Salford Red Devils and Wales Rugby League are celebrating the two-year anniversary of their talent pathway partnership.

Three players joined the reserve squad from the same partnership last season and a further three will be joining the club for the 2023 campaign.

Finley Yates, Billy Walkley and Scott Pritchard already have reserves contracts, with Kieran Lewis and Mason Phillips coming to the trial in November after moving north for university. Connor Lacey has also been signed early, but will remain studying at Coleg Y Cymoedd for two years.

Alongside their rugby league ventures, these players will study at the University of Central Lancashire to ensure a back-up career is available to them. That is run by Reserve team Head Coach, Stuart Wilkinson, who works closely with our sponsors on providing this aftercare.

Joseph Coope-Franklin – who naturally plays in the centre – made his Betfred Super League debut in the final home game of the season against Warrington Wolves.

Coope-Franklin, discussing how he came through the pathway, has said: “Becoming a professional rugby player has always been a dream of mine. Starting my rugby league journey at Coleg y Cymoedd, who had established a partnership with Salford Red Devils, was a great opportunity to make this dream happen.

“Stuart Wilkinson was instrumental in kicking off my rugby league career. He travelled down to Wales numerous times to coach us and teach us the fundamentals of Rugby League. Stuart sparked my love for the game, and it was clear to me that rugby league was the right path to take.

Salford Red Devils welcomed the first three players through our Wales RL partnership in September 2021.

“I was fortunate enough to be selected for Salford Red Devils reserves – this meant moving to the North-West. The move was made even easier with the support of Stuart, great coaches and very welcoming teammates.

“The reserves took my game to the next level, from learning the fundamentals to making my Super League debut. My knowledge and understanding of the game has improved drastically since being in the Red Devils pathway and I highly recommend it to anyone with the same ambitions.”

Ian Blease, director of rugby and operations, added: “Our partnership thus far with Coleg y Cymoedd and the Welsh Rugby League Academy has been an immense success for the Red Devils.

“When myself and Head Coach, Paul Rowley went down to Wales in 2021 for our first training session, we could see immediately the talent and ambition that was already there.

“Through our coaches Stuart Wilkinson – and now Paul Berry – the guidance provided to the players is invaluable. As a club, we have committed contracts with over six players now, with Joseph Coope-Franklin making his Super League debut last season – something that made the club, and I’m sure Joseph’s family very proud.

“My sincere thank you to everyone involved for all your efforts so far in making this partnership flourish and to be the success that it has been up to now. Long may it continue!”.

Mark Jones, Head Coach of the Wales Rugby League National Development Academy at Coleg Y Cymoedd, said: “Our partnership with Salford has flourished over the last two years.

“Coaches from the Super League club have visited us regularly, with Stuart Wilkinson (former Wales men’s side head coach and current Salford reserves head coach) and Paul Berry (current Wales U16 head coach) delivering coaching sessions for both the Coleg Y Cymoedd Rugby League Academy and Origin programmes.

“They have also run continued personal development courses for the Wales Community Coaches. We’re delighted that we’ve had seven players who have signed reserve contracts, with Joseph getting his Super League debut this year.”

With the partnership continuing to grow, everyone in all parties is looking forward to seeing more Welsh-born Super League players turn out for Salford in the near future, as Wales continue to grow their Super League presence ahead of the 2025 Rugby League World Cup.

Academy | William Mills and Matthew Jones heading to Serbia

Salford Red Devils U19s William Mills and Matthew Jones have been selected in Wales’ final U19s squad that will compete in the European Championships in Serbia this August.
The U19s European Championships in Belgrade will take place between the 5th and 11th of August with Wales taking on Russia in the first round of the eight-team knockout tournament. Wales could meet England in the semi-finals.
Wales Under 19 Head Coach Anthony Walker said: “The training camp was really successful. All the boys come with a great attitude and they were a pleasure to work with.
“We tried to make the camp something that they may of not experienced before and making it as professional as possible. Phil Joseph had a real big emphasis on prehab and recovery, he arranged for masseurs to come to the hotel on the evening and brought in supplementation.
“Picking the squad was hard, I’d love to take everyone who trained but we couldn’t and the way the tournament is set out there are no easy games, they get tougher and tougher as we go on so we have to take the right balance of players.
“The guys we have selected to be captain and vice-captain oozed quality and respect from the rest of the team. They may not be the loudest and biggest talkers but when they did speak everyone listened and they play with leadership.”
Wales won the competition in its last incarnation as an U18 tournament beating France, England and Czech Republic.
The full squad is as follows:
Adam Young (Aber Valley Wolves), Cobi Green (Bradford Bulls), James Bartlett (Cardiff Blue Dragons), Morgan Rowlands (Cardiff Blue Dragons), Will Lynch (Leigh Miners Rangers), Cai Ellis (Newcastle Thunder), James McGurk (Newcastle Thunder), Jacob Hitchcox (North Wales Crusaders A), William Mills (Salford Red Devils), Finn Swift (Pilkington Recs/St Helens), Elliot Jenkins (St Helens), Matthew Jones (Salford Red Devils), Jake Cannon (South Wales Rabbitohs), Ben Hunter (Unattached), Lewis Hall (Warrington Wolves), Macauley Harris (West Wales Raiders), Ellis Simon (West Wales Raiders), James Smith (West Wales Raiders), Fraser Stroud (West Wales Raiders), Aneurin Walker (West Wales Raiders), Billy Glover (Widnes Vikings).

