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The University of Gloucestershire All Golds host the South Wales Scorpions on Good Friday (Friday, 3 April) in the opening fixture of the 2015 Kingstone Press League 1 season.
After coming agonisingly close to a play-off place last season there is genuine belief amongst the All Golds that 2015 could be the year they break into the end of season play-offs and secure a chance at possible promotion to the Championship.
The All Golds have had a productive off season and have signed a number of exciting players, recruited by new Head Coach Lee Greenwood. Greenwood, a former England international, is in confident mood ahead of Friday’s curtain raiser. “The players and coaches have been working hard since early December for this game. We’ve lost a few of the friendlies but we’ve got so many new players in, I wasn’t expecting immediate success. We’re working long term to achieve something here”, said the Head Coach.
The All Golds did the double over the Scorpions last season, a convincing 29-17 home win coupled with a thrilling 38-36 win at Maesteg RFC which confined the Welsh team to bottom place in the league.
There is a strong Welsh presence amongst the All Golds squad with no less than three internationals amongst the current squad. First team regulars Steve Parry, Lewis Reece and Izaak Duffy have all represented Wales in recent times. Fellow Welshmen, Bradley Mais and Courtney Davies are also in contention for Friday’s clash. Scorpions General Manager Ian Golden is delighted at the ever increasing Welsh presence. He said “Good Friday could see the highest number of Welsh born players in a professional Rugby League game for the best part of 100 years”.
The All Golds will be without the influential Joel Thomas who suffered a shoulder injury in the Challenge Cup defeat to Hunslet. Ahead of Friday’s game Greenwood, said: “We’ve got a few players with knocks so they will have to pass a fitness test, therefore there could be a few changes from the game two weeks ago. Mark Bowen, Jamie Murphy and Brad England could all make their debuts, while Brett Scriven and Bradley Mais are added to the squad after impressive performances for the Gloucestershire Warriors.”
Brad England signed last week from Super League giants Salford Red Devils on a short term loan. He joins the exciting Australian signing Mark Bowen who has signed from New South Wales side South Newcastle.
The Scorpions are set to include youngsters Ben Jones and Zak Williams in Friday’s squad. The duo, both 18, have recently returned to the Scorpions having played 6 games for French side La Reole XIII.
Friday’s home game represents a chance for the Gloucestershire side to lay down a marker for the upcoming season. With a new Head Coach and new signings aplenty it is vital they get off to a positive start at the Prince of Wales stadium.
Kingstone Press League 1 season opener, Good Friday, Prince of Wales stadium, Cheltenham, Kick- off 3pm.
- Adult £10
- Concessions £5
- Under 16s £1
Read more about the only professional rugby league team owned by a university online at www.allgoldsrugby.com.
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