Last week, we looked at the rugby prospects who seemed to have it all at their feet, who, for some reason or another, didn’t appear to achieve the greatness they were once thought destined to achieve. And, while interesting to take a retrospective look at a career, great or otherwise, it’s perhaps much more fulfilling to take a look ahead at the young talents looking to cement their place in rugby’s hall of fame.
Though criticised in the past for posing an array of obstacles to the development of young players, rugby union’s academy systems continue to produce some of the most exciting young talents in the country. So, who looks to have a big 2019 ahead of them and who could lay the groundworks for a long and fruitful career?
First up is a player with a great deal to prove after experiencing a 2017/18 season on the sidelines. In any sport, it’s difficult to see a young player stall in their development. It’s especially so when that comes in the form of a devastating injury or the inability to keep fit.
Northampton Saints lock Coles, however, was given a professional contract for the 18/19 season and has already made one appearance from the bench this November, against Wasps in a narrow 15-14 win. His versatility across the pitch makes him an exciting prospect and it will be interesting to see if he those early injuries have any effect in the long term.
Tom de Glanville
With five caps already for England’s U-18 side, Tom de Glanville isn’t a surprise pick for one of the most exciting academy prospects in rugby union. And, that’s not to mention carrying the de Glanville rugby legacy on from dad Phil.
If his progression through the age brackets for both club and country are anything to go by, the young fly-half or centre will have an exciting future ahead of him. His ability to focus on developing his game, and his own enjoyment of it, coupled with his propensity for switching positions is more than promising. And, with the youngster hanging around the first team this year, it surely won’t be long before the 18-year-old gets the chance to stamp his authority for Bath.
Making the trip to the – in terms of rugby union – somewhat isolated north east of England and Newcastle, Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti represents an explosive talent in the hands of an experienced coach in Dean Richards – a mouth-watering prospect for any fan of the sport.
The young scrum-half was born in Fiji but came to the UK at 11 and started early in his rugby development. Aged four, Nordli-Kelemeti was introduced to the sport by his father and grandfather, which he believes helped him develop his exceptional ability to read the game. Having also played for nearby Darlington Mowden Park in National League 1, Cameron will now be looking to get his hands on a place in Falcons’ first-team, having recently made an appearance as a substitute in a Premiership Cup win against Harlequins.