l-r Tom Hendrickson, Mike Roach, Max Bodilly & Matt Bolwell photo by Simon Bryant/Iktisphoto. Mobile: 07990592945.
Following on from last week’s press call with the Cornish Pirates Acting CEO Josh Lewsey and his wish to strengthen links with educational establishments around the Duchy; the first tangible evidence of the Pirate’s renewed focus was shown this week at Truro College when it was announced that four gifted young Cornish rugby players are being given the opportunity to combine study and training as they look to develop their sporting careers.
The four lucky players to be picked for this new initiative are;
Matt Bolwell – A flanker from Wadebridge, Matt has played for England at under 18s level having recently helped England retain their FIRA-AER Justin Bridou Championship at that level with Bolwell scoring England’s first try in the final against France played in the Stade des Alps in Grenoble.
Tom Hendrickson – A product of the Pirates youth section, Tom is a New-Zealand born centre who has played for Cornwall under 20’s and for South West under 20s. Tom also attended the Divisional U.20 Festival at Welbeck College over Easter narrowly missing out on selection for the England Counties U.20 tour to Georgia later this month.
Mike Roach – Prop Mike comes from Penzance. His honours include representing Cornwall through the age groups up to under 20’s level. He has also played with the Cornish All Blacks.
Max Bodilly – Another product of the Pirates youth section, and a Newlyn lad, Max has also played for Cornwall under 20’s. He is a full-back and can also play at half-back as been playing for the St. Ives club this season under the guidance of Joff Rowe and former Pirate Ceiron Thomas.
Now post 18, Matt, Tom and Max will be progressing from their BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sports Performance and Excellence to continue their education by following the Foundation Degree in Sports Coaching at Truro College.
Mike will be following a vocational course at Penwith College.
Having played rugby for Truro College in the Rugby Football Union’s AASE (Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence) League for two years, the four players will become Exeter Chiefs Academy members, where they have already had an association, and they will potentially be on a two year loan to the Cornish Pirates. It is envisaged that this will not only allow them to gain experience in the Championship, or locally at National league level, but will also, as mentioned, enable them to importantly combine their studies with training and playing.
As you can imagine the youngsters are thrilled with the opportunity to continue both their studies and rugby apprenticeship in Cornwall.
Mike Roach. “It’s a great opportunity for me it’s ideal studying down at Penwith College and linking my rugby with the Pirates. I’ve had a bit of experience with the Cornish All Blacks but I have really focused the majority of my rugby with Truro College and the Exeter Academy games this season.
Roach is looking forward to learning new skills and improving his technique from the Pirates coaching team. “Ian Davies is a fantastic coach and along with senior players such as Alan Paver I am hoping to really improve my game and learn from these guys.
Max Bodilly is looking forward to sampling life at a Championship Club. “I am looking forward to progressing and gaining experience from amongst others Harvey Biljon and Gavin Cattle. I have played at half back for a while but Exeter wanted me to move to full back and I feel that has benefited my game. It’s a big step up from playing at St. Ives, hopefully I can get some game time because that is key to development.
Head coach at the Cornish Pirates, Ian Davies, commented:
“We have had an excellent working relationship with the Exeter Chiefs over the last few seasons and this new venture is another part of that partnership. It is also fantastic that we can build a stronger foundation with Truro College which will be a key aspect for the Cornish Pirates moving forward.”
Robin Cowling, on behalf of Truro College, added:
“For the the last few years Exeter Chiefs and the Cornish Pirates have developed a close working partnership over dual-registered players, that are allowed under the rules of regional academies. It is a partnership that has created a win win situation for both the players and clubs.
“This new venture with the Cornish Pirates and Exeter Chiefs and Truro College will also be a win win situation for players and clubs and the player’s education at Truro College. One of our aims with academy players is to look after their development both on and off the field, and this is a great opportunity with the college tailoring their timetable to fit around their rugby training with the Cornish Pirates.”