A CAERPHILLY college will be the host of a brand new rugby academy – with aspiring players able to have the chance to join a top Super League team.

Salford Red Devils – who play in the Super League – has joined forces with Wales Rugby League and Coleg y Cymoedd for the new development programme and talent pathway.

Called Wales Rugby League National Development Academy in partnership with Salford Red Devils, it will be operating out of Ystrad Mynach’s college campus and is the only RFL accredited development academy in Wales.

Players will be able to receive coaching from Coleg y Cymoedd’s coaches and also Wales Rugby League and once a month, the Salford Red Devils – all while studying for a BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Sport. When not training, they will be learning about topics including sports nutrition, sports injuries, fitness testing, match officiating, anatomy and physiology. There will also be coaching development and support to potential coaches.

When the coach from the Salford Red Devils attends, they will offer training, advice and professional insights. Alongside this, they will be scouting the players by assessing their skills and providing the top players with the chance to play in the Super League with the club.


Salford Red Devils has been recruiting players from Wales since the 1890s and have had 147 Welsh players turn out for the club. Recent Welsh players include Rhys Williams and Elliott Kear.

Salford Red Devils director of rugby and operations, Ian Blease, said: “We know that Wales is home to some exceptional rugby talent, and we want to foster and nurture this. The approach to developing young players in Wales, and at Coleg y Cymoedd, also aligns perfectly with the ethos and culture at Salford, which sees as much of a focus placed on personal character and educational development as physical ability and rugby league specific skillsets.

“Our new academy will provide the best young Welsh players with a potential route to the Super League, with the opportunity to progress through the Salford Red Devils player pathway programme.”

Coleg y Cymoedd’s head of rugby, Mark Jones, said: “Coleg y Cymoedd is excited to become an official partner to the Salford Red Devils and WRL on this new venture. Salford is committed to developing new rugby talent and we are impressed with the development pathways they continue to invest in.

“With Salford Red Devils’ history of signing Welsh players, the partnership is a natural fit for Coleg y Cymoedd and the WRL National Development Academy which is based at Ystrad Mynach. We can’t wait to see what future talent comes out of the academy.”

Gareth Kear, Wales Rugby League CEO added: “The partnership between the WRL, Salford Red Devils and Coleg y Cymoedd is the perfect pairing as each of us shares the same values of inclusion, diversity and equality. Together we will work to identify and develop the rich source of rugby league talent that has always existed in Wales, as well as provide outreach projects in deprived areas to make our sport accessible to all.

“We are proud to be running the academy out of Coleg y Cymoedd which has proven itself to be leading name in the furtherment of Welsh rugby.”

For more information on the academy, visit https://www.cymoedd.ac.uk/en/course/35631/level-3-in-sport-rugby-league