The Welsh Exiles were formed in 1990 and is a department of the Welsh Rugby Union which seeks to identify, recruit and develop Welsh qualified players (boys / men and girls / women) who live, or attend schools and universities, outside of Wales, anywhere in the UK and abroad. This includes ‘elite’ senior players who have the potential to play Regional and National representative rugby in Wales.
As a player, you are eligible (i.e. Welsh qualified) to be involved with the Welsh Exiles structure if you:
• Were born in Wales, or,
• Have one parent born in Wales, or,
• Have one Grandparent born in Wales.
In some cases a player may become eligible if they have lived permanently in Wales for 36 (soon to become 60) consecutive months.
Generally, the Welsh Exiles deal with players who are aged 13 upwards but most activity takes place from the age of 16. The Exiles programme also engages with university students and ‘elite’ Welsh qualified adult players based anywhere in the world who wish to follow a pathway in Wales.
Once you’re sure that you are eligible, visit the Welsh Exiles page where you can submit your details. Use this same format to update your player profile too. Various links will then take you to the WRU Exiles website pages where you will find latest news, calendar of events etc. It may also benefit you if you follow the Exiles Twitter account @welshexiles.
Your details will be added to the WRU Exiles player database. It’s very important that you keep your WRU ‘Player Profile’ updated (representative selections, changes in height, weight, playing position, contact details etc) as it’s this information that is often relied on to decide which events are suitable to invite players to. Most players do this every few weeks and it only takes a couple of minutes. There are hundreds of boys in the programme so it’s impossible to invite all the registered players to every event. Some players may be invited to attend ‘camps’ in Wales where they can be assessed more closely by WRU coaches. As well as this the WRU will arrange regional assessment camps at various locations across England. These events will be open to all registered players. Details will be published on the Exiles website pages.
There are intentionally only 3 or 4 events each year per age group. There are very few fixtures but there are several camps and events during a season which will introduce players to the Welsh ‘pathway’. There’s no guarantee that a player who registers with ‘The Exiles’ will ever be selected to play in a match for them.
The WRU select teams for any fixtures. The selections are based on players having the potential to progress along the WRU Regional and International player pathway. As mentioned previously, some players may be invited to attend WRU ‘elite’ sessions at the WRU National Centre of Excellence near Cardiff. All such events could lead to players being invited to join Welsh national representative age group squads.
Yes ! Numerous ‘Exiles’ players have been ‘capped’ for Wales in recent years. In addition to this, players have also been invited to join Regional Academies and gain senior professional contracts with Welsh Regions.
‘The Exiles’ have very strong links with the leading independent schools in Wales where there may be scholarships available for very able young players. ‘The Exiles’ also have a close association with universities in Wales and will provide advice and facilitate introductions to players who would like to combine their academic and rugby development while studying at a Welsh university. Supporters may wish to join ‘Clwb Exiles’ by contacting the Secretary of the Exiles, Russell Harris at email@example.com
All the coaching is conducted by WRU staff coaches or by Regional Age Grade coaches based in Wales. However there may be other voluntary roles to suit you. For example we have a number of volunteer ‘WRU Exiles Liaison Officers’ based throughout the UK and abroad.
If you have any queries or would like to discuss specific pathway opportunities please contact the WRU National Exiles Officer, Gareth Davies at firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to your involvement with ‘The Exiles’ !