C15 Comprehensive is top Rugby School
Education suffers from cliches, and the one about Comprehensives being Secondary Moderns stuck – because it came from a Labour Minister. Just after Easter, a story that was easy to miss told the success story of a Welsh comprehensive as an elite school for rugby. The School, Brynteg Comprehensive, produced is 8th British and Irish Lion when Osprey and Wales scrum half Rhys Webb was called up on Wednesday 19th April for the tour down under.
Rhys is the 8th British and Irish Lion from the school and adding up multiple Wales internationals from across both rugby codes makes for an impressive honours board which they rightly display proudly. And the school is right to trumpet a successful list which includes Jack Matthews, JPR Williams, Gareth Williams, Mike Hall, Rob Howley, Dafydd James and Gavin Henson as successful Lions selections.
It is of course a Welsh school in the heart of rugby country at Bridgend, and the school is well aware of the value of being a community comprehensive. Adam Rosser, head of physical education at the school, says “the local clubs in the Bridgend district work their socks off and we’re extremely grateful for the contribution that they make”.
It is not the only Welsh comprehensive that has produced Lions for Warren Gatland’s current squad. Wales pair Dan Biggar and Liam Williams both attended Gowerton School in Swansea.
School sport is being squeezed by EBAC and financial cuts and Wales may be better off than England, where the sale of playing fields has been one of the scandals of the Tory-Lib Dem coalition era and still continues. But what these schools show is that if the comprehensive system has the right financial and political support, it can compete with the best in the most competitive areas of modern life.
Trevor Fisher 22 04 17