The transition between junior and senior rugby has always been a difficult area.

Age grade rugby runs up to under-15 level and then rolls into under-18 (also known as Colts), but in rugby circles it’s been difficult to retain players through the transition.

Senior rugby doesn’t allow players under-17, but other sports do and the drop-off rate has been historically high. This is exacerbated by the catchment area for Isle of Man rugby and that patch of water which surrounds us. Despite that, a couple of brave souls have risen to the post-Covid challenge and decided to do something about it.

Neil Collister and Neil Harmer are senior players at Southern Nomads and Ramsey respectively and, after finding nothing but frustration at Colts, they have gone and set up a team themselves named Ellan Vannin Colts.

The team have had a couple of games this season including a trip to Chester in the Cheshire Junior Cup where they raised more than a few eyebrows before losing 31-17. They were forced to concede the next Cup game after they struggled to get a side available for the cut-off date, but this weekend they have a home friendly against Wrexham.

All the island clubs are supporting the venture whether through providing players, kit or even a venue.

Additionally, the clubs all agreed to play the scheduled Manx Cup games midweek to allow this game to go ahead unhindered without forcing their youngsters to choose. The game will be at Ramsey’s Mooragh Park ground and kick off is at 4pm.

Squad: Lloyd Cawtherley, Euan Harmer, Leo McVicar, Ben Gelling, Drystan Sewell, Ryan Wren, Adam Breward, Tom Collister, Nathan Robson, Will Taylor, Tony Quinn, Sean Christian, Joey Callow, Raf Sinadjan, Luke Ward, Akira Pascual, Tom Whitbread, Callum Murray, George Nicholson and Nathan Brew.

Wrexham will be no slouches either and, while many of the Ellan Vannin squad have been dipping their toes into senior rugby this season, this will be a tough game against a well-drilled opposition.

Saturday, April 1:

Women’s NC1 North West

Vagabonds v Leigh @ Ballafletcher ko 12.30pm


Ellan Vannin Colts v Wrexham Youth @ Mooragh Park ko 4pm