Designed to engage with young Welsh qualified players (aged 12 to 18) and their families who are based outside Wales, they’re organised to provide a pathway for young Welsh qualified players of all standards into the regional and national pathway in Wales.
As WRU Exiles Programme Manager Gareth Davies outlined: “Strategically, the Exiles programme is a very important part of our succession planning and provides exciting pathway opportunities for young players. The one-day camps are delivered by some of the best age grade coaches in Wales and avoid families having to spend time and money travelling to Wales to enable them to benefit from the experience.
“Regardless of their standard, the objective of the Exiles camps is to engage with Welsh qualified players based outside Wales and help them maximise their potential.
“A number of players from the Exiles programme have entered the Welsh pathway and as such, been involved in our Wales Pathway Team squads, with many others involved with the regions.
“There are number of players who have previously attended such camps currently involved with the Wales U18s and Wales U20s. Others are involved in or on the fringes of our senior squad taking part in the Guinness Six Nations. We also have strong and very important links with education establishments and universities in Wales where young Exiles have the chance to combine their rugby development with their education to help them progress both on and off the field whilst being monitored by our regions.
“There are hundreds of young Welsh qualified players currently in the programme and there is a pathway for every single one of them to maximise their potential in Wales. We have also facilitated opportunities in Wales for young players from New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, Australia and from all over Europe.“
WRU Head of Player Development John Alder, added: “The Exiles programme is an important part of our Welsh player pathway, creating several entry points for Welsh qualified players outside of Wales to pursue their dream of pulling on the red jersey.
“There is strong evidence to date of the programme identifying and supporting outstanding young players in transitioning to Wales to pursue their rugby ambitions. The one-day camps are a useful tool to allow us to engage with as many young Welsh qualified players as we can who are based outside Wales, to help them to connect with their Welsh roots and see what opportunities there could be available to them here in Wales.”
Players must be registered with the Exiles programme via www.wru.wales/exiles to be invited to the camps which are taking place at various locations on February 14th (Midlands & North), February 15th (London & South East) and February 16th (South & South West).
Although these camps are for boys only, plans for Welsh qualified girls are being drawn up, and as such Exiles opportunities for girls based outside Wales will be arranged soon.
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