The Rugby Football League (RFL) have announced that University of Gloucester All Golds will compete in Championship One next season.
The south west outfit are the third of the four new teams who will be added to the lower tiers of the rugby league pyramid next season.
The club will be based entirely at the University of Gloucester, cough who will run the club, and will continue to maintain close links with Leeds Rhinos.
The Yorkshire club has been helping to develop the game in the south west of England for several years.
“We are delighted to announce that University of Gloucestershire All Golds will join Northampton and Hemel Stags in taking their place in Championship 1 in 2013,” said RFl chief operating officer Ralph Rimmer.
“The All Golds are another exciting addition who will enhance the competition and the sport in many ways.
“Once again we are breaking new territory for Rugby League in terms of geographical expansion which will ultimately grow the player pool by giving increasing numbers of players from across the country the opportunity to play the sport at semi-professional level.
“They have a remarkable combination of history combined with some exciting plans for the future and with their set-up at the University they will be unique amongst their peers.”
The club are currently among the top eight student sides in the country, and finished third in the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Super 8 League last season.
They also have a junior academy in place and run U14, U16 and U18 squads, as well as helping to develoop the game in local schools and colleges.
“The announcement builds on many years of hard work, led by both enterprising students and supportive members of the local community,” the university’s director of sport Andy Pitchford said.
“The team now play at the very highest level of student sport, with 12 student internationals, two full internationals and three students who have made their professional debuts this season. The professional club is the natural next step for those both on and off the pitch.
“We are particularly grateful to Lionel Hurst, the Chairman of our Student/BUCS club, for his leadership and for his encouragement to push for this ambitious project. We are grateful to all of the partners who have helped us to bring this to reality, including the RFL and the Leeds Rhinos.”