St Helens: Super League giants link up with Cornish Rebels

By James LawBBC Sport
Cornish Rebels
Cornish Rebels and St Helens staff line up at Langtree Park after formalising the partnership

Amateur rugby league side Cornish Rebels have announced an official link with Super League giants St Helens.

The Rebels, who only formed in 2013, play in the South West Premier and are the only team in the county.

The partnership with St Helens hopes to increase the profile of the sport in a region dominated by rugby union.

"It's quite an achievement for us to be linked with such a big name in the game," Rebels chairman and manager John Beach told BBC Sport.

"This is not a publicity stunt or a quick flash in the pan. There's a long-term commitment here to develop the game in Cornwall and the south west."

The link came about thanks to former St Helens club doctor Viv Gillanders, from Bude, and her husband, who was a statistician for the team.

The 2014 Super League champions have agreed to help coach the sport in Cornish secondary schools for the first time ever.

Rugby league a growing force in the south west?
The Cornish Rebels are two-time South West Challenge Cup winners and play in a five-team league including teams from Exeter, Plymouth and North Devon.

"It's going to be absolutely massive for rugby league in Cornwall," added Beach.

"We've now got a professional team in Gloucester (University of Gloucestershire All Golds) and the game is slowly spreading this way.

"At a younger age union and league are very much the same. Hopefully in a number of years we can develop our own crop of players - they might follow in the footsteps of Jack Nowell or Luke Cowan-Dickie."

St Helens, who lost to Leeds in their Super League semi-final, are also viewing the partnership as an opportunity.

"We've been speaking to the Rebels for a while now and we are thrilled that we can take our club to new audiences," said club development manager Steve Leonard.

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