Rugby League making huge strides in North Wales
Wales Rugby League have expressed their delight at the huge strides being made in North Wales as the principality prepares for an exciting new era with North Wales Crusaders’ first Co-operative Championship One fixture.
The newly-formed Crusaders host Barrow Raiders, the 2010 Championship winners, at the Glyndwr Racecourse Ground, Wrexham, on Sunday with a squad rich in home-spun talent.
A quarter of the Crusaders squad are from North Wales and with some hugely successful development work taking place in the region, it is hoped that this number will continue to increase.
The inaugural North Wales Conference launches on May 5 and Wrexham Bradley Raiders, Montgomeryshire Marauders, Prestatyn and Rhyl Panthers, Conwy Celts and Dee Valley Dragons will all compete in the new competition in 2012.
North Wales Rugby League Development officer Matt Pritchard said: “Rugby League is going from strength to strength in North Wales.
“We are all so proud to see the hard work and dedication from everyone in getting North Wales Crusaders off the ground and this has provided a fantastic clear pathway for players to feed into the first team and then hopefully Wales.
“We are really building momentum and the game in Wales can only get stronger with the Rugby League World Cup 2013 coming up.
“Volunteer development is so important in our game, they work so hard to promote and develop the sport and it is exciting to see we now have 10 qualified referees, over 20 qualified Level One coaches and increasing numbers of qualified Level Two coaches in North Wales.
“Due to the high level of interest this year, we are looking to put in place a Level One and Level Two UKCC coaching course. These are all incredible developments and hopefully we can build on this year by year increasing Rugby League at all levels.”
Wales Rugby League President Mike Nicholas said: “Rugby League is acknowledged as the fastest growing sport in Wales and is in the process of establishing itself in the north alongside participation in the sport that already exists in the Universities of Bangor and Aberystwyth University.
“These teams will take part in the first structured North Wales 9s competition, heralding the start of the newly-formed North Wales Summer Conference.
“These are exciting times for the growth of the game in these areas together with the North Wales Crusaders entry into Championship One.
“This along with South Wales Scorpions gives us full national coverage of the game for the first time and has attracted a lot of interest and support both on and off the field of play.
“Everybody is invited to enjoy and experience the pace, power and passion of our great game as players or spectators.”
The 2012 Conference season will commence with the inaugural North Wales Senior 9s competition where seven clubs will compete in a round robin tournament with modified Rugby League rules.
The competition will be held at the Queensway Sports Stadium on April 1. All the participants will then be invited to watch the North Wales Crusaders take on Rochdale Hornets later on at Glyndwr Racecourse Ground, Wrexham.
With interest so high in the sport, Wales Rugby League have recently founded their first North Wales Performance Development Centre to develop talented players.
These players will feed into the North Wales Crusaders Under-18s who will be competing in the Conference Youth League.
North Wales Crusaders Under-18s will start their season with a home game at Queensway Sports Stadium, Wrexham on the March 11 with 12.00pm kick off.
Through the summer Wales Rugby League, in partnership with Street Games, will continue to run Street Rugby. This is a programme which provides doorstep Rugby League in deprived areas for young people aged 11 to 18. 2012 will see the number of areas increased from five to nine in North Wales.
On top of this Wales Rugby League are delivering after school clubs and holiday skill camps. Future developments will see Adult Touch Rugby League return to Wrexham, and new Street Rugby and Rugby League coaching workshops will be delivered throughout North Wales.
If you would like to get involved in Rugby League in North Wales please contact firstname.lastname@example.org