29th March 2019, 12:55 | therfl
Details of The RFL President's Cup have been confirmed for 2019, with the trophy set to be contested again by England Universities, UK Armed Forces, GB Teachers and GB Police, with the first round of games taking place on Wednesday 10th April at Leigh Miners Rangers.
The action then moves to Siddal four weeks later on Wednesday 8th May, before the final round of fixtures take place at the impressive Sheffield Hallam Universiy Sports Park on Wednesday 5th June.
The competition, previously known as The Association's Cup but renamed for the 2018 season, was launched in 2014 to give the teams regular, competitive playing opportunities between their respective World Cups and has become a staple part of each competing organisation's annual fixtures.
A women's competition was also staged from 2014 to 2016, but was discontinued owing to the introduction of the Women's Super League and England Women's absorbtion into the England Performance Unit.
Rugby Football League President Andy Burnham said: "Good luck to all the players and coaches involved in the President's Cup. It's an important cup competition in the RL calendar.
"There is some outstanding talent in Universities, Teachers, Police and Armed Forces Rugby League and these fixtures are fiercely contested.
"I am delighted that the first rounds are taking place in Leigh.
"Play hard, leave it all on the pitch and enjoy the game. The very best of luck everyone."
Holders England Universities will start the competition as favourites and will be looking to bring a fourth title to their corner, but with a high turnover of players, Head Coach Richard Tate has his work cut out to gel the new squad before their first game.
Tate has named only 8 players who played in 2018 in his 26 man squad for 2019, with stand-out players such as James Mason, Marcus Stock and Jason Bass having finished their studies and Tate will be looking to experience in his squad, such as Will Jubb (Hull University / York City Knights), Matty Chrimes (Leeds Beckett University / Doncaster) and Kieran Smith (Hull University / Hull FC) to influence his new recruits.
But, having trawled the University Leagues via a series of Regional games and the NIDO Student Origin Game, Tate can be confident that all of his players will be up to the task.
UK Armed Forces are aiming to add a second series win to their name, with their new coaching and management team having bedded in during 2018 and following the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force's valiant performances in the Challenge Cup earlier this season, can rely on a good depth of players to be available for the elite level of representation in the UK Armed Forces.
Head Coach Danny Johnson will utilise the challenge of the Presidents Cup 2019 to assess his players further, with one eye clearly focussed on their potential selection for the Defence World Cup 2021.
GB Teachers have expanded their reach, fielding a number of regionally based teams throughout 2018 to identify Rugby League playing teacher talent, as well as playing sides such as Polish Exiles, the Royal Navy and taking part in a two match tour of Spain.
New Head Coach, Lee McCarthy (London Chargers), will be confident that the side have had good preparation and will be as enthusiastic as ever to make an impression on their opposition.
With the introduction of the TRL Origin Series between Teachers North and Teachers South the association will see an influx of southern based players vying for a spot in the GB squad in 2019 and, with a second place finish in last year's competition, will be looking to enjoy a competitive outing this year.
New coaching team Bob Marsden and Adam Newton have made an immediate impact in 2019 for GB Police, with the team putting on a stellar Challenge Cup display, dispatching Wallsend Eagles 44-18 before narrowly succombing to one of the giants of community Rugby League, Wigan St Patricks, in the second round, losing by just 8 points.
Stand Off Chris Smith scored a hat trick of tries in the first round whilst Cumbrian forward James Motum was named Man of the Match following an outstanding performance against St Pats.
With Combined Lancashire pipping West Yorkshire 18-16 in the Police Sport final, Marsden and Newton know that they have players who can handle the pressure of a close game and will be looking for the squad to kick on following two strong performances so far in 2019. The team will again be led by Captain Jon McCloud and includes a blend of youth and experience going in to this year’s tournament.
RFL President's Cup Roll Of Honour