Bristol Sonics captain Dom Swann wants to see a big crowd roar his side to victory over Leicester Storm at Aretians RFC, Little Stoke, this Saturday (14 August, kick-off 2.30pm).

Swann – the Sonics’ record points scorer and longest serving player – has called on Bristol rugby supporters to come and cheer on his side in their final home game of the 2010 season – a ‘do or die’ Cooperative RLC Midlands Premier semi-final with close rivals Leicester Storm. A win would see the Sonics set-up a Grand Final date with Coventry Bears – and a chance to claim their first silverware since 2008.

Bristol captain Swann said: “Saturday’s game against Leicester promises to be an absolute cracker. It’s the most important game of our season so far, and I’d like to see a big crowd roaring the lads on. The two sides are evenly matched, we play an attractive brand of rugby and it promises to be an excellent game. Furthermore, entrance is free and Aretians RFC will be providing refreshments, including a fully stocked bar.”

Despite being the city’s only Rugby League club, the Sonics’ squad boasts a number of players who regularly feature for Bristol Combination rugby union clubs in the winter. Clubs represented include Dings, Avonmouth, St Marys, Old Bristolians, Old Elizabethans and Clevedon, as well as students from Bristol University, UWE and Filton College.

Swann said: “We take in players from rugby union clubs all over Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. It would be great to see supporters of those clubs coming out and supporting their lads and the city as a whole in what is a must-win game. Don’t worry if you’ve not watched much Rugby League before – it’s a very easy game to understand and there will be plenty of regular supporters on hand to answer any questions you may have.”

Sonics’ coach Karl Fearnley hopes to name a full-strength side to take on in-form Leicester Storm, who have won four out of their last five games. The Storm are skippered by one-time Sonic Simon Anniss, the prolific hooker who has scored an impressive 11 tries so far this campaign. Both of the previous games between the two sides this season have been close affairs, with the Sonics and Storm winning one a-piece.


Bristol Schools take to Rugby League

Bristol’s first schools rugby league competition was a great success, with seven teams taking part in a nine a side competition at Filton College.

The event itself was organised by students at the College, as a part of the Rugby League Leaders Award, in conjunction with the Bristol Sonics Community Club.
In the Year 8 competition, St Bernadettes RC school were the stand-out team, maintaining a 100% record through the group stages before defeating St Mary Ratcliffe Temple in the final by 32 points to 6.

The Year 9 tournament was a much closer affair. City Academy were unlucky to lose to a try on the last play against St Bernadettes, before making a sensational comeback from 18-0 down to draw 18 all with St Mary Ratcliffe Temple. It wasn’t enough to make the final, though, where the Grange School from Brislington were too strong for St Bernadettes, winning 18-6.

The event itself was a showcase for junior rugby league, and comes on the back of visits by both Leeds Rhinos and the Jamaica National Team to schools in Bristol.

The engagement with Rugby League has been particularly encouraging amongst the BME communities in the heart of the city, thanks to the support of Sporting Equals and the local Black Development Agency.

South West Regional Regional Manager for the RFL,


Rugby League to be taught in Bristol Schools

Bristol schoolchildren will get a chance to play Rugby League this week, when Bristol Sonics launch the city’s first ever schools coaching programme. Sonics coaches will teach teenagers the basic skills of the 13-a-side code at three schools starting on Tuesday 16 March, with a five further schools due to take part in the pilot scheme later in the spring.

Bristol Sonics Head Coach Karl Fearnley will head to City Academy in Easton on Tuesday for the first of three coaching sessions at the specialist sports college, before moving on to Brinsham Green School in Yate on Wednesday and The Grange School & Sports Academy, Warmley, on Thursday. It will be the first time that Rugby League will be taught in schools in Bristol and South Gloucestershire, some eight years after the launch of the Sonics, the city’s RL club. Pupils from these three schools, alongside others from the five further schools who will receive specialist coaching in coming weeks, will get a chance to compete against each other at Bristol’s first schools Rugby League Nines competition, which is set to take place at Filton College at the end of April.

Should any of the teenagers involved wish to play more Rugby League over the summer, the Sonics will be running under 13 and under 15s teams from the Aretians RFC base, starting in May. In addition, a ‘