RUGBY LEAGUE: COVENTRY Bears will compete across the pond this weekend as Canadian side Toronto Wolpack host Tom Tsang’s side in a league fixture.
The game comes about following Toronto’s vision of Rugby League becoming a major sport across North America – and Saturday’s game, which kicks off at 9.30pm BST, is being broadcast on TV.
The city’s vision has led to Toronto joining League One, and the club has plans to aim for the top tier of the sport in the future.
It is believed Saturday’s game will be the first time a Coventry team has played a competitive league fixture on another continent.
Wolfpack have already taken to the game by storm with a team of full-time professional recruits from across the world.
The team are undefeated and currently play their games in front of crowds in excess of 8,000.
Coach Tom Tsang hopes Saturday’s game will benefit his side and that they will learn and enjoy the experience.
He said: “We are all very excited about the trip to Canada.
“We have been watching the Wolfpack’s entry into the league and impressive progression through the first half of the season with interest and can only applaud how they are selling the sport overseas and bringing in new audiences to the greatest game.
“We at the Bears are doing something similar in the Midlands, albeit on more modest budgets – but we embrace any venture that is looking to spread the rugby league gospel.
“Clearly it will be very difficult for us – one look at the league table and playing form will show that there is a gap between us and Toronto.
“Added to that the travel and acclimatisation required of my semi-professional players and the cards are very obviously stacked against us.
“However, we will go there and give it our best and make sure to make the most of the experience and really enjoy ourselves.
“We have three players unavailable for the trip, plus some late fitness checks on three others – but other than that the lads are healthy and raring to go.”
The Bears will be back on UK soil for their next home fixture on Sunday (June 11) at the Butts Park Arena, kick-off at 3pm.