Over 500 players from across the UK attended open trials for both age groups in Doncaster, Bristol and Hertfordshire – a huge pool of talent for the GB coaching team to select from.
The next step in the journey for the new national programme will be invitational one day camps, held at Loughborough on March 17, May 19 and August 18. The events will host both junior and senior players.
As well as the open trials, players have been selected for invites on the basis of film, discussions with coaches and performance in the last year’s finals.
Costs for the day long camps will be kept as low as possible to make sure that as many players are possible can attend. Exact costs will be confirmed as soon as possible but are likely to be £10 per event for junior players and £20 for senior players.
The junior GB Lions will have an initial list of 75 players affiliated with the team. The next step for them over the series of camps will be to make the travelling squad for the European tournament taking place from 7-9 September in Italy.
The selected players represent over 30 different junior and university teams, with a third of the selections coming from the under 17 age group. This is crucial for building a strong foundation for the junior team by ensuring at least two years of eligibility for competition.
The team to see the most representation for invites at junior level is the London Blitz. Other teams showing good representation include the London Warriors, Birmingham Lions, Birmingham Bulls and Lancashire Academy.
As senior players won’t see competition until 2013, their selection process will be managed a little differently. Players will go through the invitational camps before being formally affiliated to the GB senior team and subsequently selected for a travelling squad.
Around 80 senior players will be initially invited to attend the camps, with players from the London Blitz again seeing the strongest representation amongst current selections. This is followed closely by players from the East Kilbride Pirates, Birmingham Lions and Doncaster Mustangs.
“The invitational camps will be a tremendous next step in the national programme’s journey,” said GB Lions General Manager Nick Wasmuth. “These present the opportunity for the elite coaches in the country to work with the elite players, as we as a nation continue our drive towards European competition at the highest level.”