26th May 2017, 11:54 | Community

New Southern Rugby League Competition set to launch in 2018

New Southern Rugby League Competition set to launch in 2018

A recently-formed Southern RL Management Group have been exploring plans to create a coherent pyramid structure for Open Age community Rugby League in the South of the UK, that enables clubs to find an appropriate level of competition.

The first part of these plans would be to develop a Premier competition which would run two divisions, one in the East and one in the West.

These competitions would aim to provide more playing opportunities that pit the best clubs from the southern regional leagues against each other on a weekly basis, throughout an extended season.

This competition would provide a more intense and a longer playing season for Rugby League players from the south who wish to play at a higher level.

The Eastern Premier would be open to teams who currently play in the Midlands, East of England and London & South East Men's Leagues.

The Western Premier would be open to clubs in the West of England League and Wales, as well as Rugby League clubs from Devon and Cornwall.

The regional competitions currently in place across the south of England would remain in the new structure, with the new 'East' and 'West' Leagues becoming a pair of Premier competitions for Rugby League in the south of England.

It is hoped that the proposals will allow the regional leagues to flourish, making the various competitions more open to potential new clubs, while also giving different teams the opportunity to fight for silverware within leagues which may have been dominated by the same teams in recent years.

Rugby Football League Competition Manager for the South, David Raybould, said: "The aim of this project is twofold; first, to provide those clubs who are ready with a more intense competition, and to provide all the other clubs in the south with a vibrant structure to be part of.

"All the parts of this may not come to life immediately - we are keen to work with the clubs to ensure the structure works for them.

"The feedback we have received from clubs so far has been really positive and I am excited to see the plans develop over the coming months."

Clubs in the South are encouraged to send their expressions of interest to enter the new Eastern and Western Premier Divisions to by Wednesday, June 7.

There will then be a meeting on Sunday, June 18 at Hemel Stags' Pennine Way Stadium (HP2 5UD) where more information will be available.

Full details of the proposed restructure can be found below:

The proposed structure for 2018 and beyond