CCS & CAVC Merger Reaps Rewards at National Rugby Tournament

In recent months the two institutions of Cowbridge Comprehensive School (CCS) and Cardiff and Vale College (CAVC) have embarked upon a co-educational pathway which will allow students from both establishments to benefit from a wider and more comprehensive learning experience across the two sites. One of the more apparent crossovers of resources between the two is in the underage sport division, especially that of rugby union. Among the many shared assets such as staffing resources, student courses and a wide range of facilities, the newly merged rugby academy has gone from strength to strength in a relatively short period.

In last month’s National Sevens Tournament at Rosslyn Park, London, the once opposing sets of players and coaches came together to shake up the entire competition, finishing in the top four out of seventy teams. No Welsh side has come close to such an achievement, other than Coleg Sir Gar’s title win in 2012, for nearly two decades - a triumph outlined by CCS Head of P.E. and Academy Sevens Technician, Mr. Neil Thomas, as a “huge step forward for Welsh underage rugby”.

The new-look academy side skipped past Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar, St Joseph’s Ipswich, in-form Barnard Castle, and a trio of underage rugby giants Harrow, Hartpury, and Millfield. To the delight of a newly poised coaching staff, the joint academy won six games from eight at one of the mostly hotly contested rugby union tournaments in Britain. Director of Rugby at CCS, Darragh McNamara, commented that the success was “a credit to the hard work of all players and coaches at both centres over the past number of months”.

The top four finishers were beaten by a physical Bedford School side in the top-level Cup Pool which bolstered the Welshmen with a resolute and winning mentality for the remaining fixtures until they met Brighton College in the semi-finals, narrowly losing out twenty-four points to seventeen to the well-drilled sevens specialists.

Mr. Neil Thomas, named Ioan Lewis and Max Cunnington of the CCS Centre as well as Dafydd Smith and Rhys Beynon of the CAVC Centre as the squads top performers in an almost unrivalled accomplishment for any Welsh side in the esteemed Rosslyn Park National Sevens.

No doubt, at this point, both institutions are reflecting with delight on the decision to merge and understandably excited about the future. A future that holds the prospect of not only building on sporting success, but translating the on-field form to the learning environment to cultivate a cooperative institution renowned for educational and sporting prowess across both centres.