07 March 2017 / Team News

Newbridge Youth 2017-18

Newbridge Youth have reformed this season with the further development of an U16 team who, along with Rumney Cardiff and Bridgend Athletic, had dominated the last 2 age grades of junior rugby in South Wales. 24 district schools players, 17 players involved with Dragons regional age grade, Welsh Academicals caps for scrum half Cole Jones and 2 Wales U16s caps in loose head prop Nathan Evans and hooker William Griffiths were the deserved honours the team had achieved. Nathan, William and team captain Euan Lewis also captained the Dragons.

At U16 just 4 losses in 43 outings scoring over a thousand points for and only 300 against were the remarkable statistics of a team that beat North Midlands Cup winners - Worcester, Champions of Dorset, Wiltshire and Berkshire - Chippenham, Bristol Cup Winners – Thornbury Broncos, Blues Cup Winners – Abercynon, Ospreys Cup Winners – Bridgend Athletic and North Midlands Plate Winners - Hereford as well as Exeter Chiefs.  

The Islwyn Schools starting XV, for their historic win in the U15s Dewar plate, contained 13 Newbridge players and 5 played for the Pontypool Schools team that won the Dewar Shield.

This season prop Calum Cottle and flying wing Tyler Lewis have represented the Welsh Crawshays U19s.  Hooker Zach Hewlett, outside half Iwan Burgwin, tight head prop Taylor Hansen, Cole, Nathan and William are all in the Dragons U18 squad. Nathan has trained with the Wales U18 squad and William has been selected for the final 40 for Wales Under 18 Trials.

The transition into youth and league rugby has been interesting as only 2 of the 29 man squad are older than U17. Consequently, in the majority of cases, the team has been playing against lads, or more accurately men, 2 years older than themselves. Still the team has shown it’s depth, quality and passion by only narrowly losing 6 of their 18 games. They have scored 571 points including 91 trys and sit top of the Dragons “D” division with a 100% record having amassed 150 points, conceding just 15. A further 3 former Dragons U16s have been added to the line up – including Welsh Rugby League U17 cap Garin Price. Pacey No.8 Garin is on good form having scored 17 trys in 15 appearances. The signing of these added to the existing talent has even lead to some opponents referring to the team as “The Gwent Galacticos”.

The boys are extremely grateful for the fantastic support they enjoy, especially when playing on the Welfare. Family and friends are now joined by club officials, supporters and many of the junior players. Clearly the brand of free running, positive rugby that the boys demonstrate every week is something that is attractive to those knowledgeable in the game.

Head Coach Rob Burgwin has guided the team since under 10s and remembers the lean times when they “couldn’t buy a win”. His dedication though is second to none and with the support of forwards coach Rhys Littlejohns the pair will no doubt deliver a new era for Newbridge RFC Youth which will see silverware arrive and of course the goal of providing the senior team with an abundance of home developed talent.

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