New rugby league team comes to Oxfordshire

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A BRAND new professional rugby league team from Oxfordshire will be entering Championship One in 2013.

Oxford Rugby League are hoping to bring the spirit of Rugby League to Oxfordshire and the surrounding area, including Bicester, and they are keen to get all the support they can.

The club are continuing to assemble their squad after recently announcing the signing of three new players as their preparations for the season, which begins in March, continue.

Oxford’s recruitment continued with the signing of players Alan Blewitt, Chris Clarke, Jack Briggs and full back Ian Burch while they have also brought in Ozzy Hicks and Phil Cavanagh to bolster their backroom staff.

Blewitt has had experience playing for the Combined Services at both rugby league and rugby union while he’s also represented the GB Armed Forces at the 2008 World Cup.

Head coach Tony Benson said: “He is a big back row forward who stood out in the trials, he’s very strong defensively, experienced and just loves playing rugby league.”

Meanwhile, Hicks has joined as a sports massage therapist and Cavanagh will be the club’s new kit manager.

Cavanagh said: “Having been based at RAF Benson for the past 18 months with very little rugby league in the area, I was really excited to hear about a new team starting up in Oxford.

“It is a very exciting time now being involved with Oxford RL from its very start and I look forward to helping the club grow and establishing rugby league in the South.”

Clarke, a 23-year-old back row forward, joins the club from Oldham Roughyeds.

He said: “I am thrilled to be here and to be a part of history. I am looking forward to the challenge ahead and putting Oxford on the map.”

Benson added: “He is a big, strong, aggressive player and will get us going around the field as he makes good runs.

“He is the type of player who you would want to go to war with and the sort of forward the opposition are glad to see the back of.”