By N Lawless
Youth is the objective at Lockwood Park as Huddersfield RUFC head into the 2014-15 season.
Four of last year’s Academy team have won senior playing contracts and with the onus on maintaining a link in tactics through the club, this year’s academy players have been training with the seniors.
“We’ve integrated the academy boys in pre-season training all the way through,” said Academy Head Coach Jonathan Prescott. “Over the last three weeks we’ve split away on Thursday nights and have tried to integrate the new academy players into our systems and patterns which are in common with the first team.”
First XV Head Coach Gareth Lewis stressed the importance of maintaining a strong link between the first team and the club’s youth system.
“We’ve got a clear pathway of age grades coming into senior rugby,” he explained. “Having followed that path myself, it’s great to give the lads exposure to senior rugby.
“Clearly the lads are up for it. Case in point is four of the academy lads have secured contracts for senior rugby with the hope that they’ll step up to the plate and get some game time in the near future.”
Discussing whether losing key players to senior rugby would hinder or help push on the academy, Prescott said:
“There will be some weeks where we haven’t got players because they will be with the first team so it will give some of the other lads the opportunity to play in those positions.
“But also hopefully, when those lads are playing with the team they’ll be able to bring back those experiences that they’ve had playing with the first team and the Falcons and that will just bring the whole thing forward so it’s really positive.”
After finishing runners-up in both the league and Keith Dyas Senior Colts Yorkshire Cup final last season, this year’s crop of academy lads will be looking to go the extra step and make a case to be the next addition to the Huddersfield conveyer belt.