League Side 'No Threat' to Union

Article excerpt

Byline: By GARY BAKER

Wales' first semi-professional rugby league side in 10 years have quashed fears they will strip union clubs of their best players. But Celtic Crusaders chief executive Chris O'Callaghan is convinced they can succeed where other rugby league ventures have failed.

O'Callaghan and his coaching staff have already assembled a 25-man squad for life in National Rugby League Two, with the Crusaders being based at Bridgend's Brewery Field.

At least 10 of the squad have come from Welsh Premiership teams like Pontypridd, Neath, Maesteg and Bridgend, but O'Callaghan vowed, 'There is no advantage for us to rape and pillage rugby union clubs. The last thing we want is to have a conflict with these teams.

'We have spoken to a number of Premiership clubs and we have made a commitment to work in harmony with them. We are prepared to make it a smooth transition for any player who wants to play for us.'

As well as those who have already joined the Crusaders from union clubs, more players will be switching codes when their contracts expire in April.

The Crusaders have financial backing from former Bridgend and Celtic Warriors chairman Leighton Samuel and are coached by ex-Brisbane Broncos assistant John Dixon. …