Newest club looks set to glisten
One of the sport’s newest clubs may not be participating in the Rugby League 9s Grand Final at Headingley Carnegie Stadium in Leeds on Tuesday evening but the University of Gloucestershire All Golds have much to celebrate from their involvement in the high speed, all action derivative of the world’s most exciting team sport.
The All Golds will be one of four new clubs to take their place in Championship One next season and on the basis of their showing in the group stages of the 9s, RFL Chief Operating Officer Ralph Rimmer believes the South West pioneers will make for a valuable addition to the semi-professional code.
After a difficult start against some of the top professional Rugby League teams in the country, the All Golds found their feet in the last round of the 9s in spectacular style, making a massive impression by defeating Stobart Super League clubs Salford City Reds and London Broncos and drawing against a third top flight club, Widnes Vikings.
“Whilst I am sure that no one is getting too carried away with the results from Tuesday, the efforts of the University of Gloucestershire All Golds should be commended,” said Rimmer.
“They went up against some of the best teams from the Super League and Championship in the Rugby League 9s competition and although they just missed out on qualifying for the Grand Final, the All Golds should be thrilled with their achievement.
“It was their first opportunity to test themselves against the professional teams and they demonstrated that they can mix with it the best of them. This experience sets them up perfectly for their move into Championship One in 2013.
“This is an exciting time for the Championships and I think the All Golds will be a valued addition to the competition. Their performance demonstrates what quality the new clubs are likely to bring and puts down a real mark of intent."
The All Golds preparation for entry into Co-operative Championship One continues to develop and in April this year they launched their junior Academy, attracting over 100 players to their first trials and now run Under-14, Under-16 and Under-18 squads.
Andy Pitchford, the Director of Sport at the University of Gloucestershire, said the club’s experience in the 9s would prove invaluable.
“All the players have taken a lot from playing in the 9s, it’s been an experience that will be of massive benefit to everyone at the All Golds,” said Pitchford.
“Our profile in and around Gloucester is lifting all the time and we have had some great coverage in the local media: playing the likes of Leeds, Wigan and Widnes in the 9s has brought us to the attention of lots of people in the area.”
Since January 2011, Gloucester have implemented a number of community strategies and are currently delivering Rugby League in eight primary schools, 14 secondary schools and have seen an increase in Rugby League participation numbers by 550 new players since the beginning of the year.
The RFL has already confirmed that the All Golds, Hemel Stags and Northampton Rebels will join Championship One next season with the identity of the fourth new club scheduled to be announced by mid-July.
The 2012 Rugby League 9s Grand Final night will feature six Super League clubs - Hull Kingston Rovers, Leeds Rhinos, London Broncos, Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, Warrington Wolves and Wigan Warriors – plus Co-operative Championship champions Featherstone Rovers and a combined Cumbria team.
Tickets for the 2012 Rugby League 9s Finals Night at Headingley Carnegie Stadium on Tuesday June 26 (6pm) are available to purchase now and you will receive another absolutely free of charge.
This BOGOF offer is for pre-purchased tickets only and will not be available on the day of the game: all complimentary tickets issued will be of equal or lower value to those purchased.
Tickets are available for just £10 adults and £5 concessions by calling Leeds Rhinos Ticket Office on 0871 423 1315 (calls charged at 10p per min – calls from mobiles may vary) or the RFL Ticket Office on 0844 856 1113.
The schedule for the Rugby League 9s Grand Finals night is as follows:
Quarter-final 1: Leeds v London;
Quarter-final 2: Wakefield v Cumbria;
Quarter-final 3: Warrington v Hull KR;
Quarter-final 4: Wigan v Featherstone.