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From the rugby pitch to the Royal Albert Hall

25 April 2018

A third-year School of Welsh student will face Swansea University’s rugby squad at the Liberty Stadium today (25 April) for the 2018 Varsity match.

Rhydian Jenkins, who is studying for a BA in Welsh and will graduate this summer, has been named in the starting line-up of Cardiff University’s rugby first team for the annual battle, which was established in 1996.

Last year, Cardiff secured the rugby cup but it was Swansea who took the overall Varsity Shield, which involves more than 30 different sporting events. Rhydian and his fellow players will be hoping for a victory on the rugby pitch to crown a day of success for Cardiff University’s teams.

Rhydian began his studies in the School of Welsh in 2015 and was one of the first recipients of its Creative Minds Scholarships. Since then he has combined academic excellence with involvement in a range of extracurricular activities.

In addition to playing rugby for the University, Rhydian is a singer and a keen competitor at the Urdd and National Eisteddfod, and a member of Aelwyd y Waun Ddyfal. In the 2015 National Eisteddfod, he won four gold medals in the boys’ solo, folk solo, solo cerdd dant and cerdd dant duet competitions. He also enjoyed victory at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod.

Following the big rugby match and his final exams, Rhydian will be stepping onto a different stage with a performance at London’s Royal Albert Hall, after receiving a singing scholarship last summer.

Dr Angharad Naylor, Rhydian’s personal tutor, reflected on his enthusiasm, diligence and commitment: “It has been a privilege to witness Rhydian’s development as a student during the past three years and to share in his successes on the rugby field and the stage.

Angharad Naylor

“Without a doubt, Rhydian has capitalised on all the opportunities that the University and the capital city have to offer. While giving his all to his studies he has made sure to take advantage of the multiple social and cultural opportunities outside of the classroom. This breadth of activity has enriched his student experience and underpinned his personal and professional development. I am confident that Rhydian has a bright future ahead of him and his scholastic and extracurricular experiences will serve him well as he undertakes a PGCE course next year.”

Dr Angharad Naylor, Lecturer and Admissions Tutor

Rhydian said: “I’m looking forward to the game against Swansea and hoping for the win. It would be a wonderful way to cap three years as part of the rugby team and a Cardiff University student.

“There are a lot of new and exciting thing on the horizon for me with the concert in London, graduation and beginning my PGCE at Cardiff Metropolitan University. I’m very grateful for the range of experiences I’ve enjoyed during my undergraduate studies and for the friendship and support offered by the School of Welsh. I would strongly encourage everyone who is starting at university in September to take advantage of every opportunity that comes their way to participate in sporting, cultural and social activities. It will enrich their experience, help them to make new friends and, more importantly, they’ll have fun!”

Rhydian received an inaugural Creative Minds Scholarship, worth £3,000, when he started at the School of Welsh. During his undergraduate studies, he followed several of the School’s innovative modules which combine academic and research skills with professional and vocational skills. This year, he studied the Classroom module (Yr Ystafell Ddosbarth) which offers a general introduction to the field of Welsh-medium education and teaching. It enables students to look at pedagogy and methods of language acquisition and to undertake a period of work experience in a Welsh-medium school or the Sabbatical Scheme and Welsh for Adults courses.

The School wishes Rhydian and all of the School’s students the very best of luck for the coming weeks.

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