New American side to join Southern Conference

Rugby League in the USA has been given a timely boost ahead of the 2019 season, as it announced a new side to join its Southern Conference, the Lakeland Renegades.

The country’s Rugby League structure sees the competition split into two geographic competitions, before a Grand Final between the winners of the two Conference play-offs, where the top four from the Southern Conference qualify and the top six from the Northern Conference.

But the Southern Conference will welcome a fifth side into their ranks next season, which will now means there will be one team from the Southern Conference that does not qualify for the play-offs.

The Renegades, based in Lakeland, outside Tampa, Florida, will join 2018 Premiership winners Jacksonville Axemen, 2017 Premiership winners Atlanta Rhinos, Southwest Florida Copperheads and Tampa Mayhem. The season in USA commences in June, with the USARL Grand Final held in late August.