RL kicking off in North Wales

Rugby League is really taking off in North Wales and this year it is ‘bigger and better than ever’ says North Wales Development Officer Matt Pritchard.

The 2012 conference season will commence with the inaugural North Wales Senior 9’s competition where seven clubs will compete in round robin tournament with modified Rugby League Rules. The competition will be held at the Queensway Sports Stadium on April 1.

All the participants will then be invited to watch the North Wales Crusaders take on Rochdale Hornets later on at Glyndwr Race Course Stadium, Wrexham.

The 5th of May will see the launch of the inaugural North Wales Senior Conference Championship. Five clubs, the Wrexham Bradley Raiders, the Montgomeryshire Marauders, the Prestatyn and Rhyl Panthers, the Conwy Celts and the Dee – Valley Dragons will compete for the new prestigious title.

With interest so high in the sport, Wales Rugby League has recently founded their first North Wales Performance Development Centre, to develop talented players. These players will feed into the North Wales Crusaders U18s who will be competing in the National Conference Youth league.

North Wales Crusaders U18s will start their season with a home game at Queensway Sports Stadium, Wrexham on the March 11th with 12pm kick off. A strong backroom staff has been assembled, with Allen Jones becoming Head Coach, Dave Cottam the assistant coach/strength and conditioner, Mike Parry the team manager and Graham Aston the team physiotherapist.

Through the summer, Wales Rugby League in partnership with Street Games will continue to run Street Rugby. This is a program which provides door step Rugby League in deprived areas for children of 11-18 years old. 2012 will see the areas increase from 5 to 9 in North


On top of this Wales Rugby League are delivering after school clubs and holiday skill camps. Future developments will see Adult touch rugby will return to Wrexham, and new Street Rugby and Rugby League coaching workshops will be delivered throughout North Wales.

“Rugby League is going from strength to strength, we are all so proud to see the hard work and dedication from everyone in getting the North Wales Crusaders off the ground and this has provided a fantastic clear pathway for players to feed into the first team and hopefully Wales,” Pritchard said.

“We are really building momentum, and the game in Wales can only get stronger with the 2013 world cup coming up.

“Volunteer development is so important in our game they work so hard to promote and develop the sport, and it is exciting to see we now have 10 qualified referees, and over 20 qualified level 1 coaches and over 5 qualified level 2 coaches in North Wales.

“This year due to the high level of interest we are looking to put in place a level 1 and level 2 UKCC coaching course. These are all incredible developments and hopefully we can build on this year by year increasing rugby league at all levels.”

President of Wales Rugby League, Mike Nicholas said: “Rugby league is acknowledged as ‘the fastest growing sport in Wales‘.  It is in the process of establishing itself in the north of the principality, alongside the participation of the sport that already exists in the Universities of Bangor and Aberystwyth University.

“These teams will take part in the first structured North Wales 9s competition heralding the start of the newly formed North Wales Summer Conference.

“These are exciting times for the growth of the game in these areas together with the North Wales Crusaders entry into Division 1 of the National League, which along with South Wales Scorpions gives us full National coverage of the game for the first time and has attracted a lot of interest and support both on and off the field of play.”

If you would like to get involved in Rugby League in North Wales please contact matt.pritchard@walesrugbyleague.co.uk

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