The first ever Rugby League match between traditional West country rivals Devon and Cornwall will take place on Thursday September 16 at the Devonport Services ground in Plymouth kicking off at 7pm.
The match is being held to commemorate the centenary of Rugby League in Devon. In 1910, the touring ‘Northern Union’ team played against a ‘Wales and West’ team in front of more than 5000 spectators at Home Park, Plymouth.
Joe Catcheside, RFL South West Regional Manager, said: “This is a tremendous development for the South West.
“It gives the Devon players a representative level to aspire to as a stepping stone to the Regional team and it gives the Cornish players the chance to try their hand at a sport that suits their competitiveness and athleticism.”
Rugby League has had a fitful existence in Devon for much of the last 100 years, in the late 1980s there was a county competition involving four sides and individuals from Devon have also made it to the higher levels of the game.
Plymouth dockworker, Jimmy Peters, was the first black British rugby professional in the early 1900s, while current Barnstaple RFC Director of Rugby Kevin Squire played professionally for Leeds Rhinos.
The number of people playing Rugby League in the region has increased dramatically over the last few years and there are currently five Devon teams competing in the South West Conference Division.
Devon Sharks, East Devon Eagles and Exeter Centurions took the top three positions in this summer’s league table and those clubs are expected to provide the majority of players for the county team.
This year also saw the first junior competitions in Plymouth and South Devon, with over 20 schools introducing the sport for the first time.
Cornwall, meanwhile, will be making their debut in Rugby League, but the pride and passion in the peninsula will ensure a competitive encounter.
As well as a core of players from RNAS Culdrose, Cornwall can draw upon the Somerset Vikings player-coach, Chris Richards, and Dominic Swann, the Captain-Coach of Midlands Premier team Bristol Sonics.
For more information on Rugby League in the South West or to purchase tickets for this clash visit www.southwestrugbyleague.com