Glyndŵr University providing elite strength and conditioning training to North Wales Crusaders U18s
December 9 2015
Teenage rugby league players are being provided with elite level strength and conditioning similar to the Warrington Wolves in a bid to help them become professionals.
Glyndŵr University’s health and wellbeing officer, Marcus Jones, is delivering a fitness programme for the North Wales Crusaders 24-strong Under 18s squad ahead of the 2016 season.
The players are 16-17 years old and compete for the Crusaders in the North West Counties Youth League, where they finished third last season and reached a cup final.
Two Glyndŵr University Sports Coaching students, Luke O’Keefe and Chris Wharton, are also assisting Allen Jones, head coach of the North Wales Crusaders under 18s, with weekly coaching sessions.
Allen said: “We’re pleased that the university is letting us use the facilities – and they are fantastic facilities – and we’re very grateful for the help we’re getting from the staff at Glyndŵr.
“We need powerful rugby league players with a strong core so there is method in our madness. Their strength and conditioning fitness is being complemented by the coaching sessions, which focus on key rugby league skills such as passing, catching, tackling, kicking and footwork.
“The under 18 boys are a highly talented and successful group of players so what we’re already reaping the benefits of what we’re doing with them.
The end game for us is in two years’ time. We want some of those boys to be pushing for contracts with the North Wales Crusaders – that’s the whole point of what we’re doing.
"And we’re confident that there are players within the group who can go on to achieve that if they work hard enough.”
The development of the Crusaders U18s squad is part of a wider growth in the game in North East Wales.
Wrexham Raiders, Flintshire Falcons and Dee Valley Dragons make up a quartet of rugby league teams in the region along with the Crusaders.
“We have an excellent and comprehensive schools programme in North Wales at primary and secondary level now,” added Allen. “The programme links in with all four clubs and the schools are very receptive to what we’re doing so things are going well.
“The boys are already looking forward to the 2016 season and having Marcus, Luke and Chris working alongside us will ensure that they get the best possible preparation, both in terms of their physical fitness and personal skills.”
For more information on the North West Youth League visit http://www.northwestyouthleague.co.uk