Toronto Wolfpack and Bradford Bulls have announced plans to create a Transatlantic Challenge for the next two years.
The new concept will see the teams take part in a game in the UK followed by a game in North America, in both the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
The Challenge kicks-off with a first leg on Friday 26 January 2018 at the Provident Stadium, Odsal.
The teams will compete for the Transatlantic Trophy UK, a game set to form an integral part of each team’s preparations for the 2018 campaign.
Wolfpack’s Director of Rugby, Brian Noble, who played for and coached the Bulls once upon a time, said: “I am hugely excited about this fixture and a return to Odsal for myself. This will be the Wolfpack’s only pre-season game and one in which we will be giving our entire first-team squad a run out to face the challenge of the Bulls.
“I have been greatly impressed by the recruitment strategy of the Bulls. I am sure their new squad will present a huge test for our boys in front of what I expect will be a significant and noisy local crowd.”
The second leg of the Challenge will serve as a pre-season game for 2019. The game is likely to be played in the United States in January 2019, in a bid to tap into one of Rugby League’s expansion areas.
The Transatlantic Challenge forms just one part of a new strategic alliance between the Bulls and the Wolfpack. The two clubs hope to form a solid partnership in the coming years, sharing expertise, knowledge and resources.
Noble added: “The Canadian fans will have heard about the history of this great club, and it will be a huge honour for us as a newcomer to the British league to meet them in this innovative competition.
“I’m also very confident the Bulls fans will be excited about an emerging strong partnership with the Wolfpack.”