South West University Rugby League
There is a strong Bath contingent in the latest South West University squad led by Bath & Wiltshire Romans’ manager Chris Chatten. The South West will play the South East on Saturday 12th December 2015 5pm at Maidenhead Rugby Club, Braywick Road, Maidenhead, West Berkshire, SL6 1BN.
The South West representative side provides a pathway for students to progress to an origin fixture where the best of the South will take on the North of England, from this fixture the England squad will be selected. The Rugby Football League have recruited a strong management team.
The Team Manager for the representative side is Chris Chatten current Bath & Wiltshire Romans RLFC Manager and last season was also University of Gloucestershire All Gold’s Match Day Manager for their professional side which finished highest of the southern clubs in Championship 1.
The Bath & Wiltshire Romans RLFC in their debut and founding season finished top of the West of England League, won the West of England Grand Final, won the inaugural West of England Challenge Cup and finalists in the inaugural West of England 9’s. The club also got through to the semi-final of the Harry Jepson Trophy (National Competition) and went down to eventual winners South West London Chargers.
Head Coach of the side is Dan Poulton who is currently coaching the University of Gloucestershire team and will be assisted by Alex Ford who is currently coaching University of Exeter, and plays for Exeter Centurions in South West League who won the South West League and were also finalists in the Grand Final. Last season Dan was playing with Coventry Bears in Championship 1 and went on loan to the University of Gloucestershire All Golds and he has signed for the All Golds for 2016.
Halfback Poulton has been heavily involved in growing Rugby League in the midlands in his role as Rugby League Academy Manager at Moreton School in Wolverhampton after graduating from the University of Gloucestershire where he was part of the BUCS Super 8s team.
Students from University of Exeter, University of Bristol, Cardiff University, Cardiff Metropolitan, University of Swansea, University of Bath and University of Gloucestershire attended trials. However, the bulk of the squad has been selected from University of Bath and University of Gloucestershire. The management team have selected a squad of 20 from initial trials involving over 45 participants which was a significantly larger pool than last year which is pleasing to see in a development area for the sport.
The squad is as follows:
Chris Barlow, Callum Bradbury, Hanley Dawson, Kaine Dimech, Danny Fallon, Connor Jones, Brad Kislingbury, James Mason, Liam Rice-Wilson, Jarrod Simms, Luke Stephens (all University of Gloucestershire) David Belcher, Liam Cashman, James Exley, Ed McGuire, Conan Osborne, Jamie Park, Tom Plance, Joe Ring (all University of Bath) Lartey Laryea (University of Swansea)
Chris Chatten, Team Manager, South West Universities Rugby League Squad, said “the squad are looking forward to the fixture later this month and we are looking forward to seeing our squad progress through the pathway, but also offer them other opportunities to participate in the greatest game not only in the university environment but also in the community game and for some with professional clubs.”
A number of the players selected from University of Gloucestershire have signed professional terms with the All Golds including Hanley Dawson, Connor Jones and James Mason. Danny Fallon featured in a number of fixtures for the All Golds in their Championship 1 side last season at half-back but has recently being operating at loose-forward, and loose forward James Mason played for England Universities last season. Kaine Dimech also made the Maltese International ‘train-on’ squad in 2015.
The majority of the University of Bath contingent have been signed by South Wales Scorpions newly formed under 20’s development side who recently had their first fixture against Bath & Wiltshire Romans RLFC. Ironically hooker Tom Plance played against his teammates in this fixture for the Welsh side and was a star performer for Bath & Wiltshire Romans RLFC in their debut season.
Conan Osborne is a recent convert from the Bath University Rugby Union Squad, and has previously represented English Universities at Rugby Union but has Jamaican ancestry and made the Jamaican Rugby League World Cup ‘train-on’ squad, Conan operates in the centre or on the wing. While Lartey Laryea who hails from the South East of England and is University of Swansea’s sole representative only picked up Rugby League at University having previously played union as a centre or winger, in Rugby League he has been featuring for his University side at Hooker but the coaching staff feel he also brings some versatility to the squad being able to operate in the outside backs too.
Adam Hughes, Higher Education Manager, Rugby Football League, said “it is a great opportunity for students in the region to showcase their talent on a wider stage and progress through the performance pathway”.
Press Release via the South West University RL