Rugby

Cornwall to have a professional rugby league team in 2022

PROFESSIONAL rugby league is heading to the West Country next year after Rugby Football League (RFL) gave approval for Cornwall RLFC to compete in the Betfred League One.

The new club will play their home games at Penryn’s Memorial Ground and they hope to pack their team will players from the region.

In a statement the club, who have taken Hemel Stags’ licence which was going to go to Ottawa Aces, said: “We believe that Cornish athletes are the perfect fit for rugby league and we are certain that they will make their mark on the RFL’s domestic structure playing for Cornwall RLFC.

“With this in mind, Cornwall RLFC will do everything it can as a club to provide a springboard for its players to be successful – to grow the cub and the game in the area outside its traditional heartlands.”

There has been rugby league in Cornwall for a number of years now, first with the Cornish Rebels and then Saltash Essayans, while the Devon Sharks moved into the Southern Conference last season. Devon and Cornwall have also played regular fixtures against each other in recent years.

Prior to the First World War there were attempts to launch professional rugby league teams in Devon and Cornwall, while number of exhibition matches were played in the Duchy in the 1960s and 1980s.

RFL chairman Simon Johnson said: “The RFL board have approved the club’s request to take the Betfred League One competition, and the sport of rugby league, into a new area which shares many of the characteristics of the traditional rugby league heartlands of the north and has a renowned passion for rugby.

“This is an exciting opportunity to take our great sport to a completely new audience in a beautiful part of the country, and for our clubs and supporters to embrace that.”

Cornwall RLFC director Colin Groves added: “This is a landmark day in the history of rugby league. For the first time in our sport’s history we are truly a national game.

“Cornwall is a place that was made for rugby league and, finally, after 126 years, we are proud to bring one of the most exciting team sports on the planet here.

“There is no doubt in our minds that Cornwall has a tremendous talent pool and we will unearth many Cornish rugby league heros.

“This is a club that represents all of Cornwall, a true regional club. We are buzzing at the prospect of building something special here.”

Cornwall will find themselves coming up against well-known clubs like Keighley Cougars, Doncaster Knights, Hunslet Hawks, Swinton and Rochdale Hornets in the 2022 League One campaign.

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