University provides pathway for progress

Focus has already turned to next year for the Huddersfield University rugby league side as they look to build on their positive third-place finish in the Northern 2B Division last season.

The Blue Ghosts welcome players of all ability levels, from those with plenty of experience to people who may have not played the game before as they focus on creating a family atmosphere within the team.

Huddersfield pride themselves on improving players and have had team members progress from their system and go on to continue playing rugby after their studies ended.

Newly appointed President of the university team, Eden Harris, explained the system of how players can progress to give themselves an opportunity to be noticed.

“You’re playing for the university and then there will be regional trials for Yorkshire. From there you can get picked for the Origins side which is north versus south.

“Then you can go onto England students. At one of those levels you could get spotted a coach or a scout.”

The university’s Jed Goddard represented Yorkshire and the North of England last season, while others have gone on to play semi-professional and some such as Luke Wood and Billy Griffiths have moved to Australia showing the various pathways into the game from playing university rugby.

Harris was pleased with the progress his side made last term and credited the coaching staff for helping the players develop their skills.

Catalan Dragons’ statistician, Ricky Wilby, is the man currently in charge of the team and he will be entering his second season in the job.

The marketing student said: “Our coaches are brilliant. We have had good coaches all the way through. They’ve got some really good contacts who can come down and have a look at some of our lads.”

With universities such as Leeds Beckett and Northumbria a tempting lure for players looking to make the next step, Harris admitted that seeing some of their own players taking the next step is exciting.

“At universities like Leeds Beckett and Northumbria it’s another world. They are all semi-pro players so when one of our players breaks through and does it, it’s very good.”

With several team members graduating from the university this year, recruitment has already begun with Harris keen to get new “freshers” on board quickly to start building the side for next season.

“We put some feelers out on social media. It will kick off mainly around results day but the main work is done at the Freshers Fair. We are looking to make a big statement there.”

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