The draw for the national stages of the Carnegie Champion Schools Tournament has been made following the conclusion of regional finals across England and Wales last week.
The draw for the last 16 teams at Years 7-10 and last 8 at Year 11 sees English, Welsh and Scottish school teams battle it out to reach the finals day in London over the Carnegie Challenge Cup weekend.
The Year 7 Carnegie Champion Schools Boys finalists have the unique honour of playing on the Wembley pitch in the curtain raiser prior to the showpiece final and last year’s Wembley finalists Standish and Pickering Schools have been drawn together in the Year 8 draw.
During the 2008/09 season 464 schools have participated in the Carnegie Champion Schools Tournament which has involved a record 1,389 boys teams including 81 teams making their debuts, whilst a further increase in girls teams involved in the competition which starts later in the year is also expected.
Andy Harland, RFL National Development Manager said: “Last week saw regional finals take place across England and Wales and we’ve seen some exceptional Rugby League being played.
“One of the most outstanding areas for growth has been Wales which had no teams entered when the Carnegie Champion Schools Tournament began in 2002 and this season had 86 teams and 1462 players involved in the boys competitions alone.”
The Carnegie Champion Schools Welsh Finals day took place on Friday at Brewery Field, Bridgend, the home of engage Super League side Celtic Crusaders and one enthusiastic spectator was Crusaders and Wales Head Coach John Dixon.
John Dixon said: “It was a pleasure to watch the schools finals at the Brewery Field.
“The future of Welsh rugby league was out there on our pitch and it’s good to see it played with such passion.”
In the 2002/03 season there were just 304 boys teams (5,168 players) involved in the Carnegie Champion Schools Tournament and this year there are 1,389 boys teams (23,613 players) competing across Great Britain as well as a fully incorporated girls competition covering years 7-11.
To see the full Carnegie Champion Schools draw and to keep up to date with fixtures, results and news from the competition please visit www.carnegiechampionschools.co.uk.
photos Janos Schmidt