Unleashing the Powerhouse: St Helens’ Conveyor Belt of Homegrown Rugby Talent

St Helens’ commitment to developing homegrown talent has been the foundation of their remarkable success, with the club’s impressive tally of nine Grand Final victories a testament to this approach. From legendary players like Keiron Cunningham to recent standouts like James Roby and Jack Welsby, the Saints’ conveyor belt of talent shows no signs of slowing down, with 19-year-old prop forward Noah Stephens the latest product of their acclaimed academy system.

St Helens: A Conveyor Belt of Homegrown Talent

St Helens have long been renowned for their commitment to developing homegrown talent, with their philosophy firmly centered around nurturing players from within. The club’s impressive tally of nine Grand Final victories, a Super League record, is a testament to the success of this approach, with many of their most influential players hailing from the vaunted St Helens youth ranks.

Take the legendary Keiron Cunningham, whose exploits in the famous Red V jersey saw him immortalized in a bronze statue outside the Totally Wicked Stadium. Or consider the remarkable 20-year career of James Roby, the longevity of Jonny Lomax and Tommy Makinson, and the recent emergence of Jack Welsby as one of the best players in the world – all products of the club’s renowned academy system.

“The good news for Saints supporters is that the conveyor belt of talent shows no signs of slowing down.”

One name to keep an eager eye on is Noah Stephens, a 19-year-old prop forward who is rapidly making a name for himself and edging ever closer to a senior debut.

Hailing from Crosby, just north of Liverpool, Stephens initially excelled in rugby union, captaining the first team at his school, St Mary’s College, before opting to commit to rugby league and St Helens. His physicality and raw talent were soon spotted by the club’s scouts, and he joined the Saints scholarship system at the age of 15, progressing through the youth ranks and earning a full-time contract with the senior squad last year.

According to Derek Traynor, the Saints academy coach who has been with the club since 1995, Stephens’ development has been “rapid.” The young forward’s combination of power, leg speed, and improved endurance has drawn comparisons to Saints legend Agnatius Paasi, with Traynor praising his smart, dedicated approach and the valuable lessons he has learned from training alongside the likes of Alex Walmsley.

While Stephens’ Super League debut may not be too far away, Traynor stresses the importance of allowing him to gradually adjust to the increased intensity and decision-making required at the top level. Nevertheless, the future looks bright for this latest product of the renowned St Helens academy, as the club continues to nurture a new generation of talent ready to carry on their proud winning tradition.

🔗 Source