Connect with us

Super League

Ex-Castleford Tigers and Wigan Warriors halfback’s son speaks as he is given opportunity by Leeds Rhinos

Leeds Rhinos are giving more young players in the city the opportunity to progress their rugby skills and knowledge in its development pathway thanks to the club’s ongoing partnership with Leeds Beckett University.

Leeds Beckett students Iwan Orr and Harry Medlicott are currently training with the Rhinos Academy on a weekly basis after catching the eye of the Rhinos talent identification staff whilst playing for the university side. The pair were part of the university’s team who were undefeated in the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) regular season, where they were coached by former Rhinos player Jamie Jones-Buchanan.

The duo will have the opportunity to work with the club’s Academy staff, led by Tony Smith, for the rest of the current season and will be eligible to play in the Reserves competition with their university registration.

Sport Business Management student Orr made his first appearance in the 38-18 win over Hull FC Reserves a fortnight ago.

The son of former Castleford Tigers halfback Danny Orr has previously played in the Bradford Bulls and Castleford Tigers youth pathways before taking time out of the game in 2020. Following a positive season with the university, the full-back said he was looking forward to continuing his development at the Rhinos.

He said: “Playing at University got me back into the game. I’d been doing it since I was a kid and I just needed a break. Prior to playing again, I was a half back but Chris Fletcher, Blake Austin and Jamie Jones-Buchanan, who coach me at Leeds Beckett, moved me to full-back, which I was a bit reluctant about at first but I got the hang of it.

“Blake has helped me a lot too, mainly with getting numbers right in defence. It’s something that I’m still working on but I’m grateful for the tips he’s passed on to me and the opportunity to work with an experienced player like him.”

Medlicott balances playing for Rugby League alongside studying electrical and electronic engineering at Leeds Beckett. The back-rower played for Skirlaugh Bulls prior to his move to Leeds for university and, along with Orr, he was rewarded for a great season with a call-up to the England Students squad earlier this week.

Speaking about his first season under Jones-Buchanan, he said: “JJB has brought a great team culture, which I think we missed out on last year. We’ve bonded a bit closer this year and got some great results but just came short in the final unfortunately.

“There’s a lot of talent at the university level that gets missed out on, not just at Beckett but at other universities as well, so it’s good that clubs like Leeds are keeping an eye on players that may have slipped through the system. I’m thankful to the Rhinos for this opportunity and for the remainder of this year. I want to cement my place in the reserves side and then hopefully build from there.”

Leeds Rhinos Head of Culture and Diversity and Leeds Beckett head coach Jones-Buchanan was over the moon for his players to see his players get the opportunity to continue their development at the club where he won eleven domestic trophies. He said: “They absolutely deserve it. The purpose of this partnership is to recycle potential from the university to the Rhinos, and following the likes of Alex Walmsley and Jimmy Keinhorst in the past, Iwan and Harry have the same opportunity to keep developing outside of university.

“I think when you’re playing for an identity, the club, the badge and the colours, you’re getting the same level of coaching and you’re trying to adopt the same philosophies, the Reserves is really important at doing that. It gives opportunities for not just universities but local clubs where players with talent need that chance to put on a kit and play in an environment where they’re under a microscope.”

Leeds Rhinos head of youth John Bastian, who works closely with Jones-Buchanan to identify talents in the university game, added: “It’s an important partnership that is creating opportunities for players that are at Leeds Beckett University. We’re always keeping an eye out for players throughout the season that are at the standard to play in the Reserves competition and are ambitious to go to the next level, and it’s important that we keep strengthening the partnership that we have with Leeds Beckett in regard to making those opportunities available for their players.”

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Must See

More in Super League