This week Bill Carne talks to Ryan Bean, a talented young feller from the north of the county with the rugby world at his feet . . .

For Ryan Bean the world of rugby is his oyster because at 16 years of age he has already caught the eye at school, club and county level, had a season with the Scarlets under 16 academy – and is looking to be involved again in the new season after recuperating from an ear problem.

Ryan is a second row forward and at 6’ 5” and weighing in at over 16 stone he is ideally suited for his lineout role but also enjoys being part of other aspects in the game because he enjoys being a ball handler – and occasionally plays at No 8 or blind-side flanker, which could easily develop into his favourite role at some time in the future.

The 2013/14 campaign was particularly enjoyable for Ryan and his youth team colleagues at Crymych RFC, under the watchful eye of coaches Kevin Phillips and Tudor Harries, because they won a quartet of trophies and only narrowly missed out on a fifth piece of silverware as they lost in the semi-final of the Welsh Youth Cup against their counterparts from Penallta.

The game was played in front of an intimidatory crowd at Loughor RFC and consolation for defeat was the fact that their opponents went on to win the Welsh Youth Cup. They also won the Pembrokeshire Youth League, where they won every game, including the double over Cardigan and Pembroke, their closest rivals, with Ryan managing to score a few tries in the process.

He also scored a try in the Griffiths Cup Final, the county’s under 18 competition traditionally played at Neyland, where they took on old rivals Whitland. They only led 8-6 after a really tough first half but then the Crymych pack got on top and the team’s reward was another 36 unanswered points in a final scoreline of 44-6, with Ryan ploughing over for a try from all of five metres out!

Then it was on to the under 19s final against Pembroke at Whitland and in a far tighter tussle Ryan and Co eased home by 17-12 – and it is a measure of Ryan’s potential that he still has another two seasons to progress in this age group.

Ryan then rounded off his successful first full season of youth rugby by being a part of the eight-man Crymych squad which battled through to the final of the Pembroke Sevens and beat Milford Haven in an entertaining match.

It all seems a long time since Ryan first got involved as a seven year old at Parc Lloyd Thomas and played right through from under nine to under 16 level with Dylan Edwards and Ed Jenkins as coaches. This group of players did really well in the County Finals Day matches for their particular age category and did Crymych RFC proud in the process.

Ryan has been equally involved at Ysgol y Preseli, where a similar squad has been coached throughout by Marc Lloyd, who looks after general fitness and conditioning, and Gethin Vobe, charged with tactical play and raising skill levels.

It was another close-knit group of coaches and players throughout their five years of schools’ rugby and in that time they didn’t lose a single game to another Pembrokeshire school team!

Ryan has also represented the County Schools XV throughout his time at Ysgol y Preseli, with a range of coaches and different approaches to the game. Ryan admits that he loved the direct approach of Jeff Clout (Haverfordwest), who he said was certainly one who let the lads know if they had played below par!

Ryan’s brother Jacob is also involved in rugby because he has played in the rugby league version, also as a second row, during his recently-completed degree course at the University of Glamorgan.

Both have received great support from parents Anita and Jason.

“Great taxi drivers,” says Ryan with a smile on his face!

Ryan also enjoys other sports that are a little different from his rugby, like kayaking on the River Teifi and at Newport Beach, mountain biking and coasteering, but it’s rugby that occupies much of his spare time.

He played under Rob McCusker with the Scarlets U16s Academy which won the competition for the regional teams as they fended off strong challenges from the Ospreys, Dragons and the Blues to take the silverware.

But 2012/13 was disappointing overall because it saw Ryan suffer a broken leg and have an ear problem but then he was back in action with a real vengeance in the campaign just finished and is hoping to be back with the Scarlets for the 2014 campaign.

He has just completed the first year of a two-year diploma course in Sports Coaching at Pembrokeshire College, where Kevin Hopkins is in charge, and involved with Johnny Llewellyn and Barry John with the county team that doubles up as the Scarlets West squad. They train at STP School and work at the nearby Strength Academy Wales centre run by Simon Roach and Owain Rowlands for their weight training, which is an aspect of the course that he really enjoys.

With brother Jacob also back home from college the pair cycle around the area near Boncath where they live – and have a superb set of weights equipment in dad’s garage, which Ryan also uses a lot as part of his strict training regime where nutrition also plays a part, even at 16 years of age.

He clearly approaches his training with the same commitment as his actual playing of the oval ball game, with a maturity way beyond his ears, which bodes well for the future. Ryan Bean is not only a good advertisement for rugby but for his family and education as well – and were are very confident that we will hear a great deal more about this modest and likeable young rugby player in the future!