The boys from the Valleys are coming to Rating Lane next month when Rhondda Outlaws take on Barrow Island in the first round of the Coral Challenge Cup.

The Welsh champions make their debut in the competition just three years after their formation. The last three seasons they have been guests of Pontypridd Rugby Union Club, but for the 2020 season they will move to a new ground in nearby Glyncoch, where massive work is taking place in readiness for the new campaign.

Rugby league is popular, with many lads in the Valleys preferring League to Union, but the Outlaws are in a competition that is low in numbers.

Coach Joe Elliott was delighted with the draw, saying: “It is great that we have been drawn at home, you couldn’t have asked for anything better than being at home.

“I am really excited with the outcome of the draw and to face a Welsh side is even more exciting. I would say that this will be a first for Barrow Island facing a Welsh side, I have never heard of us ever playing one before.

“They will get a warm Barrow Island welcome following their five to six-hour journey, when the game is over we will welcome them into the clubhouse for a few drinks and a chat.”

It is a privilege to be offered a place in the Challenge Cup. Last year Millom made history by playing Red Star Belgrade at Devonshire Road, where over 1,550 spectators were at the Coronation Field on a bitterly cold winter’s day, as the Woolybacks won 38-10.

Elliott said: “We were invited into the competition and accepted the offer with open arms - the lads are more excited than us on the coaching staff. There was a buzz around the place at training this week, in anticipation of the draw.

“It is another challenge for the lads and we look at it as one of our pre-season warm-up games. All the lads will be wanting to claim the 17 shirts and put themselves in the window for when the season gets underway.

“We aim to make progress in the competition and it would be nice to meet Barrow Raiders further down the line.”

Club stalwart John Jefferson added: “It’s a great draw against unknown opposition. We don’t know anything about them, only that they play in a small league and are the Welsh champions.

“It should be a good day for all at Barrow Island and the revenue will be most welcome. The Outlaws will be up for it so we won’t be taking them lightly and now we will be going flat out in training to be ready for what should be an interesting game.

“Some of our lads are already training with Barrow, so the other lads will soon be into it. Gym work and the all-weather pitch at Furness College is where we will be leading up to the game.”