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4 3Forty204August 2019

Chronicle n Super League and the RFL have announced next year’s first reserve grade competition since 1997.

The 11 English Super League clubs plus Widnes and Bradford with category one academies, along with Halifax and Newcastle, will be included. But not Whitehaven or Keighley, who have objected after keeping the lower tier going.

“It is essential that we offer appropriate challenges to young players on their journeys into Super League,” said Robert Elstone, right.

“A well-managed, resourced and competitive reserve grade will provide that.” Where the players will come from and what that resource will be has not been detailed.

Academies will now become an U18s rather than U19s competition as at present, and dual-reg and loan systems remain unaffected.

Drawing on reserves n In the lead-up to the Challenge Cup final, outgoing RFL president Andy Burnham will announce the results of a research project into the range of social and economic benefits the sport provides.

The RFL has worked with the Sport Policy Unit of the Business and Law Faculty at Manchester Metropolitan

University to produce a report evidencing ‘The Rugby League Dividend’ with regard to areas like health, crime, improved education, employment and life satisfaction, volunteering, social cohesiveness, identity and aspiration.

n Blackburn Rovers Community Trust and Wigan Warriors Community Foundation are joining forces to add a rugby league element in local schools, including holiday provision and match day activities, healthy recreation and wellbeing programmes.

A new Lancashire development officer is to be appointed to offer opportunities to youngsters in areas where latent rugby league potential exists, such as Blackburn, Darwen and their surrounding boroughs.

for the World Cup, the England Women's team is to play two Tests against the Orchids in PNG for the first time in November following the inaugural World Cup 9s in Sydney.

n There is the possibility for Fiji’s women – with the likes of Samoa, Tonga, Italy, Turkey and the USA – to play in the first women’s Emerging Nations Championship, after organisers requested expressions of interest for the planned ‘Festival of World Cups 2021’.

“We now have to develop a clear pathway to cater for a fuller women’s international programme, including competitions based locally, regionally and globally that will include greater access to World Cup qualification,” said RLIF CEO, Nigel Wood.

The men’s Emerging Nations – which Argentina have expressed an intention to play in - would be the fourth, with the last in the northern hemisphere taking place in 2000.

The Festival of World Cups is proposed to run along the following lines: June/July 2021 - University (Men/Women), Armed Forces (Men/ Women), Police (Men), Emerging Nations (Men/Women). October – Masters, Physical Disability.

All formats will be in Greater Manchester with the exception of the PDRL tournament in Warrington, Masters in Newcastle and the Armed Forces element still to be confirmed.

A PDRL curtain-raiser will take place ahead of the GB Lions’ opening match against Tonga this October.

n Continued political turmoil re the running of the sport in Greece means that nation’s World Cup qualifier this year against Scotland will be in either London or England’s North West.

They cannot confirm the ‘home’ match without approval from the government or Hellenic Federation of Modern Pentathlon, increasingly unlikely given the time frame. The

Good call

“This result won’t be an indication of what's going to happen in two weeks...” – Steve Price after a regular season 30-12 home defeat to Warrington’s Challenge Cup final opponents St Helens. Here’s to a cracker!

Big call

“The English (sic) Super League has proven to be a successful system for the next generation of top-level coaches to finish their apprenticeships...” – a telling statement from Dennis Watt, chairman of Gold Coast Titans, on snaring Justin Holbrook

Poor call

“We will be taking firm action to make it clear this behaviour is totally unacceptable...” – the RFL and Super League issue a joint-statement but do little else after ugly scenes in France

GRLA has, however, named a squad for a first women’s international, Turkey the opponents.

Manchester creatives Fuzzy Duck have designed animations to explain the different forms of rugby league ahead of RLWC2021. The first phase is live and being used as part of the tournament’s education programme.

Nigerian free-to-air television station YANGA! TV has become the first broadcaster to come on board to cover the Middle East Africa Championships, which will take place in Lagos from 2-5 October, 2019.

UK viewers can find YANGA! on Sky CH 453 and Freesat 171.

n The RFL’s recent AGM revealed consolidated accounts for the year ending 31 December 2018 which show a loss of £327,000 - attributed to an historically low attendance at the 2018 Challenge Cup Final.

The adopted budget for 2019 generates a profit of £207,000, ahead of further projected profits in 2020 and 2021 – good job for them that Halifax didn’t get to Wembley.

n Finally this month, spare a thought for Leigh who, as things stand, look likely to finish third in the Betfred Championship table.

Were that to happen, after a last regular game in Toronto the club would then be away to Toulouse in the play-offs.

If they win there, they will be away to Toronto again. If they lose that, it will be back to France and, if they win there, the Grand Final is of course in Canada.

What was that about reducing our carbon footprint?

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