THE University of Gloucestershire All Golds rugby league team will kick off the Championship One season tomorrow with a landmark clash.
They will travel north to play York City Knights, 106 years after the university’s New Zealand namesake side played in the White Rose city.
The links between the two Championship One sides don’t stop there.
All Golds president Lionel Hurst launched the popular York 9s competition in 2002.
Also, Pat Smith one of the Gloucestershire’s stand-out players last year, has now signed for York, his home club.
Besides the history, it has been a busy week for the All Golds with the introduction of Craig Cook and Reece Rance to the side.
The duo will both be in the starting line-up for the match tomorrow, as part of a revamped side featuring 12 rugby league debutants, who will be trying to kickstart a charge towards the play-offs this season.
This season sees a vastly improved All Golds pack.
The front-row prop pairing of Harry Chapman-Walker and Izaak Duffy will bring the go-forward from the front. Craig Cook starts at hooker and will provide leadership and experience.
The second row also includes two All Golds debutants, including Jason Muranka who is currently on loan from Kingstone Press Championship side Dewsbury Rams.
He will be joined by the equally powerful Tongan international James Tutu’ila.
Finishing the pack and the only returning All Gold is dynamic loose-forward Ash Haynes.
The backs division also opens new opportunities for players to wear the golden fern.
Dewsbury Rams loan player Marcus Elliot starts at full-back and will be looking to make ground with his elusive running.
On the wings are Gloucestershire born James Fisher and Reece Rance, who joins the club after being scouted at Nottingham Trent University.
James Greene returns to take his chosen position at centre and accompanying him is ex-Central Tigers Queensland player Aidan Jenkins.
The crucial half-backs duo of Mark Barlow and Danny Thomas both bring Super League experience to Championship One.
The substitutes are packed with class, with Hull FC dual registered Bobby Tyson-Wilson, Dewsbury Ram Connor Nolan, the returning All Gold Phil Cowburn and Joe McLean finishing the squad.