Vikings announce North Wales Crusaders partnership

Vikings announce North Wales Crusaders partnership

9th February 2018

Widnes Vikings are proud to announce a two-year partnership deal with Betfred League 1 side, North Wales Crusaders.

The deal sees the both clubs commit to working together until at least the end of the 2019 season. The arrangement will provide opportunities for the Vikings squad to enjoy game time at Crusaders, supporting its young players to gain vital experience and enabling senior players to retain match-fitness, whilst also enhancing the Crusaders playing group.

The Vikings will also be providing off-field support to North Wales Crusaders, providing advice and expertise to support them to develop their club infrastructure as they target promotion to the Betfred Championship.

North Wales Crusaders play at the Queensway Stadium in Wrexham. With their training based in Widnes, the partnership has several logistical benefits.

James Rule, CEO of Widnes Vikings, says: “We are delighted to have formed this agreement, which has real benefits to both clubs both on and off the field. We are looking forward to sharing best practice and support with North Wales Crusaders, assisting them in their push to become a Championship club. It is also exciting to have the opportunity to ensure game time for our players, whether that be a one of our talented young players who needs to experience competitive action or a first team player looking to retain match sharpness.

“Crusaders are run by a team of passionate individuals, who are dedicated to seeing their club progress. We are excited to be able to play a part in assisting them to achieve their vision and for the opportunities it creates for the Vikings.”

Phil Finney, Head of Youth Performance at Widnes Vikings, says: “The Widnes Vikings youth pathway is at a stage where a number of its young players have graduated from our Academy into the first team set up. For many players, it is important that when they reach this stage of their development they are able to play in a challenging and competitive environment, to help them progress into becoming regular first team Super League players. This partnership helps us create these much-needed opportunities.”

“We have seen with the likes of Ted and James Chapelhow, Ryan Ince, Tom Gilmore and Danny Craven the benefits of creating loan placements to ease the transition into the Super League.”

Denis Betts, Head Coach of Widnes Vikings says: “Competition for places has never been more intense in our senior squad, so developing a partnership of this nature is vitally important. This arrangement will enable us to secure loan placements for our players, working closely with the coaches at Crusaders to ensure that we are providing them with individuals who will enhance their playing group. Naturally, this partnership also benefits our club, ensuring that players who don’t make the match day squad have opportunities to stay fit and ready for first team action.”

“We are looking forward to working with Crusaders over the next two seasons.”

Andy Moulsdale, CEO of North Wales Crusaders, says: “North Wales Crusaders are pleased to have agreed a partnership with Widnes Vikings for the next 2 years. Having spoken to James Rule and Denis Betts, it was clear that this will help both clubs on and off the field.”

“Taking on young full-time players on season long loans will benefit both clubs. Denis has pledged to work closely with our coaching department which can only be a positive. In addition, James and I have had several chats about off-field opportunities. I'm keen to stress to all Crusaders supporters that this is a partnership that is geared to progressing the club as opposed to the dual-registration system that we have had in the past. We look forward to working with James and the Widnes Vikings.”

Vikings announce North Wales Crusaders partnership