Teenage rugby league star aiming to impress in Welsh colours
News, Sport | Rhys Williams | Published: 16:45, Thursday June 20th, 2019.
A 16-year-old rugby player from Caerphilly is aiming to make it as a professional after being called up to the Wales Students Rugby League squad.
Jacob Lee, who plays both rugby union and rugby league, will be travelling to Edinburgh for the Four Nations tournament, which gets underway on Saturday, June 22.
The former Ysgol Gyfan Cwm Rhymni pupil has been involved with the Wales u16s setup since he was 14-years-old, playing in the historic 18-10 victory over England in September 2017 – where Wales beat England for the first time in an u16 international match.
Jacob, who is 6ft 2in tall and weighs 18 stone, has also been involved with the Wales u19s squad and says he “likes the challenge” that comes with facing opponents much older than him.
Currently, he plays league for Cardiff Blue Dragons, having previously played for Aber Valley Wolves.
He also plays union with Caerphilly RFC and has previously played for Senghenydd and Penallta.
In league, Jacob plays as a prop or second-rower, while in union he plays as a centre or No8.
Jacob has played the sport since he was five-years-old and said: “I enjoy it. It gets me out of the house.
“I’m aiming to make it professionally in either league or union – I’ll see what happens.”
Jacob was offered a scholarship with English rugby league side Wigan Warriors, but turned it down as he didn’t feel ready to move away at the time.
He said: “I like both codes as much as each other. I would like to see league grow and become as big as union in Wales. It’s becoming more and more popular here.
“My dream is to one day play for a team in Australia or New Zealand.”
To achieve his dream, Jacob trains every day – up to 20 hours each week – and says he “gets bored without training”.
Jacob’s mother, Danielle Wiltshire, said: “Jacob has always played rugby – he doesn’t know any different. He’s always had a ball in his hand.
“When he was one-years-old, he drop-kicked a ball and a stranger asked for his name and said he would be a future star.”
Ms Wiltshire added: “It’s amazing seeing Jacob play for Wales. There’s no better feeling than seeing your kids achieving what they’ve always wanted to achieve.
“I’d describe him as an aggressive player. People are often shocked by his size. He’s like a battering ram.”
Next year, the Wales u19 league side will travel to Italy to compete in the European Championships – and Jacob is hoping to be involved.
He said: “I’ve played in Canada, Poland and Ireland, as well as all over Wales and England.”
Jacob, who currently attends Coleg-y-Cymoedd’s Nantgarw campus, will soon be adding South Africa to that list when he travels there with his college side in the not-too-distant future.
But all this travelling doesn’t come cheap. Jacob said: “I’m grateful for how much my mum has put in to support me. I couldn’t do it without her.”
Jacob is currently looking for a sponsor to help fund his equipment, kit, travel and accommodation.
Sponsors receive free tickets and can have their logo on Jacob’s training kit and in matchday programmes, among other things.
• To express an interest in sponsoring Jacob, email email@example.com.