A new era at Castleford Tigers means new faces, and Head of Rugby and Development Danny Wilson is amongst the list to join the Club. Danny is also the current Head Coach of the England Academy as well as a Yorkshire Origin Coach, but a new challenge with Cas has proved an exciting appointment.
“The opening month has been excellent and really refreshing. You look forward to getting into a place and ultimately embed yourself within the community and the culture. It’s been about getting the environment right for when we start pre-season and making sure that it hits that new era, and we can move forward.”
In addition to Danny’s Assistant Coach role alongside Lee Radford, he will also be heavily involved with Castleford’s youth and coaching programmes as well as the Castleford Tigers Foundation to nurture talent in various areas of the Club.
Increasing the bandwidth of the programmes to provide more opportunities to youngsters is a fundamental goal for Danny as he explained its structuring.
“There are two pillars to this. The first one is the community game that already exists and supporting those in schools and getting people to play the game locally, as well as those community clubs to ensure that they feel supported.
“The second pillar is to run programmes that are related to talent transfer. If a youngster doesn’t necessarily play rugby league right now, it doesn’t mean they won’t be a top end Super League player in three to four years’ time.
“Increasing participation through supporting the community’s game and increasing participation through supporting good talent transfer programmes – I think that the Tigers College is massive for that. The College have had two games recently and won both quite convincingly and that is a start, but we can improve that by having a girl’s pathway in the college and three or four different development leagues in the college as well as the boys academy.”
“That can then lend itself to have great production lines at the top from an elite women’s and an elite men’s team.”
Danny joins the Tigers with a wealth of knowledge around youth development and has his own visions as to how the Foundation and Academy can work side-by-side.
“The Foundation and the Tigers College for me would run aligned to the academy programme and pathways. It’s as much a performance and development programme as anything else.
If a player was never on a scholarship but fancied coming to the College to get their chance to play rugby league, he/she has got the same chance to play Super League as anybody else.”
“We want to be trying to develop strength and conditioners, sports therapists, media and marketing people, retail and commercial. Rob Nickolay has come in post to oversee the education system there and he’s very insightful and visionary with that so I’m sure what he brings to the party will be exciting too.”
The Tigers College opens up opportunities for players to express their talent and for Danny, that is one thrilling part of searching for gifted youngsters.
Talking about the College, Danny said: “There is a back rower that we have been watching that wasn’t in the scholarship or the academy that you start to think ‘he’s got some potential.’”
“It looks at growing numbers and if all we do is open the opportunities for more people, you can have a lot more success and that’s the exciting part about the programme.”