A Welsh double derby will see young stars of the future in action on Friday evening at the start of another big rugby weekend for Wales.
Friday night’s regional rugby double provides opportunities for professional rugby’s exciting young talent to step up against local rivals as well as handing opportunities to develop coaching depth in the four Regions.
The LV=Cup has become a proven platform for the development of up and coming talent. In the lead up the Rugby World Cup, the 2014/15 competition will be another positive showcase of young Welsh players striving to break through to first team action.
The LV=Cup champions rugby’s next generation of players and Pro Rugby Wales backs it as a key competition in line with Welsh professional rugby’s vision to support, nurture, protect and develop Welsh rugby talent in the long-term.
And for the many enthusiastic and knowledgeable supporters in the regions who like to spot new talent – watching live LV=Cup action is a must.
On Friday night, the four Region’s dedicated supporters will have much to savour as the Cardiff Blues take on the Scarlets at the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park (kick off 7.30pm) and the Ospreys take their home game out in the Region to the popular Brewery Field in Bridgend (kick off 7.35pm) for their derby clash with the Newport Gwent Dragons.
Many an international player has launched a successful career on the back of strong performances in this tournament, with many stars of the autumn series for Wales starting out with excitement in the Anglo Welsh contest.
In October 2011, Wales full-back Liam Williams scored a try for a win over Leicester Tigers in the LV=Cup in front of more than 6,000 at Parc y Scarlets, along with young team mates Rhodri Jones, Kirby Myhill and Jordan Williams – all of whom have now trained with Wales.
The rising stars of the new Wales generation including Tom Prydie, Matthew Morgan, Sam Lewis and Scott Baldwin were also all cutting their rugby teeth in the LV=Cup in 2011.
Similarly Cardiff Blues’ Leigh Halfpenny won’t forget winning the final of the EDF Energy Cup in 2009 by 50 points to 12.
Go back to 2010 and you have the Scarlets trio of Scott Williams, George North and Ben Morgan all in action in the Anglo Welsh competition.
And there will be plenty of young quality on show this Friday night for regional supporters to enjoy. Mark Davies, the new Chief Executive of Pro Rugby Wales, which represents the four Welsh Regions said the tournament deserved recognition and full support.
Davies said: “It’s great to see so many young players across our Regions getting their opportunities at this time, with a healthy batch of senior squad debuts being made as well.
“The talent and performances being shown by our younger players is good reason for optimism in our game as we build and invest in strength in depth in our squads.
“These players are the names we will be hearing about in two or three years and it’s so important for the development and sustainability of our game in Wales that we support the tournament as part of our long-term vision.
“With 24 to 26 players called up from our Regions to the Wales squad, rather than bemoaning that our squads are depleted – we see the positive boost and opportunities it provides our professional game. It’s a real chance for the regional players to show what they can do with a platform for exciting new talent that our supporters won’t have heard of yet.
“Equally, it’s key for our coaching succession planning as we see new coaches take charge of the Regions’ teams– another element in a full development programme being operated and backed by our four professional clubs.
“The LV=Cup is a breeding ground for young players to improve and the competition as a whole has really found itself now with its emphasis on developing future stars of the game.”
For your definitive guide to the LV= Cup click here
Be part of the rugby family at the LV= Cup Final at Franklin's Gardens, Northampton on Sunday 22 March. Visit www.northamptonsaints.co.uk for tickets