Bears partner with Valley Cougars to develop a new pathway from Wales
Another pathway opened for new players, this time from South Wales.
Coventry Bears have announced another strategic initiative as they pursue their aim of self-sufficiency through a ‘grow your own’ approach to player development.
Already partnerships are in place across the Midlands region with selected amateur teams and other initiatives, and the Bears are now firmly rooted in the area with zero reliance on ‘Northern heartland imports’.
However, not all the accents heard playing at the Butts Park Arena are Midlands ones as there is also a key group of players from South Wales.
Recognising this, and wishing to enhance Welsh links, a new partnership with Valley Cougars RLFC who play in the Welsh RL, whereby this Welsh contingent can train through the week as an extra session (they train Wednesdays while the Bearstrain Tuesday and Thursday), plus they have a playing outlet, should they not be selected for our first team.
Additionally, young Welsh players can see a route to progress on to the Bears first team from the Merthyr Tydfil based Cougars in a partnership with clear benefits and synergies for both clubs.
Bears Head Coach Tom Tsang welcomed the move
‘This season we have recruited a small group of players who hail from the South Wales area. Their dedication, commitment and attitudes have all been first rate. With the absence of the All Golds in Gloucestershire and the South Wales Ironmen reforming out West as the Raiders, there is a large catchment area of players who don't have a clear pathway to progress in the game.
We see our role in providing opportunities to players now extending beyond our traditional base in the Midlands to ensure the continued growth and expansion of the sport away from the North of England.
Valley Cougars are a well-run and successful club, who have a history of producing and developing talented young Welshmen, many of whom have gone on to represent their country at various levels. We will offer their players a clear line of sight into the pro ranks of Rugby League.
The partnership will also allow our small contingent of Welsh players, a place to gain game-time should they not be selected for the Bears first team for any reason.’
Speaking on behalf of Valley Cougars,Daf Hellard added;
‘As a club we're really excited by this link, I've spoken with Tom a few times and have known him for a few years from when the cougars played in the CLS. Both clubs share the same passion and drive for the sport and the ambition shown by Coventry is something we aspire to replicate at the Cougars.
Having recently formed a partnership with a local junior side in the area, we want to create a clear player progression pathway through the Welsh system and beyond. Wales currently have two professional sides in league one, Coventry gives us another option for players wanting to progress outside of the Welsh system, particularly for youngsters looking to study away from Wales or wish to experience different cultures.
The more players we get playing the game and exposing them at the highest levels of the sport will ultimately improve the talent pool available to Wales national coaches and cultivate the expansion of the game in Wales.’