Castleford students heading down under

Castleford Academy year 11 students heading to Australia: Rhys Bonser, Luke Hands, Callum McLelland and Tommy Wilkes.
Castleford Academy year 11 students heading to Australia: Rhys Bonser, Luke Hands, Callum McLelland and Tommy Wilkes.
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An exceptional group of students at Castleford Academy have been chosen to spend two months this summer on an exchange trip in Australia to play Rugby League.

Heading down under are Rhys Bonser, Luke Hands, Callum McLelland and Tommy Wilkes, who are all currently in year 11 and taking their GCSEs.

All four are talented rugby league players, who have represented the school in two national finals, one at Wembley in 2012.

Rhys and Callum are both on under 16s scholarship terms with Castleford Tigers, while Callum was also the England under 16s captain in the recent test series in France.

The players fly out to Australia this month after completing their final GCSE exams and will be staying with Australian families for the duration of the trip.

Despite this, the trip still costs a substantial amount of money with flights and other expenses included and the families have organised various fundraising events over the last five months to help.

The students, families and the school would also like to say thanks to local businesses R&amp, S Services, Hague Printing, Harvard Engineering and BPI Auctions for sponsoring the tour. They are all greatly appreciative of their support.

The Castleford Academy has had a close partnership over the past few years with Mackay State High School Rugby League Academy, in Queensland.

This has seen a total of 29 students in the past six summers embark on the same adventure.

In 2013, the academy also took a full rugby league team of 22 students down under when they spent more than two weeks touring the state – and they are doing the same later this month with 24 of the current year nine squad travelling.