A Widnes youth team will take on the touring Australian Institute of Sport side on November 29th.
The AIS Rugby League programme was established in 2001 in association with the Australian Rugby League. Together they work to provide a pathway for the ongoing training and development of young players aged 16-18 in rural and regional areas of Australia, as an alternative to leaving home to pursue a rugby league career.
Up to 30 players take part in each year’s programme and selection is based on the quality of each player’s performances in schoolboy and club representative football. The program runs a national training camp in Canberra each year to improve players’ skills in preparation for high performance competition, and organises an international tour of France and the United Kingdom.
Vikings Head of Youth Performance, Phil Finney said, “We know the Australian Institute of Sport will present an extremely strong challenge but everyone in our youth set-up is looking forward to the task ahead.
“Our team will be a fusion of the clubs U18 and U21 players and for our young lads to be given the opportunity of playing a team of AIS’s quality is a great privilege, and we are taking this challenge extremely seriously.
“The AIS are coached by former Warrington player and coach, Brian Johnson and given his local connection it doesn’t take a fool to realise just how much he’ll want to see his charges get one over on Widnes.
“Having said that, our team will be coached by Martin Cunningham and Paul Hulme, a man whose name is etched in Widnes folklore and who has had many a battle over the years against Warrington and still come away with a smile on his face, which gives the game even more of an edge!”