The Eastern Rhinos, from Colchester, will take on Medway Dragons at 1:30pm on the new second pitch at Trailfinders Sports Club.
Under the guidance of Michael Anderson and Jack Barbrooke the Eastern Rhinos have a flourishing programme at under 9, under 11 and under 13 with many of the under 13s coming through the Rhinos primary system.
Coach Michael Anderson said, “The Eastern Rhinos primary rugby league held our first training season on June 21st 2014 and that began our development journey. We are constantly working to ensure that better never stops and that we continue to challenge ourselves”.
Colne Academy, an RFL accredited category 3 academy – which is linked with Eastern Rhinos – is a rugby league educational provider, and is based on a joint application in partnership with London Broncos. Thanks to Peter Le Marquand who is coach to both juniors and seniors, Broncos have managed to pick up academy players like Will Blakemore and Dan Harding.
The Rhinos have even had the chance to play further afield in places like Skegness at the Rhino Challenge where their under 13s came a very solid ninth out of twenty five sides.
Broncos Academy player Dan Harding, who came through the Rhinos programme said, “I owe the Rhinos everything. From the basic skills to putting me into the trials. I can honestly say that without the Rhinos I would not be where I am today”.
Medway Dragons, meanwhile, are in the middle of their 10th season as a community sports club and now provide opportunities for hundreds of people from the local community of all ages, abilities and disabilities, irrelevant of gender, orientations or beliefs. It does not matter and anyone can be involved in playing rugby league, handball and netball. Their youngest player is four, their eldest almost 60!
Coach Mark Roughsedge said: “Our under 13s are enjoying a great 2017 with a large squad of mixed abilities including players that have picked up the Steeden for the first time in 2017. The group are led by a team of fantastic volunteers: Ted Joughin, Levani Laqeretabua and Ron Byrnes. The trio invest so much time and effort into ensuring that the youngsters are always getting a positive experience playing rugby league”.
London Broncos have also benefitted from Medway Dragons, picking up academy players such as Max Savage, John Sipawa, Rob Butler and Mitch Stone.
All in all, rugby league in London and the home counties is well and truly alive and kicking and thanks to teams like Eastern Rhinos and Medway Dragons, who knows – on June 4th you may be watching future London Bronco professionals.