CONNOR BARLEY: I AM EXCITED TO DEVELOP AT HULL KR!
Losing isn’t something which has happened often for Carl Beet’s Skirlaugh Under 14s as they stroll to yet another comfortable victory in the Hull and District Comp this weekend. Head and shoulders above everybody else, the city has been anxious to know where the best players in Hull will be signing their scholarship deals following the City of Hull Split into Hull FC and Hull KR Academy respectively.
Connor Barley, 14, is one of those exceptional players who has drawn the interest of elite rugby clubs across both codes following an exciting junior campaign with Skirlaugh. Barley, who predominantly plays centre has signed a 2- year scholarship deal with Hull Kingston Rovers.
I have filmed and featured Connor in action several times on GRM SPORT. You can watch Connor in action by following the links at the end of this article.
I recently caught up with Connor to discuss his grassroots story and his reaction to signing for Hull KR. Here’s what Connor Barley had to say to GRM SPORT:
On his rugby background
“ My rugby hero is my uncle Paul Cooke, who played for Hull KR. Rugby has always been in my family so I took it up to carry on that tradition. My best rugby memory has to be winning the Yorkshire Cup. We had a hard run up and beat teams such as Emley Moor and Lock Lane who are two of the top teams in Yorkshire for my age.
On his development at Skirlaugh
“ I joined Skirlaugh when I was 10, prior to that I played 3 years at Hull Wyke but decided to switch to the Bulls for a better coaching relationship.
“ Carl Beet is a great coach! He has a fantastic relationship with all of us players. Carl can have a laugh with you but we all switch on when it comes to game day. We have a great balance at Skirlaugh and Carl has helped us build good structure in the forwards and backs which isn’t being done at other clubs which is one of the reasons why we win most games in the Hull and District League so comfortably.
On signing for Hull KR
“ I had a lot of out of town interest but decided to sign for Hull KR because I want to carry on playing with my mates and I wanted to stay in my home city. John Bastian is one of the key reasons why I am excited about the scholarship program with Hull KR, he has a lot of experience and he has developed a lot of great players. I had my eyes on Castleford to be honest, but when City of Hull Academy split that all changed and now I can’t wait to develop at Hull KR!
On the position he would like to play in the future
“ I have mostly played centre or winger, but I have always liked the look of being a full-back. I link up well already, but I think defending is an area I need to work on. We’ve not really been challenged defensively as a team playing in the Hull league, so when we play bigger and better teams in the Yorkshire Cup and National Cup, we have been found out defensively a few timers. If I work on my defence I fancy my chances as a full-back.
On other teammates to look out for from Skirlaugh
“ If I had to pick one other player from Skirlaugh who I think has a bright future I would pick Oscar Collingwood. He joined last year from football and was recently offered a scholarship with KR too!
On where he sees himself in 5 years time.
“In 5 years time hopefully I will be in and around the first team at Hull KR!”
Thank you for taking the time out to speak to GRM SPORT Connor, wishing you all the best with your rugby career!
Written by Shawn Boatin