This October the Great Britain Teachers Rugby League side will set off for Poland, who will be their first ever opponents abroad.
Head coach Marc Simon admits it is a hugely exciting prospect and one which reflects the progress that has been made since the team was formalized back in 2011.
“When you think we will soon be heading off to play other teams across Europe it is huge. It is a big opportunity for guys to play rep rugby,” Simon told Love Rugby League.
“In previous tournaments, the guys felt like it was a friendly atmosphere because they had played at a high standard.”
The team might train out of Rochdale and Central Park in Wigan but they have players based all over the country.
“We are heavily inundated from the North but are trying to open it up to everyone,” Simon said.
“We do have guys who come up from Hemel and there also people from London who play. There is another who plays out of Coventry Bears.”
Simon was also keen to highlight how much more improved the team’s training methods are compared with several years ago.
“Training is a lot better than what we did previously. There is more of a structured format.
“After training we will have a full video review session so there is quite a professional feel about it all.
“We also have a decent coaching team which is hugely beneficial.”
The team doesn’t receive any financial help from the RFL but Simon admits they are not highest on the list of the governing body’s priorities and that’s the way it always will be.
“The RFL do help people to put things in place but as far as financial help goes it is pretty non-existent because the budget simply isn’t big enough,” he said.
“The thing worth remembering about the RFL is that they have to be impartial to international rep rugby. Their primary focus is on the main squad.”
Despite the struggle to secure funding from the RFL, Simon admits everyone in the team does a great job of finding the money needed for tours abroad and new kits.
“We have had charitable donations from friends and family who just want to help. We even approached local MPS and were delighted when they helped to budget the kits.
“There are other events like function nights and dinners but we try to make it more structured so we will have an official dinner or an official function night.”
Every penny that is raised from these events is used to help fund a variety of things like the cost of a tour against a European team which is estimated to cost at least £10,000.
For the Canada tour they have planned next year, the sum could be double.
Anybody wishing to make a donation or is interested in playing for the side can do by visiting the team’s website by clicking here.