4th May 2018, 12:57
Torfaen Tigers form partnership with Warrington Wolves
Friday 27th April will go down as an historic day for Torfaen Tigers Rugby League Football Club as they formally kicked off an official partnership with Super League giants Warrington Wolves.
Warrington and Wales have always had strong ties with no less than 60 full Wales international players having turned out for the club, whilst the Wolves and Tigers have always been loosely linked as the birth of the Cwmbran-based club in 2003 was assisted by former Warrington and Wales international, the WRL president Mike Nicholas, a man who is still a regular at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
Torfaen were founder members of the Welsh domestic league, winning the title once in 2013, competing in the Challenge Cup in 2014 as a result. They also run sides at under 17, 15 and 13 levels, winning the Welsh under 15 title in 2015.
Torfaen win the Welsh title in 2013
After a productive visit to Warrington last week, where lengthy discussions between both clubs and Wales Rugby League took place, an exciting new partnership was formed between the Wolves and the Tigers.
The partnership is based on three key principles of player and coach development, raising the profile of both clubs and continuing to build the rugby league community in Wales.
It will offer youngsters access to a pathway which can not only lead to semi-professional rugby league with the West Wales Raiders, but also the opportunity to play at the pinnacle level of rugby league in the UK - the Super League.
The new pathway will include a talent identification process guided by both the Tigers and Warrington age grade and academy coaches in which talented players will be invited to trial with Warrington at their impressive facilities. Players will also be identified when the Tigers’ age grade teams play against their current Wolves’ age grades sides and through games against other Warrington partnership clubs.
As well as player development, the Tigers’ coaches will benefit from the partnership as they will be under the guidance of those from Warrington. The Wolves staff will be holding development events with Tigers’ coaches as well as coaching roadshows and ‘fun days’ where both teams’ coaches will have the chance to coach alongside each other.
The second and third principles will go hand in hand as the partnership reaches the public. With a rugby league powerhouse such as Warrington, it is inevitable the profile of the sport in Torfaen will grow and in turn this will help grow the rugby league community. This will be further enhanced by the presence of Warrington representatives at events which Torfaen will run and the possibility of joint events between the two teams in the future.
The Wolves Brand carries great heritage and values which Torfaen Tigers aim to uphold and become a part of going forward.
Neil Kelly, Warrington Wolves Foundation Director, said "We are hugely excited about forming this partnership and developing closer links to support the development of Rugby League in Wales.”
Matthew Cummins, Chairman of Torfaen Tigers added: “We at Torfaen are equally as excited about this partnership and it is a huge stride forward for the club which will no doubt give everyone a big lift going into the first round of the Welsh Premier League season next weekend.”
Opening weekend’s WRL fixtures (weekend of May 12/13 - exact kick-off times TBC early next week)…
WELSH PREMIER LEAGUE - Cardiff Blue Dragons v Torfaen Tigers, Valley Cougars v Rhondda Outlaws, Bridgend Blue Bulls v Llanelli Knights
U17 - Cardiff Blue Dragons v Torfaen Tigers, Valley Cougars v Aber Valley Wolves
U15 - Cardiff Blue Dragons v Torfaen Tigers, Bridgend Blue Bulls v Llanelli Knights
U13 - Cardiff Blue Dragons v Torfaen Tigers, Bridgend Blue Bulls v Llanelli Knights