The Cornwall U17 Group season is now under way for 2016-17. The U17 Group follows a different format than other age grades as the focus is on a larger squad, giving more players the opportunity to pull on a Cornwall shirt. The process began early 2016 when the U16 "Open Access" sessions were held at Newquay and Wadebridge RFC. These sessions saw over 130 boys attend and culminated in the traditional fixture of a Potential Cornwall U17 XV against the U16 County Cup winners at Bodmin RFC. This year saw the Cornwall side face Truro U16 in a very competitive game, with the Cornwall XV coming out on top.
From the original 130+ players the U17 squad is cut down to approx 65 players who are all invited to attend the U17 squad day at Bodmin RFC in November. As this is the age group where players leave school and enter colleges there is a huge amount of disruption in the squad selection as many players develop over the summer period, some leave rugby all together, some move clubs or even change position therefore the squad day is a way of seeing where everyone is and what they are doing.
The U17 Group play a number of fixtures over Dec, Jan and Feb and every player in the squad is given at least one game in a Cornwall shirt, this allows the coaching team the opportunity to see how players perform against a higher standard of opposition than many will have faced at this time.
This season the fixtures are
U17 v Truro School 1st XV Sun 11th Dec @ Truro School
U17 v Dorset & Wilts and Somerset (3-way fixture) Sun 18th Dec @ Newquay RFC
U17 v Plymouth College 1st XV Sun 15th Jan @ Marjon, Plymouth
U17 v Dorset & Wilts and Somerset (3-way fixture) Sun 29th Jan @ Dorchester RFC
U17 v Dorset & Wilts and Somerset (3-way fixture) Sun 12th Feb @ TBC
At the end of the U17 season the coaching team select the U18 squad for the following season from the players that have played for the U17. The reason behind this is that the U18 season begins early in the autumn and there is not the time to go through another selection process. However due to recent changes to the structured Constituent Body (CB) signed off by the RFU this may change as the U17 & U18 seasons will be different in the future.