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Rush's fears for scrapping under 20s proposals
10:59am Thursday 23rd August 2012 in Latest News
MIKE Rush fears the Rugby Football League’s proposals to scrap the under 20s competition could result in “a lost generation” of young British players.
The acting Saints set out his opposition to the potential move when asked about the impact governing body’s plans could have on emerging players between the ages of 18 and 20.
The RFL is suggesting to scrap the current under 20s competition altogether, meaning clubs will operate an under 18s and academy.
Rather than learning their trade under the watchful eye of senior academy coaches, players over the age of 18 will be farmed out to clubs in lower divisions.
Rush has been involved in youth development since joining Saints in 1999 (check) and has forged a reputation as the one of the game’s leading lights at honing raw talent.
He said: “It is madness. We voted against it. I believe we have one of the best systems in generating players and we are going to move away from it. It’s mindblowing. “I’ve been to the meetings and argued the point and offered help to the RFL to sit on any panel they want to try and demonstrate that a three tier system is the best for developing players.
“One thing that I’m always very serious and very passionate about is developing young players and we have probably produced more than anybody in the last decade and we believe we know how to take a kid from the amateur game into full time rugby league.
“To do that we need three tiers and we are going to get rid of one of them. What you do with a 19 or 20 year old is to send them out to a partnership club arrangement.
“Are the Championship clubs going to vote that through? They are not having a meeting until September but we have got to give them an answer who our partnership club is by August 31.
“I think there is going to be a lot of upset kids that are going to be released from clubs who don’t deserve to be released – just based on an age.
“We will end up an under 19s and a first team. We’ll be one of the only sports in the country to do it – it’s mindblowing.”