The issue of player development has been on the agenda across the region in recent days with new impetus coming from both the semi-professional and amateur games.
On Tuesday evening Birmingham & Solihull Bees launched their Player Pathway Partnership with Birmingham Metropolitan College.
The scheme aims to give promising players aged between 15-19-years-old an established route from junior to senior level rugby whilst studying at the college. The intention is to allow players to keep their academic and sporting options open as they remain in higher education whilst also striving to prove themselves in rugby.
And earlier this week the project was unveiled with a presentation to players, parents and coaches at the Village Hotel in Solihull by experts including Bees coach Eugene Martin and Matt Long.
“We’re really pleased to have put this together because it gives boys who have the potential to play a high standard of rugby the opportunity to do so without any impact on their studies,” Martin said. “The more people who are playing rugby the better and I don’t mean just for Bees but for everyone to share our values in a football-dominated city.”
The first intake is this summer and although it might take a couple of years before the scheme is producing players for the Bees first team, it is at least a positive sign that the Damson Park outfit are trying to produce players rather than recruit them.
Meanwhile Greater Birmingham have also made efforts to change their public image having undergone a rebrand.
The union, one of three that makes up North Midlands, relaunched their Under-14 side with a specially arranged fixture against their Worcestershire counterparts at Yardley & District last week.
Although the game didn’t go according to plan, the visitors won 24-5, president John Corr is pleased with the fresh start Greater Birmingham has made.
“A lot of work has gone into making our representative sides more aspirational,” Corr, who coaches Old Edwardians, said. “When I first came to Birmingham playing for GB was a real honour and viewed as a stepping stone to North Midlands. But it has been in the doldrums a bit in recent years and it’s important we do something about that.
“Guys like Phil Spencer and Andy Root have done a lot of work getting less established rugby schools involved and we are seeing players filter through now. That’s great and will help our logo stand proud against others’ and make sure our voice continues to be heard.
“And of course we are always looking for sponsorship to help us do that.” For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org