Gloucestershire All Golds have entered a partnership with leading south west community club Bristol Sonics.
The two clubs will now share players, coaching staff and resources, as well as working together on marketing, merchandising and player development.
A number of the Championship 1 club’s players will also be “dual registered” with the Sonics, allowing them to appear for Bristol during the forthcoming Conference League south season.
Bristol Sonics Director of Rugby, Karl Fearnley, said: “I’m delighted to be able to announce this agreement between the Sonics and the All Golds. This partnership puts in place structures that will allow talented, ambitious Rugby players from the South West a route to semi-professional rugby directly from the community game. Our close ties with the All Golds will make the Sonics an attractive proposition for young players with designs on the Championships or even Super League.”
University of Gloucestershire All Golds’ Head Coach, Brad Hepi, said: “This gives us another pathway of sustainable player development for our professional team and a relationship that will be equally beneficial to both clubs on and off the field.”
This year, Bristol Sonics’ first team will compete in the Rugby Football League’s new Conference League South competition for elite community clubs based outside the game’s traditional Northern “heartlands”. The season begins on April 6, when the Sonics face a long trip North to take on Sheffield Hallam Eagles, a new side set up by 2012 Championship winners Sheffield Eagles and Sheffield Hallam University.
The West of England League, featuring the Sonics’ second team and other community clubs from the region, is due to kick-off in May.