During the 2022/23 pre-season, Jon Callard, Director of Rugby, introduced a Leeds Tykes development squad. This comprises of a number of players who had just graduated from colts and have a bright future in the game. The group has taken part in full training and conditioning programmes with the Tykes’ senior squad. This has provided the young players with valuable coaching, experience and an insight into what is required to play in the third tier of English rugby.
It is so often the case that Yorkshire rugby talent moves away from the county in their late teenage years and go on to become successful in the game across other parts of the country. Part of Callard’s thinking is to combat this. He explained: “I am really excited about Leeds Tykes putting together a development squad, The purpose is to support those aspiring individuals with a programme that connects them to the Tykes and fulfils their academic ambitions as well.
“I have been impressed with them training with us through the summer. If we can assist and nurture these boys, the Tykes will have some talent to join its ranks in the near future.”
Let’s meet them:
- Olli Chadwick, 18, is a winger/full back. He has been playing at West Park and was spotted by Jake Brady during a training session. Olli said: “It’s been hard graft. I’m excited to see where it goes and training with them.”
- Pharrell Parker, 18, is a prop who plays loosehead and tighthead. He was recommended by Rob Rawlinson, his coach at Queen Ethelburga’s College. Pharrell said: “It’s a lot different from school boy rugby as it’s a lot harder and faster.”
- Zenr Coultis,18, is a number 7. He has been playing at West Park and asked to come along to a training session. Zenr said: “It’s great physicality. I feel that I’m getting better now.”
- Lucas Walsh, 18, plays in the back row (#6). He was recommended by Rob Rawlinson, his coach at Queen Ethelburga’s College. Lucas is enjoying spending his time with more experienced players.
- Henry Derbyshire, 18, is a prop. He was spotted playing for West Park and was asked to come along to a training session. Henry said: “It’s been a good challenge. I’ve not played this type of rugby before.”
Henry won the The Most Improved Player of the Season for the 2022/23 campaign.