Kyle Amor calls for West Cumbrian side as Super League stalwart looks ahead to testimonial clash with Wales

Josh McAllister
Kyle Amor Alamy

Kyle Amor in punditry action

Four-time Super League Grand Final winner Kyle Amor will officially bring a close to his illustrious 15-year career later this month in his testimonial fixture as Cumbria take on Wales at the LEL Arena.

The 36-year-old has also called for a West Cumbrian franchise in order to grow the game and develop more local stars from the area ahead of the fixture on October 13.

Amor, who was forced to retire midway through 2023 with Widnes due to injury, has assembled a Cumbrian squad to take on John Kear’s Wales later this month as part of his testimonial.

The fixture will take place just 12-months after the representative side beat Jamaica 28-12 ahead of their inaugural World Cup campaign in a game that saw the Cumbrian rugby league brand revived with a view of regularly joining the international calendar.

Stars from Wigan, Leeds and St Helens were named in an initial 28-man squad which will be cut down ahead of the clash in Whitehaven, also subject to Grand Final appearance, with Amor set to feature in his final ever game.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” he told Love Rugby League. “An awful lot of work has gone into it. We just hope that it gets supported.

“Anytime top-flight rugby has come to the county, whether it was when we played against Jamaica last year with a crowd of 4,000, or even when St Helens turned up in the Cup, there were 6,000 supporters.

“We’re hopeful that we can get another decent crowd and make some memories for the young stars of the future watching the game.

“I’m also really buzzing that 37 lads all put their hand up and wanted to play for Cumbria, I think that spoke volumes of what is a very tough and hard game all year, 37 blokes wanted to represent their county.

Kyle Amor pushes for Cumbrian representative in the game

Amor insists he’s been ‘banging the drum’ for a Cumbrian representative side to join the professional game, with IMG set to restructure and reimagine the sport following their 12-year strategic partnership, including the axing of promotion and relegation.

The former Ireland international was born in Whitehaven and made his professional debut for his hometown in 2009 before stints with Leeds and Wakefield, eventually going on to enjoy his longest and most successful period with St Helens, winning four Grand Finals and a Challenge Cup.

A product of Hensingham ARLFC, Amor believes the game in Cumbria has an untapped market and should look to explore opportunities to unite and grow.

“I’m a believer of a West Cumbrian franchise,” Amor continued. “It’s important to capture youth and their imagination.

“The logistics of merging all three Cumbrian teams just wouldn’t work, Barrow is so far away. For me personally, it has to be a West Cumbrian franchise.

“There’s far more complex issues that I won’t be aware of to make that happen. But I honestly believe if you had a West Cumbrian team,  it would certainly compete in the Championship without a doubt.

“I think we all feel, I wouldn’t say it’s a chip on our shoulder, but perhaps feel like a forgotten part in rugby league.

“We all fully believe that good players come out the area, but it’s so difficult for players to get signed and picked up and there’s a number of reasons behind that.”

Amor: West Cumbria would bring the gameday experience

The ex-Saints prop also believes the new franchise will fit into IMG’s vision of creating a matchday more about the game itself, with a West Cumbrian outfit able to offer families and supporters full weekends in the lakes as well as the 80-minute spectacle.

Amor said: “I can’t see how it couldn’t work. If you play a West Cumbrian team on a Saturday, you’d spend the weekend in the lakes with your family.

“I reckon now more than ever, the game needs to start realising about a fan day experience. By the time you pay petrol, food and tickets, you can’t just play a game of rugby.

“Derek Beaumont (Leigh owner) has showed the way by making events. You need to give a positive experience. That part of West Cumbria would be that you can have a day out in the Lakes after it.

“I’ve been banging this drum all my life.”

Tickets are still available for Cumbria v Wales, contact

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