Rugby league: The 2012 Rugby League 9s kicks-off on Tuesday when 16 clubs will set out on the journey towards finals night at Headingley Carnegie in Leeds.
All 13 UK-based Super League sides, along with Championship Grand Final winners Featherstone Rovers, Cumbria and The University of Gloucestershire All-Golds, are hoping to get off to the perfect start in round one of the competition.
Featherstone’s Big Fellas Stadium, Hull KR’s Craven Park, The Aldershot Military Stadium and The Wilderspool Stadium in Warrington will all be playing host to mini-festivals.
“The 9s is a great concept,” said 2011 Man of the Tournament Loz Hamzat, who led Cumbria to second place in the competition.
“It’s a different take on the game and it emphasises attacking play which is great for the fans and gives us as players a very different challenge.
“The game is very demanding on us in terms of fitness and gives the players more time and space on the ball and it’s always great to test yourself against Super League players in that type of environment.
“It was quite surreal for me to pick up the tournament player award last year and it was a great feeling to collect a trophy at Headingley
“We blended very well as a Cumbria side that season and we made it all the way to the final. We’ll be aiming to repeat that type of play and hopefully go one better this year and capture the overall title.”
The 2012 tournament is divided in to an East Division and a West Division. Warrington Wolves, Cumbria, Salford City Reds, St Helens, London Broncos, Widnes Vikings and Gloucestershire All Golds make up the Western Division and Hull KR, Hull FC, Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, Castleford Tigers, Featherstone Rovers, Bradford Bulls, Huddersfield Giants and Leeds Rhinos play in the Eastern Division.