22nd March 2018, 09:36
WRL Premier League 2018 fixtures confirmed
Wales Rugby League have confirmed the 2018 Premier League fixtures which again sees competitions at four different levels.
Valley Cougars will defend their Premier League title, opening with a local derby against Rhondda Outlaws at Treharris RFC on Saturday 12th May.
The Cougars won last year's Grand Final on an exciting day in Cardiff, where the junior crowns were claimed by Cardiff Blue Dragons, West Wales Raiders and Bridgend Blue Bulls.
For the Raiders, their 2017 under 15 final win was their last game as a community club having taken South Wales Ironmen's spot in the professional ranks. They will be replaced by new club Llanelli Knights.
The other clubs will all continue with no new additions in 2018, just continued growth of the exisiting brands in this, the 16th season of domestic competition in Wales.
The Knights will face a baptism of fire in their first game when they travel to Bridgend Blue Bulls whilst Cardiff Blue Dragons host Torfaen Tigers. These two opening fixtures are also replicated at under 15s and 13s level and there is a possibility of a Cardiff v Torfaen quadruple header on opening weekend as the two sides also meet in the under 17 competition.
This year's junior competitions all consist of five sides with Cardiff, Torfaen, Bridgend and Aber Valley Wolves fielding teams at every level.
Valley Cougars are the final team in the 17s competition, taking on the Wolves on opening day. Llanelli Knights field just 13s and 15s sides.
The junior leagues started in 2009 and recent competitions were largely responsible for producing the Wales under 16 side that beat England last year, plus Super League and World Cup stars like Regan Grace started their careers in the Welsh junior leagues.