Davies and Samuel bemoan Crusaders move

Crusaders are set to finally confirm their move to Wrexham at a press conference later today.

The troubled Welsh franchise will relocate after a difficult debut season in the top flight which saw them win just three games and they were plagued with a number of off-field problems.

Owner Leighton Samuel has now sold his stake in the club to a consortium led by Wrexham FC chairman Geoff Moss, with rugby league set to be served in South Wales by a new club in Championship 1.

However, Samuel has criticised the RFL in this week’s League Express newspaper, saying: “The trouble is that rugby league in Wales isn’t going to expand unless there is a pot of money. They [the RFL] were happy to let the franchise go to north Wales because they think they will get their money back. But I am personally very sad that the Crusaders are not still in south Wales. We were looking for investment over time and I am pretty disappointed that no one in south Wales came forward to help me finance the club.”

Samuel also revealed that he had pumped £1.64m in to the club since its inception in 2005, despite the club having just 275 season ticket holders last season.

“What needs to be understood is that extra money is needed to support an expansion club. We needed a bit of financial support and the other Super League clubs said, ‘Hang on a minute, you are using our money to finance an expansion club’. Unfortunately the RFL directors are not visionaries. They are looking after the game, but they haven’t got the cash with which to do it properly.”

Meanwhile, Welsh dual-code rugby legend Jonathan Davies has admitted that the move is a blow to the sport in south Wales, and that it is purely financial.

He said: “It didn’t perform that great on the field and finances have been a problem off it. It’s been moved up there purely for financial reasons.

“The franchise was given to the south Wales area and I’m sure that everyone concerned is disappointed at what’s happening. It’s damage limitation at the moment and just for it to keep going.

“I do feel sorry for the likes of Leigh and especially Widnes, who lost out to the south Wales franchise.

“Now they will be moving to within 30 miles of their clubs, so it’s a bit unfair on them but these things happen sometime.

“Some people will want the franchise to survive and this is the only way, but I’m sure there will be slight animosity because they’ve moved very near to the heartland of rugby league.”

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