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Saints under 20s coach Ian Talbot takes the reins at Rochdale partnership
1:30pm Thursday 11th October 2012 in Latest News
SAINTS under 20s coach Ian Talbot will take the reins at Championship One side Rochdale Hornets after the two clubs agreed a new partnership following a major shake-up at academy level.
The move comes after the scrapping of the under 20s and under 18s, which have been replaced by a single under 19s league.
In addition to Hornets, Saints have also forged an agreement with Championship side Whitehaven, which means that the club will be able offer its young players opportunities on four levels.
Saints General Manager Mike Rush said: “This partnership is a culmination of three months of hard work with Rochdale and we are delighted they have agreed to link with us. “The move will give our players the opportunity to continue their development at a higher level and we look forward to watching them progress.
“As part of the move, Ian Talbot, our Under 20s coach, will be taking up the Head Coaching position at Rochdale whilst Ex-Rochdale and GB International Matt Calland will also join the set up as Head of Youth and work with the first team squad.
“Ian, Glynn Walsh and Steve Prescott from Saints and Dave Ramsbottom from Rochdale will be retained to give the Hornets a strong coaching set up which in turn will provide a great player pathway for both clubs and their local players.”
The new link-up will see up to five dual registered or loan players play for the Championship side to aid their development.
Hornets’ Chairman Mark Wynn said: “We are thrilled by this partnership. It is an opportunity not just for Hornets but for Rugby League as a whole in Rochdale. Any ambitious youngster in the town can now see a path which leads right to the very top of the game.”
The club’s link up with the Whitehaven club that provided Saints with such great players as Dick Huddart and John Tembey in the past could have a massive benefit.
In the short term, in the absence of the under 20s, it is where players on the fringes of the Saints first team will ply their trade week-to-week.
Barry Richardson from Whitehaven added: “This is mutually beneficial with Whitehaven being able to call upon quality players from St Helens on a weekly basis and the two clubs to develop a strong and lasting relationship with an increased presence in West Cumbria through both clubs’ community programmes and through building upon the excellent relationship over the last few years that has been built up between St Helens and Dave Woods the new Whitehaven Coach.
“This will also give the opportunity for the two clubs to attract top local Cumbrian players who could be available to play initially for St Helens Under 19s or Whitehaven's first team and hopefully to progress longer term through to the Saints first team or part of a strong Whitehaven team established in the Championship.”