What about Scotland? Any Scottish clubs in the running? Just seems strange that we've expanded to Wales, and France, yet we havnt risked a venture there yet. Could be wrth a try in Glasgow or Edinburgh
The game is tiny here and the SRL are, quite rightly, concentrating their efforts at consolidating the grassroots of the game (including schools and youth development). Although, just like other development areas, there is a great reliance on off-season union players (and clubs!) there are a few league-only outfits and players. One amusing tale that illustrates the point is that of Easterhouse Panthers, based in one of Glasgow's most deprived housing schemes. At the end of their season one year the club got a message from one of the city's lowlier union clubs asking if any of their players had ever thought of trying union. Intrigued, a few of them went down for training only to find they were the only ones there - either the club had folded or they had changed the training arrangements and not told them. Either way the interest in union faded.
Although the main league competition is of the shortened summer type found in other parts of Britain, there are other opportunities for the dedicated (and talented!) league-only player. With friendlies, nines competitions, East V West 'origin' clashes, amateur international trials and games, one-off friendlies against various opposition, student games and north v central u18 and u16 development squad trials, I worked out that some of the better players one year played not far short of 20 games in one season.
One thing that the SRL has realised is that there needs to be a steady stream of quality, home-grown players coming through to supplement the 'heritage players' in the international squad (the u16 and u18 development squads in both the north-east and the central belt are working towards this end). Some started to claim a place last season, a development I hope isn't too disrupted by playing England Knights this coming October. A CC1 club would certainly help this process, although it could be argued that now is too soon. Scotland is quite a way behind some of the more advanced English and Welsh development areas - certainly those pressing for a place at the moment - and, as yet, there are no significant backers coming forward to suggest a bid (although expect to see some newspaper stories between now and the world cup next year suggesting that a bid from either Glasgow or Edinburgh is imminent