The fixtures for the 2020 RFL Southern Conference season have been released, with Valley Cougars and Torfaen Tigers being Wales’ two representatives in the five team “West Division”.
The two Welsh sides will open the season by facing each other on the weekend of Saturday 2 May at The Park in Nelson.
Other Welsh derbies will take place on the weekends of Saturday 13 June and Saturday 1 August.
The other three sides in this league will be Swindon St George, Gloucestershire All Golds and a new side for 2020 in Devon Sharks, who replace Cardiff Blue Dragons with the capital side concentrating their efforts in Welsh competitions this year.
Like last year there will be play-offs against teams from the East of England to culminate in a South Wales and England Grand Final. These play-offs will start on the weekend of Saturday 15 August.
Cougars’ captain Mike Hurley said: “From the outside looking in, it may have looked like a successful season, winning the West Division unbeaten again before getting to the semi finals and coming short. However we as a team feel that we let slip a great opportunity to make another final and didn’t give a good account of ourselves in the semi-final against London.
“The whole squad is looking forward to bouncing back and accepting the challenge in front of us again this season. Our league will be a lot stronger this year Devon Sharks joining us. Our aim again this season will be to make that Grand Final. It’s going to be even more of a challenge this year with Dafydd Hellard stepping down as head coach plus a few changes in personell behind the scenes, but we’re looking forward to working with the new coaches when they are appointed. All the boys are eager to get training again and seeing what this season brings.”
Torfaen coach Matt Cummins said: “We are looking forward to the 2020 Southern Conference League season. After another solid building year in 2019 with the club fielding two open-age teams, we have some great competition for places and boys are chomping at the bit to get going.
“Obviously we open the season with arguably the toughest game of the campaign, a clash against Valley Cougars, but it’s good way to start and will no doubt be a great advert for rugby league in Wales.”