Details have been finalised and visas obtained for the GB Student Pioneers rugby league tour to Ghana, which arrives in the country on Monday, 30th June and will see the squad in the West African nation for two weeks.
The Pioneers were formed in 2005 and encompass students from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales with the aim of aiding fledgling nations.
They made their inaugural tour to Estonia and have since visited the Czech Republic, Latvia, Ukraine, Norway, Kazakhstan, Greece and Poland.
Squad members are ambassadors for their university and sport, selection criteria considering not only their ability to play the game to a high standard but a proven track record in undertaking rugby league development activity.
While in Ghana, the squad will play three matches against the Ghana All Stars and two facing the national side while also running coaching clinics in schools, running touch rugby tournaments – including one on the beach, meeting the local press and taking part in cultural activities and visits.
GRL Development Manager Sylvester Wellington commented: “This tour has been two years in the planning. We have heard and read about the Pioneers and how they are helping countries to develop rugby league and we feel this is a big opportunity for Ghana to showcase what we have been doing and how fast the sport has grown here.”
“The players and management of Ghana RL are looking forward to it because it will help in making so many more people aware about the sport.”
He added: “We also know this will open the way for us in terms of sponsorships and making some of our players known outside Africa, there is some terrific talent here.”
The tourists, who have been helped in their preparations by the sport’s official charity, Rugby League Cares, will be managed by Steve Curtis, Sports Development Manager at the University of Hull.
He said: “The SRL GB Pioneers tour to Ghana is an exciting new challenge for us. The RLEF have done some great work out there and we want to help build on it and spread the word about rugby league.”
“We have a busy itinerary and all the players and staff are looking forward to leaving tools to help grow the sport there.”
GB STUDENT PIONEERS SQUAD TO GHANA
1 Jonathan Ryan Morris Leeds
2 Andrew Michael Joy Liverpool
3 James Alex Rodger Bradford
4 Nikola Marko Zalad UCLAN
5 Joseph Philip Kenny Durham
6 Ryan James Dowsett St Marys
7 Jonathan Peter Burns Sheffield Hallam
8 James David Park Bath
9 Samuel Swire Hull
10 Edward Geoffrey Denis Linford Brunel
11 Ryan Anthony Lee Gloucester
12 David Gerard O’Connor Warwick
13 Joshua Dolan UCLAN
14 Philip James Heath TASC
15 Adam Cunliffe Nottingham
16 Sean Pattimore Swansea
17 Callum Williamson Swansea
18 Samuel Thomas Roe York St Johns
19 George David McNulty-Shaw Aberystwyth
20 Benjamin Mohammed Chipperfield Bangor
Steve Curtis Tour Manager
Keith Sandhu Team Manager
Richard Tate Head Coach
Ollie O’Mara Assistant Coach
Andrew Mitchell Physiotherapist
Richard Squires Referee Development