20th June 2018, 11:57 | champion_schools

How Champion Schools found Rhys Evans

How Champion Schools found Rhys Evans

He featured in two major finals in 2016...

Rhys Evans featured in two major finals in 2016, 11 years after catching the eye of Warrington Wolves scouts while playing Champion Schools.

The now 25-year-old was a mainstay of the League Leaders' Shield-winning Warrington side and played in both the Challenge Cup Final and Super League Grand Final that year.

But Evans, who now plays for Leigh Centurions in the Championship, would never have become a Rugby League player without a surprise introduction to Champion Schools in 2005, as he told the BBC back in 2011: "We started off at Brynteg Comprehensive School in Bridgend, playing union first, but Kevin Ellis (the former Warrington, Wales and Great Britain player) came to our school to introduce league, and entered us into a national competition," he said.

"We got to the final at the Millennium Stadium - the curtain-raiser for the Challenge Cup final in 2005. I scored a hat-trick and (Evans' twin brother) Ben got Man of the Match.

"Then Warrington's scouts came to see us play for Wales under 13s and invited us up for a trial."

Those scouts were Peter Farrell (father of Wigan legend, Andrew) and Brian Chambers.

After a period of monthly training sessions, at the age of 13, they decided they wanted to move to Warrington to pursue a career in Rugby League and their mother, Jane, backed their decision.

The 23-year-old is set to play in his first major final on Saturday

Evans caught the eye of scouts while playing Champion Schools

The move went ahead a year later, with Ben and Rhys joining the Wolves' scholarship scheme, enrolling to Great Sankey High School and turning out for North West Counties side, Burtonwood Bulldogs.

Rhys, who was a defender in Cardiff City FC's academy between 1999 and 2001, also represented Wales at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.

You can watch stars of the future at the Champion Schools Finals Day on Friday, July 6, held at Victoria Park, Warrington.