A new three club tournament has been announced today by the Leicester Tigers Rugby Club, Newcastle Falcons and Sale Sharks ahead of the start of the season. The tournament called ‘Kings of the North’, will take place in September and October.
Leicester Cathedral was once again put in the spotlight as it opened its doors to the three rugby club directors, Richard Cockerill of Leicester Tigers, Dean Richards of Newcastle Falcons, and Steve Diamond of Sale Sharks, as they set to announce their new tournament, ‘Kings of the North’. With the start to the Aviva Premiership League delayed due to the hosting of the World Cup, the three clubs will face one another in a head to head clash for the crown which will build up to the Premiership kick-off in the winter season.
The event was developed around the history of the three clubs, as well as the King Richard III heritage campaign of which Leicester Tigers holds strong relations with and looks to fortify with the help of the tournament. The Kings of the North will be the first competition of its kind in English history, creating a real milestone in rugby. All three directors, along with the Chief Executive of Leicester Tigers Simon Cohen revealed the new tournament to fans, the media, and invited guests with a short video and a brief top table question and answer session. Simon Cohen stated his enthusiasm towards the new event, “Next season will be a unique season for the club.” He went on to comment on the benefits that the tournament will bring to Leicester rugby going into the Premiership season, stating, “This is where we develop a team.”
All three clubs will face each other home and away during the tournament, with the opening game seeing Sale Sharks travelling away to Newcastle Falcons on the first weekend of September. The significance of the event revolves around its overlap with the Rugby World Cup; however the directors defended the benefits of this decision, claiming that it will help in developing academy players to push through into the big leagues, whilst utilising the popularity of the World Cup to hopefully encourage greater spectatorship to the games and raise Northern England’s rugby profile.
“We’ll have 10 to 12 players away with the World Cup, so we will have young guys stepping up and developing at the same time, it will be an incredible opportunity for them.” said Richard Cockerill.
Tickets for the Kings of the North fixtures will be released shortly on the club websites, but for those with Welford Road season tickets for 2015/16, all of the home games are included within the fee.