The hills may be alive with the sound of music, but the valleys are longing for rugby league and the future has never been brighter for the sport in Wales.
The dual announcement that the Crusaders will bring top class premiership sport to North Wales and that the newly formed South Wales club will continue to fly the flag for rugby league in the Neath are gives the sport a national presence their for the first time ever. Couple that with the Welsh Rugby League Conference and the burgeoning student and schools presence and it’s easy to see why RFL CEO, Nigel Woods, is so delighted with developments.
“It is great news that not only has the future of Crusaders RL been saved but that Rugby League has been able to reinforce its presence in Wales.”
“It became increasingly clear for a number of reasons that the club wasn’t capable of flourishing in the situation it was in, but it is testimony to the attractiveness of the competition that new owners were found.
“For the first time Rugby League has a whole of Wales presence. This is a very exciting opportunity and I am sure that Geoff Moss, Paul Retout and his fellow directors at Wrexham will provide the vision, the leadership and the resources required to make Crusaders RL succeed in Wales.
“The RFL Clubs’ Support Unit has been working closely with the Crusaders RL in recent months and will continue to make its skills and expertise available over what is a very important period in the club’s evolution.
“The transfer of ownership to Wrexham Village Ltd will bring much-needed stability to Crusaders RL and the RFL is looking forward to establishing a healthy relationship with the club’s new owners.”
Wrexham and North Wales represents an exciting development opportunity for Rugby League, which is no stranger to the Racecourse Ground. In 2001 England completed a narrow 42-33 victory over Wales at Wrexham in front of a crowd of 6,373 while in the 2000 Rugby League World Cup Wales defeated the Cook Islands 38-6 before a Racecourse Ground crowd of over 5,000.
“Wrexham and North Wales are ripe for development and we are already formulating strategies that will see Crusaders RL establish strong community links and foster Rugby League growth from the grassroots up,”
“There are 71 schools in Wrexham, a university with 8,000 students just across the road from the Racecourse Ground and a region which has no other professional sports club. I am sure that Crusaders RL will make the most of such a receptive potential audience.
“The link between Crusaders RL and South Wales RLFC will also ensure that the progress made in Wales over the last four years continues and I am looking forward to both clubs giving Rugby League an increasingly Welsh flavour in the years to come.
“We now have in place a pyramid structure that will enable the sport to grow with confidence. “From Crusaders RL in engage Super League, through South Wales RLFC in The Co-operative Championship One to the vibrant Rugby League Conference, the Student Rugby League and Schools Rugby League, the game is well placed in Wales.” –