Pioneering ocean-hopping rugby league team Toronto Wolfpack will make Manchester their home away from home — by using Manchester Metropolitan University’s Platt Lane Sports Complex as their UK training base.

Canada’s first professional rugby league side will compete next season in the Kingstone Press Championship, the second tier of British rugby league, after winning automatic promotion as champions from the division below with two games remaining.

As the world’s first transatlantic sports franchise, Toronto Wolfpack play blocks of back-to-back away league matches during extended stays on British soil as part of a unique fixture arrangement to minimise disruption and travel costs for them and opponents.

Toronto Wolfpack training at Manchester Metropolitan University's Platt Lane Sports Complex

Full-time base in UK

Through a partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University’s MMU Sport, the club will use Platt Lane Sports Complex in Fallowfield, south Manchester, as their full-time base between home games in Toronto.

Players and backroom staff will have access to not only the 3G pitch but also the strength and conditioning suite, physio room, video analysis equipment and lounge.

Brian Noble, Toronto Wolfpack’s Director of Rugby, said: “Manchester Metropolitan’s first-class facilities are on a par with the best in the game and we’re excited to see what opportunities this partnership with bring for our players.

“As one of the finest universities in the UK, Manchester Metropolitan’s expertise, support and knowledge will be extremely valuable to us.

“There’s never been a better time for Toronto and Manchester to be collaborating – and as two pioneering organisations, I predict the year ahead to be very, very exciting.”

Exciting prospects for university

The partnership will bring a number of exciting prospects for the University, which is keen to strengthen its international reputation and use the partnership to highlight its world-class sporting facilities and innovation. 

It includes a coaching agreement in which one of the club’s players take on the role of coach for the University’s Rugby League first team.

Professor Richard Greene, Manchester Metropolitan University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Exchange, said: “As a University we are known for our innovation in education and this partnership with Toronto Wolfpack – one of the most pioneering clubs in the world – will create all sorts of exciting opportunities, both sporting and academically.

“Manchester Metropolitan has a world-class brand and we envisage that the club’s potentially huge international fan base will enable us to reach a much wider and diverse audience.”

Toronto Wolfpack began using Platt Lane Sports Complex this month in preparation for their debut Kingstone Press Championship campaign in February 2018.

Monday, 20th November 2017