Sidebottom backs new RL 9s competition

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ElEVEN Engage Super League sides will compete against Halifax, Widnes Vikings, Featherstone Rovers, the British Police and Cumbria in an exciting new Rugby League 9s series this summer.

Supporters can expect a variety of entertainment for all the family throughout the tournament, which kicks off on Tuesday June 7 and features four weekly rounds of festival-style fixtures played at multiple venues every Tuesday night in June.

The final will be held on Tuesday July 5 at Headingley Carnegie Stadium, Leeds, a fitting venue for a version of the sport that England cricketer Ryan Sidebottom sees as Rugby League’s answer to his sport’s popular twenty20 derivative.

Ryan Sidebottom said: “I think 9s is a great format - it’s going to be the equivalent of twenty20 in cricket, it’s fast and furious and players have to be really fit and on the boil because one mistake and you could lose the game. Fans will love the shortened format.

“I was about 11 when my dad took me to my first game of Rugby League; Bradford Bulls against Wigan, and I’ve been in love with the sport ever since.

“The game is a great spectacle, watching what the guys do on the field putting their bodies on the line, it’s exciting and edge of the seat stuff. I’ve always enjoyed it.

“Players are getting bigger, the skill factor is getting better and better, there’s a good mix of excellent overseas players and a crop of young England stars that are coming through and it bodes well for Rugby League.”

All Engage Super League clubs apart from Crusaders, Catalan Dragons and Harlequins RL are involved and each evening will involve four teams with team will playing three matches of 15 minutes.

There are a number of rule variations from the 13-a-side game including the option for teams to run a ‘powerplay’ after scoring a try which gives them one opportunity to score an additional three point try from the 10-metre line instead of kicking the goal. There are also no scrums

For more details visit www.therfl.co.uk for ticket information contact your local club.