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STARS OF THE FUTURE STEP UP IN FOUR WELSH REGIONS

A Welsh double derby will see young stars of the future in action on Friday evening (14th November) at the start of another big rugby weekend for Wales.

Friday night’s regional rugby double provides opportunities for professional rugby’s exciting young talent to step up against local rivals as well as handing opportunities to develop coaching depth in the four Regions.

The LV=Cup has become a proven platform for the development of up and coming talent. In the lead up the Rugby World Cup, the 2014/15 competition will be another positive showcase of young Welsh players striving to break through to first team action.

The LV=Cup champions rugby’s next generation of players and Pro Rugby Wales backs it as a key competition in line with Welsh professional rugby’s vision to support, nurture, protect and develop Welsh rugby talent in the long-term.

And for the many enthusiastic and knowledgeable supporters in the regions who like to spot new talent – watching live LV=Cup action is a must.

On Friday night, the four Region’s dedicated supporters will have much to savour as the Cardiff Blues take on the Scarlets at the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park (kick off 7.30pm) and the Ospreys take their home game out in the Region to the popular Brewery Field in Bridgend (kick off 7.35pm) for their derby clash with the Newport Gwent Dragons.

Many an international player has launched a successful career on the back of strong performances in this tournament, with many stars of the autumn series for Wales who started out with excitement in the Anglo Welsh contest.

In October 2011, Wales full-back Liam Williams scored a try for a win over Leicester Tigers at Parc y Scarlets in the LV=Cup in front of more than 6,000 at Parc y Scarlets, along with young team mates Rhodri Jones, Kirby Myhill and Jordan Williams – all of whom have now trained with Wales.

So too, the rising stars of the new Wales generation including Tom Prydie, Matthew Morgan, Sam Lewis and Scott Baldwin were all cutting their rugby teeth in the LV=Cup in 2011.

For the Cardiff Blues Leigh Halfpenny who won’t forget winning the final of the EDF Energy Cup in 2009 by 50 points to 12.

Go back to 2010 and you have the Scarlets trio of Scott Williams, George North and Ben Morgan all in action in the Anglo Welsh competition.

And there will be plenty of young quality on show this Friday night for regional supporters to enjoy. Mark Davies, the new Chief Executive of Pro Rugby Wales, which represents the four Welsh Regions said the tournament deserved recognition and full support.

Mark Davies said: “It’s great to see so many young players across our Regions getting their opportunities at this time, with a healthy batch of senior squad debuts being made as well. The talent and performances being shown by our younger players is good reason for optimism in our game as we build and invest in strength in depth in our squads.

“These players are the names we will be hearing about in two or three years and it’s so important for the development and sustainability of our game in Wales that we support the tournament as part of our long-term vision.

“With 24 to 26 players called up from our Regions to the Wales squad, rather than bemoaning that our squads are depleted – we see the positive boost and opportunities it provides our professional game. It’s a real chance for the regional players to show what they can do with a platform for exciting new talent that our supporters won’t have heard of yet.

“Equally, it’s key for our coaching succession planning as we see new coaches take charge of the Regions’ teams– another element in a full development programme being operated and backed by our four professional clubs.

“The LV=Cup is a breeding ground for young players to improve and the competition as a whole has really found itself now with its emphasis on developing future stars of the game.”

ENDS

For more information please contact Antonia Lamont, Head of PR, Pro Rugby Wales on 07970 421665 or email: antonia@prorugbywales.com.

Notes to editors:

  • LV= have sponsored the competition since 2009, championing the annual LV= Breakthrough Player Award to recognise the most exciting prospects across the country.
  • The tournament sees the 12 English clubs and four Welsh regional teams compete against each other for the title, and teams have historically used the competition as a platform to give their hottest talent a taste of senior level rugby.
  • Gloucester Rugby were the inaugural champions back in 1971-2, but Bath Rugby have been the most successful side in the competition since, lifting the trophy 10 times.
  • Welsh sides were included in the competition from 2005. Ospreys became the first Welsh side to lift the trophy in 2008, before Cardiff Blues followed a year later in the only other Welsh success to date.
  • Prior to 2005, the competition was open to all English clubs and Leeds Tykes (now Yorkshire Carnegie) were the last side to win in the old format, spurring them on to avoid the Premiership Rugby drop that year.
  • LV=Cup are also running a competition this year asking supporters, to create their own rugby family ‘selfies’ from the first and second rounds of the LV= Cup. All you need to do is send your picture using the hash tag #rugbyfamily to @LVRugby, to be in with the chance to win four tickets to a game of your choice from Round 3 of the 2014/2015 season including the LV= Cup Final in March 2015.