of Urdd Gobaith Cymru.
The milestone partnership’s aim will be to offer academic and playing opportunities for students at Wales’s premier rugby playing independent school with a view to continuing their academic studies at Trinity St David and their rugby development with close neighbours Indigo Premiership champions Llandovery.
The links between the three parties are unique in that it was St David’s College and Llandovery College who played the first competitive game of rugby in Wales back in 1866 and then, in 1881, both Lampeter RFC and Llandovery RFC became founder members of the Welsh Rugby Union.
The celebrated Victorian sportsman, CP Lewis attended the founding meeting at the Castle Hotel in Neath on March 12 1881, representing both Llandovery College where he was a master and the town.
Gareth Potter, one of Llandovery RFC’s current coaches, recently joined the Trinity St David Academy of Sport as a Rugby Coordinator and will be a key man in the development of the partnership.
A former Ammanford RFC captain, Potter has vast experience in rugby coaching and performance analysis at the highest level and, with his sharp eye for talent, is in the ideal position to co-ordinate the aims and aspirations of rugby players at school, university and rugby club circles..
And with Drovers Head coach Euros Evans also Director of Rugby at Coleg Sir Gar, Potter at the rugby helm in Trinity St David and star Drovers back Adam Warren – teaching at Llandovery College – the way is set for a bright future of opportunity for rugby loving youngsters in West Wales.
“The services that all parties provide will give a typical student a five year pathway where they can train and play at the highest level in college, university sport and semi-pro rugby whilst also achieving their academic goals.” said Potter
The agreement is a landmark in that it is the first such scheme between a semi pro club, school and university.
Drovers chairman Peter Rees was full of optimism for the initiative
”Obviously, there will be minimum academic and rughy ability requirements but as a club we will be delighted to work hand in hand with the College and Trinity St David to help develop talent in this part of Wales.”
“The semi pro game in Wales is at a crossroads but we, as a club with ambition, see this tripartite link up as a way of strengthening the Indigo Premiership in the coming years,”
Llandovery College Warden Dominic Findlay was equally upbeat.
“The College is delighted to expand its post 18 opportunities for our ambitious and talented young rugby players. Linking up formally with the Drovers and UWTSD is really positive news and we look forward to seeing our students follow this new pathway “
“It will, too, be a great help in keeping bright Welsh qualified boys and girls in Wales to the benefit of all levels of the game.”
Photo 1 left to right
Warden of Llandovery College, Dominic Findlay, Chairman Llandovery RFC Peter Rees, Prof Dylan E Jones, Deputy Vice Chancellor UWSTD sign up for the new rugby partnership between the three bodies
Photo 2 left to right
Pictured at the launch in Llandovery
WRU Chairman Ieuan Evans, Gareth Potter (Head of rugby UWSTD), Peter Rees (Chairman, Llandovery RFC), Prof. Dylan E Jones (Deputy Vice Chancellor UWSTD ), Venerable Randolph Thomas (Chair of Council UWSTD), Dominic Finlay (Warden Llandovery College), Gwilym Dyfri Jones (Provost Carmarthen Campus UWSTD)