Ottawa Aces will now play in Cornwall after the RFL accepted a bid for a Cornish club to compete in League 1 for the 2022 season.
Simon Johnson, the RFL Chair, said:
“The RFL Board have approved the club’s request to relocate as it takes the Betfred League One competition, and the sport of Rugby League, into a new area, which shares many of the characteristics of the traditional Rugby League heartlands in the north, and has a renowned passion for rugby. This is an exciting opportunity to take our great sport to a completely new audience in a beautiful part of the country, and for our clubs and supporters to embrace that.”
Cornwall RLFC released the below statement tonight:
Rugby League’s first professional entity in Cornwall will play their home matches at the Memorial Ground, Penryn. It is fitting for such a ground-breaking development in Cornish professional sport that the side will be based at the home venue of Cornwall’s oldest rugby club. A traditional oval-ball venue, in every sense of the word, it will provide a fervent and partisan setting for Cornwall RLFC supporters to back the team in their maiden season.
Playing at the Memorial Ground will be one of many facets that demonstrate our club motto and DNA as ‘Cornwall First’. On the pitch, Cornwall RLFC will be made up of the very best Cornish rugby talent, where that is both practical and feasible.
Due to the limited opportunities currently for Cornish athletes to compete in elite level sport in the Duchy, Cornwall RLFC will be working tirelessly to provide a clear and defined pathway to not only play, but to thrive in a professional Rugby League environment – aspiration not limitation. Ambitious athletes will get the chance to fulfil their potential as professional Rugby League players and we want to see a Cornwall-based player representing England on the international stage.
We believe that Cornish athletes are the perfect fit for Rugby League, and we are certain that they will make a mark on the RFL’s domestic structure playing for Cornwall RLFC.
With this in mind, Cornwall RLFC will do everything it can as a club to provide a springboard for its players to be successful – to grow the club and the game in an area outside its traditional heartlands. However, Cornwall RLFC are acutely aware that success is never instant in any sport. Win, lose or draw; Cornwall RLFC will do so with Cornish players.
Remarking on the news that a professional Rugby League club have launched in England’s most westerly county, Cornwall RLFC director Colin Groves says that approval to play in Betfred League 1 for 2022 is a groundbreaking moment for the sport.
“This is a landmark day in the history of Rugby League,” he enthused. “Cornwall is a place that was made for Rugby League and, finally, after 126 years, we are proud to bring one of the most exciting team sports on the planet here. There is no doubt in our minds that Cornwall has a tremendous talent pool and we will unearth many Cornish Rugby League heroes. This is a club that represents all of Cornwall, a true regional club. We are buzzing at the prospect of building something special here.”