WARRINGTON RUFC’S production line is starting to churn out some serious young talent.

Twelve players to have come through the club’s junior systems feature prominently in the Sale Sharks pathways, including six in the under 18s academy and performance team – more than any other club.

Three more players also feature in both the u18 Development group and the u16s.

From left, Sam Marshall, Harry Smithers and Josh Maskery

From left, Sam Marshall, Harry Smithers and Josh Maskery

They are making a good fist of swimming in Sharks territory and they will be watched closely from “back home.”

Warrington – now based at Grappenhall Sports Club – founded its junior section in 1998 and since then, a steady stream of talent had flowed through its age groups and dominated youth tournaments.

As a member of that first junior intake, current first-team manager Josh Riley is understandably proud.

“For years we've had a good progression of players and it's a great culture that's developing,” he said.

“It's not just a club for the elite and our coaching teams focus on developing kids' skillsets first, looking at the detail but also having fun.”

“This seems to be appreciated by the county teams, which are flooded with Warrington players, and professional teams in both codes.

“I'd like to think we'd have had more in the Sale Academy had two players not recently chosen to sign pro contracts in rugby league."

So could these players go on to challenge for a place in the first XV, who play in the North One West division?

"This has been a real hurdle in the past but it's also something that the club has been addressing,” Riley said.

“You've got to remember what a tough position senior rugby at the club has been in over recent years, just in terms of facilities.

“We now have a training and playing facility we can call home and a young, eager, talented senior squad to welcome Colts (under 17s and under 18s) players into.

“We understand the size of the challenge to get up a few leagues to be a team that these kids can aspire to be a part of.

“But we also feel the amazing support from the town we represent as we strive to change this underdog label we currently hold into a dominant force, just like our junior section have done."

Warrington RUFC juniors in Sale Sharks academy sides:

Under 18s: Charlie Bancroft, Joe Craven, Benny Hartill, Archie Kellett, Leo Zheng, Rorio Zheng, Sam Wadsworth, Matty Hope, Joe Taylor

Under 16s: Sam Marshall, Harry Smithers, Josh Maskery