COLWYN BAY will host an historic day for rugby league on Saturday, April 2, when North Wales Crusaders face Cornwall in their first-ever competitive match as a club, writes RYAN GOULD.

Cornwall have joined League 1 for the 2022 campaign and, after bringing together a squad of players over the off-season, they’ll take to the field for the first time at Stadiwm Eirias.

North Wales will have already kicked off their League 1 season - they travel to Rochdale Hornets this weekend - and have had four outings in the Challenge Cup as they made it through to the fifth-round stage.

Crusaders chief executive Andy Moulsdale said: “As a club outside rugby league’s heartlands, we’re delighted to be the ones hosting Cornwall in their first-ever match.

“We’ve made a lot of progress on and off the field and we’re hoping to carry our momentum into the 2022 campaign.

“With no other professional rugby league matches in the UK on April 2, this is a great spectacle for people to attend as it’s a piece of history for the sport.

“Our crowds have grown significantly in Colwyn Bay and it’s helped create a fantastic atmosphere that the players have thrived off.

“It’d be great to see Stadiwm Eirias rocking under the lights as we take on Cornwall.”

Well-known coach Neil Kelly, who led Wales in the early 2000s, is the man tasked with managing Cornwall and establishing roots for a professional rugby league side in fairly new territory.

“There’s been no tradition for a rugby league club in Cornwall, so by that very nature a lot of the players we are looking at are from rugby union, but they want to try their arm at rugby league,” said Kelly.

“I’m very encouraged really because we’d had modest recruitment taking place so far, we’ve got lots of offers out to traditional rugby league players, but I would anticipate that the bulk of our squad, maybe 15 players, are going to come from this area.

“We’re going to carry on with the recruitment process, we’re going to get the footage of the trial, contact the people that we feel have had a successful trial and hopefully overcome the last bit of the hurdle to get them to sign a contract and start training ready to play.”

It’s all about this weekend’s clash at Rochdale for Cru’s Brad Billsborough, who said: “We have had a few battles versus Rochdale.

“It’s always tough. It’s fast and it’s physical.

“It’s a lovely ground to play at. We will know what they will bring, but we’ve got to play our game.”

Tickets for Crusaders’ clash with Cornwall, getting underway at 5.30pm, are priced at £12 for adults and £10 for concessions, with U16s going free.

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Richard Agar has stepped down as head coach of Leeds Rhinos, with immediate effect.

Agar, who had been in the role since May 2019, will remain with the club but his assistant Jamie Jones-Buchanan will take charge of preparations for Saturday’s Betfred Challenge Cup sixth-round tie against Castleford at Headingley.