Rugby League tour to Norway
Student Rugby League once more leads the way with a pioneering rugby league tour to Norway in early July. The purpose of the GB Chairman’s XIII, known as the ‘Pioneers’, is to aid the development of the greatest game in fledgling rugby league nations.
This is an official tour by the Student Rugby League (SRL) in liaison with the RL European Federation (RLEF). The trip will involve joint training and educational sessions with the Norwegian players before the test match in Oslo on Sunday 5 July. Preparations include a training camp on the weekend of 19-21 June in Hull.
The Pioneers is a development experience. The squad are drawn from 14 different universities across the UK including Oxford and Cambridge. The group has almost equal representation from each of the Four Nations (England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales) with players from 20 different counties including Hampshire, Essex, Bucks, Dorset, Devon, Co. Antrim, Co. Dublin, Roxburghshire, Carmarthenshire and Powys as well as the northern heartlands. Many of the players are themselves relatively new recruits to rugby league.
This is the fifth Pioneers tour on the back of visits to Estonia, Czech Republic, Latvia and Ukraine. The Pioneers have laid the foundations for each of those countries to develop rugby league and now each is participating in either European Shield or European Bowl competitions. We are pleased to see that the visit of BARLA u-23's to Ukraine next month will continue the momentum of the Pioneers 2008 tour.
The 2009 squad will be coached by Andy Jordan, a member of the RFL development staff.
Gerard Keenan, Team Manager commented, “The Pioneers is a unique development concept. Our students continue to break new territory. Their desire is not only to play rugby league but to teach others and share their love of this fantastic sport. We are going to Norway not to plunder but to bring people from afar into the rugby league family. We expect a real challenge and know that within a short space of time our Viking friends will become formidable opponents.”
The playing squad:
Name University Country
Luke Donovan Bangor Ireland
Mike Ellis Hull England
Patrick Evans Gloucester Wales
Peter Forster Oxford England
Chris Graham Napier Scotland
James Harrison Bradford England
James Howard Leeds Trinity England
Stephen Knowles Leeds Trinity Ireland
Ryan Lewis Brunel England
Liam Morton Bangor Wales
Ollie O'Mara Oxford Brookes Ireland
Chris Reynolds Leeds Met Carnegie Wales
Keith Sandhu Bradford England
Ian Skinner Bangor Wales
George Smibert Oxford Scotland
Alex Stevens Exeter Scotland
Mark Sweeney Cambridge Ireland
Adam Ward Birmingham Scotland
Rob Webber Gloucester England
The management squad:
Name Position Country
Gerard Keenan Team Manager Ireland
John Piercy Tour Manager England
Tom Brewster Asst. Manager England
Andy Jordan Head Coach Wales
Mick Dwyer Sports Therapist Ireland
Chris Radford Referee Scotland