Reserves back in 2022

Reserve Rugby League is back on the agenda.

The RFL have agreed with Super League clubs and Championship clubs Bradford, London Broncos and Newcastle for second-team and Under 18 Academy competitions to run alongside each other next year.

The plan is for the two to be played on alternate weeks, making a maximum of 16 rounds, with play-offs to follow.

A Reserve competition was reintroduced last year – only to be curtailed by Covid.

Running a second team is mandatory for clubs in Super League plus those outside the top tier with licensed Academies.

The aim is to ensure the maintenance of a player pathway.

RFL chief on-field officer Dave Rotheram said: “We believe this is a positive and important decision which has been made following extensive consultation with the clubs.

“There had been a very positive response to the planned return of Reserves, and the resulting switch of the Academy to an Under 18 competition, for the 2020 season.

“It has remained impractical to reintroduce Reserves in 2021 given the ongoing complications arising from Covid, which has been a source of frustration to the RFL and most importantly, the players who have been deprived of playing and development opportunities.

“That is why we were so keen to confirm the return of Reserves in 2022, and we congratulate the clubs for their willingness and enthusiasm to make this possible despite the considerable financial and logistical challenges.”

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