Boost ahead of new rugby league season

AHEAD of the 2007 Rugby League Conference season that starts this weekend the regions two rugby league sides have announced a new initiative to develop ruby league in North East Essex and Suffolk.

AHEAD of the 2007 Rugby League Conference season that starts this weekend the regions two rugby league sides have announced a new initiative to develop ruby league in North East Essex and Suffolk.

Under the new initiative, Colchester Romans will become the official second team of Ipswich Rhinos and the clubs will hold joint training sessions at both locations.

Ipswich Rhinos are an established Premier division side with a strong reputation in the National conference having reached the national semi-finals twice in the last four years. In 2006 they only just missed out on the Premier Division South title to South London Storm who went on to lift the national title. In comparison Colchester Romans are a relatively new side playing in the eastern regional conference with a young less experienced side.

The sides will also continue to run a joint Development side in the London merit league which means that they can offer three tiers of rugby league with a develop path for everyone from beginners, to those who want to play at the top level of the amateur game.

The objective is to ultimately create one eastern region side playing at the highest possible level by offering a route by which the best players can rise to the top while offering the maximum opportunity for participation at all levels.

However, both clubs agree that the dual locations of Colchester and Ipswich should be maintained to maintain as big a catchment area as possible. Ipswich Rhinos Chairman Kevin Cook said: “Unfortunately in our region it is very hard to convince Rugby Union players to give Rugby league a chance. Which is a shame, as many of those who give the game a try love it.”

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Ipswich Rhinos kick the Premier division season with a home game this Saturday against newly-promoted Kent Ravens at Colchester's Mill Road ground (2.30pm).

Colchester Romans open the Conference season at home to Bedford Swifts on the May 12.

Anyone wishing to try rugby league are welcome at any training sessions which are held at 7pm at Colchester Rugby Club on Monday evenings and at Ipswich rugby club on Wednesday evenings.

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