Cheltenham Old Patesians are to become the first club in history to have teams playing both rugby union and rugby league under the same ownership.
Old Pats, who are celebrating their centenary year by establishing a 13-a-side team in their colours, will be the official feeder club for Cheltenham to the new University of Gloucestershire All Golds team, who have joined Championship 1 for 2013.
Lionel Hurst, the driving force of the sport in Gloucestershire, said: “It is a unique state of affairs that is without precedent in the world of rugby that the same club should play both 13 and 15 aside codes under the same name, kit, badge ethos and ownership. It has been a complete privilege to deal with the Old Pats.
“They are very professional and visionary in their outlook. I know that many followers of rugby league are keen to assist the club in its rugby union ambitions and I have no doubt that this desire is reciprocated.”
Based at Everest Road in Cheltenham, which has previously hosted the England rugby league team, Old Pats will be offering players the chance to play throughout the spring and summer, and will be placed in a competition soon.
Club chairman Michael Angell said: “We are really excited and committed to the journey ahead and we are truly confident that the playing of both codes in one single club will provide significant social and playing benefits to everyone involved.
“It is fantastic news that the All Golds have chosen the Old Pats as their feeder club based here in Cheltenham. It cements the part they play in the local community and will enable Old Pats to ensure yet more players engage in and learn from rugby with league and union working together to mutual advantage.”