Welsh Hokey Cokey !!

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The RFL Board of Directors has approved an application from a consortium of South Wales businessmen to enter a Neath team into The Co-operative Championship One in 2010.

“Wales remains a strategically important region for Rugby League …”

A successful club in Wales is one of rugby league’s holy grails; has been for years. So let’s hope this current one stays there and doesn’t meander back up north as the Crusaders seem bent upon doing. However, it’s getting off to an ominous start by opting to be called ‘South Wales RLFC’, rather than Neath. Some hedge-betting already?

The new club will be independently run by a consortium headed by local businessman Phil Davies and with a wholly Welsh board which also features Mark Rowley, the Executive Chairman of the Wales Rugby League. It will will play its home fixtures at The Gnoll, Neath.

RFL, Chief Executive, Nigel Wood, said:

“After careful consideration and following close consultation with existing Cooperative Championship clubs the board felt that welcoming the new club to Championship One was the right thing to do.

“The sport has made great strides in Wales in the last few years and in 2009 over 1,500 players have played the sport in the Principality, a 300 per cent increase on participation levels before Celtic Crusaders were formed four years ago.

“The new club is a vital link in the playing pyramid in Wales and maintains a career pathway for the cream of Welsh talent.

“Wales remains a strategically important region for Rugby League and we are delighted that Phil Davies and his fellow directors have shown the commitment they have to the sport in South Wales.”

In a typically perverse RFL move, South Wales RLFC will not participate in the Carnegie Challenge Cup or Northern Rail Cup in 2010; presumably that will also minimse costs as well as avoiding unsightly byes. South Wales RLFC’s (what no nickname) first match will be a Co-operative Championship One fixture against Workington Town on Sunday February 28 at The Gnoll.

The Co-operative Championship and Champions One and Northern Rail Cup fixture lists will be published in full next Monday (December 14).