TEENAGE DUAL CODE WINGER SET FOR TYKES DEBUT

Dual code Academy star David Doherty, 17, is set to make his debut for Leeds Tykes in the Zurich Premiership clash with Northampton Saints this Sunday at Headingley

Dual code Academy star David Doherty, 17, is set to make his debut for Leeds Tykes in the Zurich Premiership clash with Northampton Saints this Sunday at Headingley, kick off 2.30pm. Doherty, who this season captained England RU U18 Clubs, is one of the best young wingers in England in either code and plays rugby union for Leeds Tykes as well as Rugby League for sister club Leeds Rhinos. He has been drafted into the Tykes squad by Director of Rugby Phil Davies for Sunday’s game after an impressive season that has seen him called up by England RU U19’s despite being at least a year younger than the rest of his team mates. If Doherty makes an appearance off the bench he will become the youngest ever player to play for the club. Davies commented, "David is an extremely talented rugby player, in either code, and I am looking forward to seeing him in the professional ranks. He has worked hard with both our RFU Academy and also the Rhinos Academy coaches to develop his natural ability and I am glad to be able to give him the opportunity he deserves. His elevation to the first team squad is a marvellous exhibition of the strengths of the Leeds Rugby operation and shows the continuing opportunities we can offer young rugby players. From a Tykes point of view it is great that we have another player to graduate from the RFU Academy following in the footsteps of Michael Cusack, who has come in this year as a teenage prop and held his own domestically and in Europe to earn himself a new two-year contract. "The importance of a successful Academy producing quality players can not be underestimated. If you look at the example that Leeds Rhinos have produced, whereby over half of their 28 man Super League squad is a product of their academy, it shows how far it can go and how successful it can be," added Davies. Doherty joined Leeds Rugby in 2003 and has since played one season with Leeds Rhinos, winning the U18 Championship, and one season with Leeds Tykes, where he was selected for England U18 Clubs along with eight other Tykes Academy players in a 25-man squad. He is originally from Leeds and attended Mount St Mary’s School playing amateur rugby league for Drighlington ARLFC and junior rugby union with West Leeds RUFC. Doherty, along with fellow Leeds Rugby dual code player Chas I’Anson, is part of the RFU’s Junior National Academy. The Junior National Academy is overseen by Brian Ashton and is a group of 16 players who have been identified as having the necessary ability to go to the highest level with England. It could be a dream weekend for Doherty if he does make his debut. 24 hours later on Bank Holiday Monday, the Tykes U19 side face Bedford in the National Colts Cup Final at Northampton’s Franklin’s Gardens when the young winger is expected to start.