The RFL release statement supporting reserve grade rugby

The Rugby Football League have released a statement showing their support for reserve grade rugby for full-time professional clubs.

Championship and League 1 clubs including Halifax, Keighley Cougars and Bradford Bulls all run reserve grade teams while some in the top tier do not.

There has been strong opposition to structures such as dual-registration with many in favour of bringing back a full reserves competition.

RFL CEO Ralph Rimmer said: “Reserve Grade playing opportunities are a vital component of the player pathway and the national governing body has been strong advocate of this for a number of years,”

“The decision sits with clubs and the Rugby Football League can extend and develop the competition framework accordingly, alongside robust arrangements for dual-registration which support player development and protect the community game.

“It is also a vital part of growing the game geographically. I am confident that we are going to see more clubs join the Reserves competition next season and beyond.”

Dave Rotheram, Head of Coaching and Player Development for the RFL, added: “We have always believed that there needs to be a transition between age-banded and senior Rugby League,”

“For many, the absence of regular competitive games means that they are not achieving their full potential. Reserve Grade Rugby League offers this.

“We have always worked in collaboration with clubs who would like to develop their players via Reserve Grade.

“From a Player Development perspective, insight from all stakeholders tells us that a second tier of competition within the club environment will optimise the development of players so that when they move up to First Grade they are better prepared for its demands.”