Gateshead College rugby students win places in national squads

Marc Cook, 18, from Forest Hall, and Ieuan Bodman, 17, from Benwell were selected for the recent Irish RFU and Welsh RFU Exiles squads respectively.

Gifted Ieuan, who plays either scrum-half or fly-half and is a regularly in the Ryton RFC team, and Mark, a prop forward for Percy Park RFC, are both part of the college’s highly successful Rugby Performance Centre.

Marc was part of the IRFU Exiles U18s squad last season and, after being part of the national assessment camps this year is tipped for further success after being selected for the Exiles U19s team.

His first game will be at Oratory School in Reading against Munster Academy before jetting-off to Ireland to play against Leinster, Ulster and Connacht academies. Last year, he was good enough to play against Munster at the prestigious Thormond Park.

“I am very excited about playing for the IRFU Exiles,” said Marc. “It allows me to test my skills against bigger and better opposition than I have previous played and means I’m able to judge my progression in the sport I love.”

He’s now looking forward to travelling to Ireland and experiencing the life of a professional, spending time together with other team mates and playing more international rugby.

After that he’ll be setting his sights on realising his aim of playing championship league rugby for a few seasons before pursuing his ultimate dream of securing a place in the top flight with a Premiership Rugby club.

Ieuan will be representing the Welsh RFU Exiles U17s team that includes preparing for the forthcoming tournament against the Irish and Scottish Exiles.

He said: “I am really looking forward to travelling around the country and playing against some of the best players in my age group.”

Gateshead College head rugby coach Liam Gumbrill is proud of the players’ achievements and believes they have the ability and talent to win a place in the starting fifteen.

“I’m extremely proud of the lads,” added Liam. “They’re both very talented and certainly have the chance of going on to play at a very high standard.

“Both are a credit to Gateshead College, their rugby clubs, families and the people who have invested time in them and their rugby.

“This is an excellent achievement for the boys and shows that the Rugby performance Centre at Gateshead College is working.”

If you are interested in joining next September’s Rugby Performance Centre intake please contact Liam Gumbrill on 07939 323 777 or email