North Wales Crusaders
|Full name||North Wales Crusaders Rugby League Football Club|
|Competition||Kingstone Press League 1 (from 2015)|
|Northern Rail Bowl||1 (2013)|
|Championship 1||1 (2013)|
|Most capped||69 - Tommy Johnson|
|Most points||514 - Tommy Johnson|
North Wales Crusaders (Welsh: Croesgadwyr Gogledd Cymru Rygbi'r Gynghrair) are a professional rugby league club based in Wrexham, Wales. They are the successors to the former Super League club Crusaders Rugby League. From 2015, North Wales Crusaders will compete in the re-structured Kingstone Press League 1, the third tier of European rugby league (behind the Super League and Kingstone Press Championship). They play their home games at the Racecourse Ground.
In the summer of 2003, the WRU voted to reduce the top tier of Welsh professional rugby union from nine clubs into five regions. The Celtic Warriors officially represented the Mid-Glamorgan Valleys area, which in practice meant that they were a combination of Pontypridd RFC and Bridgend RFC.
Financial problems at Pontypridd RFC led to the sale of their half of the Warriors to Bridgend RFC owner Leighton Samuel, which he gifted to the WRU. He then later sold his half to the WRU who in the summer of 2004 decided to liquidate the club.
Leighton Samuel was approached by the RFL to form a rugby league club and join the professional ranks. The new Celtic Crusaders were argued to be a continuation of the old Celtic Warriors side and were based at Bridgend's Brewery Field.
In 2009, the team were awarded a Super League licence and played one season in Super League before financial problems saw the club renamed Crusaders Rugby League and moved to Wrexham. The club created an academy side for players based in North Wales known as North Wales Crusaders. After two seasons at Wrexham, the club pulled out from bidding for a 2012 Super League licence.
North Wales Crusaders
The club was founded in 2011 following the folding of Crusaders Rugby League. They officially joined Championship 1, the third tier of rugby league in the United Kingdom, on 11 October 2011. Their name, which continues the Crusaders branding, was selected in a fan contest. A rival bid from Wrexham-based Glyndwr Chargers was withdrawn.
The club held open trials for any new players to attend.
North Wales Crusaders won their first game, a friendly, 34–12 away to Leigh East.
The club have revealed a logo ready for use in the 2012 season which an evolution of the 2011 logo. The badge, inspired by the Prince of Wales's feathers, has three white feathers adorning the centre of a disc with the Flag of St David on. To the left and right of the feathers, the words "North" and "Wales" appear on the disc as opposed to "Rugby" and "League" on the old logo. Beneath the feathers remains "Crusaders".
The Racecourse Ground is located in Wrexham in North Wales and is the official home of the Crusaders and where most matches are played. The club moved to the ground in 2010, in time for the start of the Super League XV season. The first Crusaders match ever played there was against Leeds Rhinos on 29 January 2010, and that match is also the highest attendance for a Crusaders match played in Wrexham. With a capacity of 15,500 it is the largest ground in North Wales, the fifth largest in the whole of Wales, and the seventh largest in Super League. It was first built in 1807 and first played host to Wrexham's "Town Purse" horse race. Crowd trouble stopped the horse racing and in 1864 it became home to Wrexham Football Club with the club now owning the ground. The Wales national rugby league team have played there. The ground has four stands: The Mold Road Stand, The Eric Roberts Stand, The Kop and The Yale.
Whilst resurfacing work was taking place at the Racecourse Ground in 2014, North Wales Crusaders took their home games to 'The Rock' in Rhosymedre, Wrexham.
* Announced on 7 January 2015:
|Player||Parent Club||Contract length||Date|
|Alex Thompson||Oxford RLFC||2 Years||September 2014|
|Joe Burke||Barrow Raiders||2 Years||September 2014|
|Leon Brennan||Sarina Crocodiles||1 Year||September 2014|
|Ian Mort||Barrow Raiders||1 Year||September 2014|
|Ryan Duffy||Leigh Centurions||1 Year||September 2014|
|Elliott Davies||Wigan Warriors||1 Year||September 2014|
|Callum Wright||Warwick Cowboys||2 Years||September 2014|
|Mark Hobson||Oldham Roughyeds||1 Year||November 2014|
|Andy Joy||Oldham Roughyeds||2 Years||November 2014|
|Alex Davidson||Salford Red Devils||2 Years||November 2014|
|Paddy Mooney||Oldham Roughyeds||2 Years||November 2014|
|Andrew Oakden||Chester Gladiators||1 Year||January 2014|
|Player||New Club||Contract Length||Date|
|Owain Brown||Retired||N/A||May 2014|
|Michael Platt||Leigh Centurions||2 ½ Years||June 2014|
|Toby Adamson||Dewsbury Rams||2 Years||October 2014|
|Stephen Bannister||Whitehaven RLFC||1 Year||October 2014|
|Mark Offerdahl†||Australia||1 Year||October 2014|
|Billy Sheen||Coventry Bears||1 Year||November 2014|
|Greg Wilde||Whitehaven RLFC||2 Years||January 2015|
|David Mills||December 2014|
|Dominic Speakman||December 2014|
|Dan Birkett||December 2014|
|Andy Thornley||December 2014|
|Jamie Durbin||December 2014|
|Jonathan Soum||December 2014|
|Simon Stephens||December 2014|
|Jamie Clark||December 2014|
|Name||Nat||Tenure||Matches Won||%||SL Won||%||Champ Won||%||Champ 1 Won||%||Chall. Cup Won||%||Champ. Cup Won||%|
|Clive Griffiths||November 2011 – June 2014||35/61||57||0/0||0||6/15||40||21/34||62||3/6||50||5/6||83|
|Anthony Murray||June 2014 – Present||0/2||0||0/0||0||0/2||0||0/0||0||0/0||0||0/0||0|
Updated 1 July 2014.
- Championship 1: 2013
- Northern Rail Bowl: 2013
- [dead link]
- "BBC Sport – New Crusaders side awarded Championship One place". BBC News. 11 November 2011. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
- "Official Crusaders RL web site". Crusadersrfl.com. 7 December 2011. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
- BBC News – Old Stadium Claims World Record Retrieved on 5 September 2010.
- Wrexham FC – The Racecourse Retrieved on 5 September 2010.
- Wales Directory – The Racecourse Retrieved on 5 September 2010.
- The Racecourse Wrexham – About Us Retrieved on 6 September 2010.
- "Official Crusaders RL web site". Crusadersrfl.com. 3 February 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
- "Official Crusaders RL web site". Crusadersrfl.com. 20 February 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
- "Official Crusaders RL web site". Crusadersrfl.com. Retrieved 20 August 2012.