Dragons Rugby are pleased to announce that Coleg Gwent have become an Official Commercial Partner for the 2021 - 2022 seasons. This new partnership will officially link Coleg Gwent with Dragons Rugby, after many years of affiliation.
Dragons Rugby are known to develop some of the best new talent in Welsh rugby, with locally produced players gaining international recognition on the pitch. Many of these home-grown players emerged from Coleg Gwent’s successful Dragons Junior Rugby Academy at Crosskeys Campus, with 11 former Coleg Gwent players currently playing as full-time pros with the Dragons, five players in the transition squad, and seven current Coleg Gwent learners in the Dragons Academy. The college has worked with the Dragons for several years to facilitate post 16 education alongside rugby training, to deliver the Dragons players of the future.
Coleg Gwent’s Dragons Junior Rugby Academy has grown from strength to strength coached by Matthew Jones (Head Coach and former Wales/ Ospreys/ Dragons player/ WRU Level 3 coach/ and current player/coach at Bridgend RFC), Scott Matthews (Rugby Coordinator for Boys and Girls and former Wales U20 international/ WRU Level 3 Coach/ and current Pontypool RFC Captain), and Steven Llewellyn (former Cardiff RFC/ Crosskeys RFC player/ WRU Level 3 coach).
Last year, their achievements include WRU Welsh Colleges and Schools Champions, and 16 of their current squad played representative rugby for the Dragons Under 18s, with six players selected for Wales Under 18s/Under 19s, and 3 playing for Wales Under 20s. Former Coleg Gwent learner, Elliot Dee, has also played a fundamental part in Wales’ rugby successes over the last few seasons, as well as Welsh internationals and Coleg Gwent alumni Ollie Griffiths and Tyler Morgan.
Meanwhile, the success of Coleg Gwent’s Girls team last year has been unprecedented, winning both the WRU Urdd 7s and the WRU 10s final at the Principality Stadium. The Girls Welsh Colleges 7s squad are Welsh College Champions and four Coleg Gwent Crosskeys Campus players were integral to their success. The growth and dedication of the girls to their sport has instigated the first girl's rugby academy in Wales to be established at Coleg Gwent’s Crosskeys Campus last September, building upon the last year’s achievements.
Alongside growing young rugby talent, Coleg Gwent remains one of Wales’ top performing colleges for A Level and vocational studies, allowing learners to pursue their post 16 education alongside improving their skills on the rugby pitch. The Coleg Gwent Dragons Junior Rugby Academy enables aspiring rugby professionals to upskill and access a range of courses and qualifications on their doorstep, while opening up opportunities to enter the world of professional rugby with the Dragons.
This new partnership cements the long-standing relationship between Dragons Rugby and Coleg Gwent, with Coleg Gwent featuring on the new season jersey and pitch banners. Staff from Coleg Gwent’s Dragons Junior Rugby Academy at Crosskeys Campus commented: “This partnership further enhances our well-established link with the Dragons. At Coleg Gwent, we’ve provided Dragons players past and present with the opportunity to combine their rugby development with their academic or vocational ambitions, allowing them to maximise their potential both on and off the field.”
The partnership will help attract fresh new talent to the Coleg Gwent Dragons Junior Rugby Academy and enable Dragons Rugby to continue supporting the community they represent, assisting young players coming through the development programmes and supporting post 16 education in the local area.
Jonathan Westwood, Head of Commercial at Dragons said: “We’re delighted to welcome Coleg Gwent into our commercial family. The relationship that has been created in a short time between the teams is testament to a shared vision of growth, and a passion for what they do. As the partnership continues to grow, we look forward to harnessing this positive intent to drive future growth, whilst supporting the vital work of our community programme.
“Coleg Gwent has played a significant role in many people’s lives within the Dragons region, including our very own careers, and our partnership will provide further inspiring opportunities for future students. We are proud of our affiliation with Coleg Gwent, which is built on very strong foundations."
“We believe Sport and Education are a perfect combination to enhance physical and mental wellbeing, whilst developing the essential life skills required to reach one’s full potential.”
Dragons Rugby and Coleg Gwent look forward to working together to nurture new rugby talent and open up opportunities on the pitch and beyond for those who aspire to make it into the world of professional rugby. Find out more about the Coleg Gwent Dragons Junior Rugby Academy and how you can combine your rugby development with academic studies: www.coleggwent.ac.uk/our-college/facilities/sports