WRU National Academy initiative sees youngsters attend NZ summer school

WRU National Academy manager Phil Davies has selected two member of the Wales Under 18 squad to attend an intensive rugby course in New Zealand.

Ospreys academy No8 Dan Baker and Scarlets hooker Kirby Myhill have been chosen for the WRU-sponsored summer scholarship in a WRU National Academy initiative to add value to their regional and international pathway programmes.

The boys set off this week for Palmerston North in North Island, New Zealand where they will receive specialist coaching with young players from around the world.

Davies said, “The philosophy of the National Academy is to give added value and support to players within the Regional academies and on the international pathway. No8 and hooker are premium positions within our succession plan and this very thorough course, delivered by a team of highly experienced team of international coaches and support staff, will provide position specific coaching and some game time with and against young international players.

“Kirby Myhill recently converted from flanker to hooker and he will potentially receive coaching from Sean Fitzpatrick to support the work done by Kevin George and Rob Appleyard at the Scarlets academy, while Dan Baker is a powerful young No8 who could come into contact with Wayne Shelford whose knowledge and experience will no doubt have an influence on Dan’s development, supporting the work done by Andrew Millward and Gruff Rees at the Ospreys academy.

“It’s an all-round package I have experienced myself while coaching in England and I’m sure it will help the boys develop as rugby players and tease out a bit more of their potential.

“We have some great coaches here in Wales but this experience on the other side of the world will no doubt broaden the youngsters’ horizons and I’m sure they will learn a lot both on and off the field.”

Seventeen-year-old Baker said, “We are going to have the benefit of some great coaching and I hope the experience is going to help me within the Ospreys academy and for my club game.”

Kirby Myhill, who is the nephew of former Wales flanker Mark Perego said, “It is great to be recognised by the National Academy and our Regional Performance Managers and I hope this course will help me break into the Under 20 squad next season.”