Written by Rugby Football League
A new approach to Rugby League development in Greater Manchester will take a significant step forward this week – only a few miles from Old Trafford, which later this year will be the venue not only for the Betfred Super League Grand Final, but also for the Men’s and Women’s Finals of Rugby League World Cup 2021.
South Trafford Raiders and Manchester Lions, two of seven new junior clubs in the Greater Manchester RL competition which has been founded in recent months with the World Cup in mind, will meet on Wednesday night at Under-12s and Under-14s level from 7pm in the excellent facilities of the Carrington Training Ground.
As suggested by their name, the Lions are strongly linked to Swinton – while Rochdale Hornets, Salford Red Devils, Warrington Wolves and Manchester Rangers are also driving forces behind the project, through their thriving Foundations.
The major focus in this launch year will be on three Festivals involving all seven clubs – Wythenshawe Community Rugby Club, Stockport Red Devils, Bolton Red Devils, Belle Vue Bees and The Wolves, in addition to the Raiders and Lions.
The plan is for Salford to host the first Festival at the AJ Bell Stadium on Saturday June 26, and it will be followed by two more Festivals on the next two Saturdays (July 3 and July 10) at Carrington – provided Covid-19 restrictions are sufficiently eased.
Dave Raybould, the RFL’s Community Game Competitions Manager, said: “Thanks and congratulations are due to so many people who have worked so hard to establish Greater Manchester RL as a new competition, so that it’s ready to kick off in Rugby League’s World Cup year.
“Key words throughout the process have been flexibility and fun – and you can add another couple of F-words, as Foundations have been instrumental, and we’ll have the three Festivals on consecutive Saturdays.
“Rugby League is offering a fresh option for summer evenings, for youngsters who will hopefully be aware of the game through watching Super League or their local clubs, but maybe haven’t had the chance to play it before.
“The early signs in terms of numbers attending training sessions have been really promising, meaning we will have introduced hundreds of new youngsters to the game.
“As well as the clubs and their Foundations, we are grateful to Neil Rigby from the North West Match Officials Association, and to Leah Allcock of RLWC2021 who has linked us up with some volunteers to support in delivery of the Festivals.”
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