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Rhondda Outlaws

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Rhondda Outlaws last won the day on June 29

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About Rhondda Outlaws

  • Birthday 30/05/2015

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    Glyncoch, Rhondda Cynon Taf

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  1. Bora da / Good morning, The application process was quite lengthy but pretty easy overall. There was an initial 'expression of interest' form that just required we provide some basic details of our club. Then followed a whole series of calls with the organisers to discuss the competition before we submitted the formal application. After we submitted the formal application we completed the non-disclosure agreement and then had loads more calls with the organisers where they were able to discuss some of the more sensitive and commercially sensitive stuff. We had to go through the organisers due-diligence process too. When all that was finished, all that was left was the horrible wait to hear if we had been selected. With the sponsors, we have always posted on social media asking if any businesses want to sponsor us but we've never had any responses for that. So the way we've always had to get sponsorship money was to go out and pound the pavements to find sponsors. This obviously limits the scope as we tend to target local businesses or businesses that our committee members work in. There isn't any major industry in the Rhondda these days so we tend to ask small limited companies or sole traders. The sponsors who have come onboard with us over the years have been amazing and very loyal which means we are usually confident we'll bring in enough sponsorship each season to cover kit, equipment and expenses. The big change we have seen since being announced as part of the Euro XIII competition is businesses approaching us directly (which will save my shoe leather) and they aren't all based in the Rhondda.
  2. We've had a lot of discussions with WRL around this. They are working with the RFL and RLEF and won't make any formal announcements until they've done whatever it is they need to do but they have confirmed we are free agents and therefore free to enter the competition as it doesn't impact on our domestic league at all. As we come under WRL, they are obviously taking a cautious approach and ensuring we are doing all necessary due-dilegence. So they are acting as a 'critical friend'. I can confirm we didn't go in to this with our eyes closed. Our committee has a few people who run their own companies and we are used to doing risk assessments and such so we were fully aware of what we were signing up for before we entered the competition.
  3. I don't mind answering questions. I'm really passionate about Rugby League in Wales so i'm always happy to talk about our club and what is going on with the game. We are expecting to see an additional 1 or hopefully 2 teams enter the Welsh Premier next season. Aberavon Fighting Irish have reformed and are all set to join and there is the possibility that Aber Valley Wolves (who run loads of junior sides) will put a mens team together in the near future. Our average home attendance at a Welsh Premier game last season was 100. However, our new home is situated on a really big estate up in Glyncoch so we are hoping we can attract more fans from there as they don't have any other sports clubs playing up there. Wales Rugby League (WRL) have also aligned the mens and womens fixtures for this season (whenever that will be) so we'll be able to play womens, mens and juniors games on the same day. This will allow us to make it more of an event and we'll hopefully see attendance figures increase. We are also planning on making entry completely free going forward. Now that we run our own facilities are costs are greatly reduced and we've had some interest from companies wanting to be Match Day Sponsors which will cover our costs. Again, we are hopeful that because we are right in Glyncoch and we won't be charging entry, we'll be able to entice a lot of new fans to Coed-Y-Lan field. Junior participation is dwindling all across Wales (and the rest of the UK I suspect) but numbers are still pretty good. We have 20 under 12s and 18 under 14s at present but the under 12s have only been going one season and the under 14s having played a match yet so we are hoping to see an increase in those squads. Aber Valley Wolves and Cardiff both see really good numbers and run 2 teams at each age grade so we are positive we'll see growth here in the Rhondda if we work hard at it.
  4. It's difficult to say. Right now we are focusing on increasing the opportunities we provide to play league in the Rhondda. At present we have the mens, womens, boys under 14s and boys under 12s sides going. We need to have an U16s as a minimum to ensure we have a pathway for the boys right up from U12s to Mens. We also want to replicate that for the women so we have girls U12s etc for them. We also want to be able to offer wheelchair, PDRL and LDRL in the future. Although we'd love to launch all them immediately, we know growth takes time and it's important to establish a side and then continue to nurture it until its truly stable so we'll only be introducing one or at most 2 new teams a season. As far as Euro XIII goes, we aren't really thinking beyond 2021. But whatever happens going forward, the focus for our club will always be on providing opportunities to the people of the Rhondda.
  5. Hi Eddie, To understand our reasons for joining this comp, we have to go back to 2017 when we established our open-age mens' team. We started out with a group of men and about 90% of them had never watched a game of Rugby League before let alone played one. So that first year was all about teaching the boys the game. Then as we went in to 2018 we still had the same core players and they had a season under their belts so we were able to focus more on the technical aspects like attacking structure, tackle technique, etc. All the time the players were developing and improving and this ultimately led to us going the whole of 2019 almost undefeated (we lost away to Bridgend in the final round of the regular season) and were crowned Welsh Champions. Then in January this year we entered the Challenge Cup for the very first time. We shipped 15 tries against Barrow Island and it highlighted to us how much more we needed to do if we want to compete with the well established clubs in the heartlands. But the big challenge is that we don't get many games in the Welsh Premier so we are playing the same teams constantly and we only have a few months over the middle of summer. We have seen from when our players go off to represent Wales in the Welsh Dragonhearts campaigns at the end of the season that they come back much better players for the extra experience and game time. When we first heard about the Euro XIIIs it seemed like a great opportunity to get the additional game time and experience that our boys need for their development as well as helping to grow the club. The final reason for joining is simply because life is very short and so we shouldn't miss an opportunity to fly around Europe and play the sport we love and have a great party afterwards. I realise that is a very long answer to a very short question so in summary: We decided to join the competition to help develop our players, grow our club and enjoy the rare experience of going somewhere new and playing the sport we love. The great thing about this competition is that it is running before our domestic comp. We normally only get the lads engaged when they are finished with their Union clubs but next year they'll come to the Outlaws earlier for pre-comp training and friendlies and then after Euro XIIIs we'll be straight in to preparations for the Welsh Premier so its likely we'll keep the squad together for a full 8 months rather than just the usual 3. I would say about 95% of our boys are cross-code. We have a couple who focus only on League but because they only get about 8 games a year of League they are still very committed to the Union clubs where they'll get 20+ games. We are hoping if we can extend our season (by increasing the number of teams in Wales and through our involvement in Euro XIIIs) then we will see more and more of the boys focus on League throughout the year.
  6. Noswaith dda / Good evening, The competition is fully funded. That means all flights, accommodation, transfers and training facilities are paid for by the organisers (through outside investment & government funding). As a club, we only have to cover the costs of our visas, insurance, food and beer. There is a plan beyond 2021. They are looking to introduce a league as well as the cup competition. The RLIF (RLEF) are neither for or against this competition as far as I can see. They are working with the Euro XIII organisers to see where their objectives align so they can work together. If they find that they have areas they can work together, i'm sure they will. Dean Buchan spoke more about this in an interview with Forty20 News: https://forty20.news/qa-euro-xiiis-general-manager-dean-buchan-part-two/
  7. Hi everyone, I'm Steve Bartlett, the General Manager of Rhondda Outlaws. I've been following this thread for a while and I think its great to see healthy debate about something as new and exciting as Euro XIIIs. I've decided to jump on now to offer myself up to answer questions because I can see there is some confusion around the competition and the motivation of clubs joining and I've also noticed some incorrect things being repeated and I don't want rumours to become 'the truth'. So, ask me anything. If I can answer I will. Some things are commercially sensitive (either for the Euro XIIIs organisers or the Rhondda Outlaws) and some things aren't know to us yet so if your question falls in to that category, I'll let you know but other than that, I will try to be as open as possible.
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