Academy | Luis Roberts and Cian Rhys selected for Wales U16s

Salford Red Devils players Cian Rhys and Luis Roberts named in the Wales U16 29-man training squad with the hopes of featuring against England in September.
Both Cian Rhys and Luis Roberts had successful seasons with the Red Devils U16’s sides last season and Player Performance Manager Danny Barton wasn’t surprised by their inclusion.
Barton said: “We’re delighted that both Cian and Luis have been selected for the Wales U16’s training squad, they’ve both been terrific this season.
“Cian is a versatile player who occupied a number of roles very successfully throughout last season while Luis is a dangerous centre with an eye for the try-line.
“We are hoping that both will feature against England later in the year and experience international rugby league.”
The full squad is follows: 
Benjamin Harris (Aber Valley Wolves), Shaun Webber (Cardiff Blue Dragons), Jac Lloyd, Immanuel Feyi-Aboso, David Yulu-Nzamba, George Sheppard (West Wales Raiders), Cian Rhys (Burtonwood Bulldogs/Salford Red Devils), Brynmor Bradley (London Broncos), Ewan Challenger (Cardiff Blue Dragons/West Wales Raiders), Ewan Badham, (Llanelli Knights/City of Hull), Ieaun Badham (Llanelli Knights/City of Hull), Morgan Jones, Harvey McDaid (Halton Farnworth Hornets/St Helens), Keenan McDaid (Halton Farnworth Hornets/St Helens), Lewis Gough, Cameron Samuel, Callum Penn (Torfaen Tigers), William Oates (Aber Valley Wolves), Luis Roberts (Hindley ARLFC/Salford Red Devils), Reilly Scriven (Torfaen Tigers), Kyle Huish (Aber Valley Wolves/Wigan Warriors), Jacob Lee (Aber Valley Wolves/Wigan Warriors), Ieuan Hancock (Torfaen Tigers), Joshua Atkinson (Wigan Warriors), Gwilym Evans, Iwan Johnes, Iwan Pyrs-Jones (Wigan Warriors), Trystan Rawlings (West Wales Raiders), Kieran Lewis.
The Tigers are in Town, but we’ll roar louder! 
Tickets for our next home game against Castleford Tigers on Friday 13th July are available to purchase at the Club Ticket Office, over the phone or online here.

Foundation | William Mills and Matthew Jones selected for Wales U19’s

Salford Red Devils are delighted to confirm that U19’s players William Mills and Matthew Jones have been selected in Wales’ U19 30-man training squad. 
William Mills and Matthew Jones have both been integral parts of the Salford Red Devils Category Three Academy throughout their 2017-18 season and will now look to represent Wales in the 2018 Under 19’s European Championship.
The tournament will be contested in Belgrade, Serbia between the 5th and 11th of August 2018 with Wales facing Russia in the first round of the eight-team knockout tournament.
Anthony Walker, the Wales U19’s Head Coach, said: “We’ve a good balance in the squad from lads playing in Super League academies, Championship, League One and some playing community rugby. It will be good to see how they step up in the camp in the next few weeks.
“My assistant Wayne Ponting and I have been really struggling to limit ourselves to 30 players due to the quality of lads who have missed out. It shows how well rugby league is growing in Wales.
“We are holding a camp on the 26th and 27th and the final 22 players will be selected after this.”
The full Wales U19’s squad is as follows:
Adam Young (Aber Valley Wolves), Cobi Green (Bradford Bulls), James Bartlett, Morgan Cochran, Cadeyrn Hassall, Morgan Rowlands (all Cardiff Blue Dragons), Dewi Billingham (Halifax), Will Lynch (Leigh Miners Rangers), Cai Ellis, James McGurk (both Newcastle Thunder), Jacob Hitchcox, Mathew Monk (both North Wales Crusaders A), William Mills (North Wales Crusaders A / Salford Red Devils), Finn Swift (Pilkington Recs / St Helens), Morgan Cross (Rhondda Outlaws), Blake Turner (Rochdale Hornets), Elliot Jenkins (St Helens), Matthew Jones (Salford Red Devils), Jake Cannon (South Wales Rabbitohs), Ben Hunter (unattached), Lewis Hall (Warrington Wolves), Karlin Claridge, Macauley Harris, Rowland Kaye, Ellis Simon, James Smith, Archie Snook, Fraser Stroud, Aneurin Walker (all West Wales Raiders), Billy Glover (Widnes Vikings).

Two Salford forwards named in Wales’ World Cup squad

Salford Red Devils Craig Kopczak and Gavin Bennion have both been named in Wales’ squad for the upcoming Rugby League World Cup.
Kopczak, who was named as Wales captain last month, will feature in his second World Cup for the Welsh national side after playing in the 2013 competition.
Bennion arrived at the The Salford Stadium last week after signing from Championship side Rochdale Hornets. The 23-year-old forward who impressed massively for the Hornets last season could be set to debut for his national side at the Rugby League World Cup.
Wales open their Rugby League World Cup campaign against Papua New Guinea in Port Moseby on 28th October before travelling to Townsville a week later to face Fiji in a double-header which will also feature Italy vs USA.
John Kear’s men will finish their Group Stage fixtures against Ireland in another double-header prior to England facing France in Perth.
The full Wales squad is as follows:
Courtney Davies, Steve Parry (both Gloucestershire All Golds), Chester Butler (Halifax), Danny Ansell (Hunslet), Sam Hopkins (Leigh Centurions), Michael Channing, Ben Evans, Dalton Grant, Elliot Kear, Rhys Williams (all London Broncos), Matty Baron (Newcastle Thunder), Joe Burke (Oldham), Gavin Bennion, Craig Kopczak (both Salford Red Devils), Matty Fozard (Sheffield Eagles), Andrew Gay, Christiaan Roets (both South Wales Ironmen), Regan Grace, Morgan Knowles, Ben Morris (all St Helens), Rhodri Lloyd (Swinton Lions), Josh Ralph (Tweed Head Seagulls), Phil Joseph (Workington Town), Matty Seamark (Wynnum Manly Seagulls)

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