Warrington Wolves will attempt to defend their Rugby League 9s title as they host the first round of festivals.
The Wolves youngsters achieved glory last season in the inaugural 9s competition, which will again take place again over five Tuesday nights culminating at Headingley Stadium on June 26.
Warrington defeated a strong Cumbrian side in the final, and also faced the side on several occasions in the weekly festivals, which this season are spread across the country.
Warrington’s under 20s coach Richard Marshall said: “Rugby League 9s is a unique idea and a great concept, the players really enjoyed winning the competition last year and it’s something they want to repeat.
“We took it very seriously last year and it paid off. We are hoping to get to the finals at Headingley again and we will use the opportunity to showcase some of our up and coming talent.”
Warrington will be joined by 15 other teams to make a 16 team competition. All 13 UK-based Super League teams will compete alongside Featherstone Rovers, last year’s finalists Cumbria, and rugby league’s newest professional team, University of Gloucester All Golds.
Warrington and London Broncos will host the western division’s first round of festivals, with Hull KR and Featherstone hosting the eastern division’s inaugural festivals.
After the four weekly rounds, the top four teams from each division will play off to decide the second Rugby League 9s winners on June 26.