Taunton Rugby Club have launched The Spartans – an exciting young player development programme aimed at nurturing and developing the talent at the county town club and the surrounding area.
National Two South club Titans’ manager Keith Brooking explained last night: ‘‘Tony Yapp (Titans head coach) and I have wanted to find a way of developing youngsters at the club since we began here, and we are really pleased to launch The Spartans.
“Those selected will have their own development plan and the same access to coaches, personal game reviews, conditioning training and expert knowledge that are available to our senior players.
“We want these youngsters to experience what it is like to be a semi-pro rugby player and what is expected both on and off the pitch.We want to help bridge that gap between colts and senior rugby and show players the difference isn’t as big as it seems and hopefully this will help the natural drop off of players joining senior teams once they finish the colts. We want our ‘Spartans’ to play and aspire to the highest possible standard and if they give it their all, we can help them on this journey.”
The inaugural group of 17-18 year old players to try out for the Spartans have been selected due to their attitude and possible potential shown over the past season by their respective coaches.
They will attend the first Titans’ training session on Tuesday, July 2, with the final cut coming later in the month.
Club secretary Ben Goddard said: “This club firmly believes in developing our youngsters and the Spartans will deliver this. We need everyone to get behind this initiative and look forward to next year when we approach players from the under 16s to be a Spartan. This is a brilliant club with a location and facilities that are the envy of many.”
Plymouth Albion have signed Nottingham prop Matt Shields on a one-year deal.
The tight-head is a former academy player at Newcastle Falcons and has also spent time at Tynedale and on dual-registration at Loughborough Students in National One.
“It’s a really exciting time to be involved,” said the 22-year-old Shields. “We’ve got a lot of new boys, a young team and we’re going to play a good brand of rugby.”.
Shields made four appearances off the bench for Nottingham last season and played 18 times in 2011-12.