Cheltenham Festival

Date published: Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sky Television Rugby League pundit Barrie McDermott will spearhead Leeds Rhinos quest to lift the All Golds Cup at the Floodlit Cheltenham Rugby Festival on Saturday April 24 at the Prince of Wales Stadium.

Fortunately for the opposition it will be in his role as coach rather than playing these days.

He has a legendary and popular status in the sport and is a member of the select and unique Holy Trinity club namely a winner of the World Club Challenge, Super League Title and Challenge Cup – all whilst starring in a great Leeds Rhinos forward pack.

Known for his tough and uncompromising style laced with quality ball handling skills McDermott was one of the most feared players of his generation. Born inOldham – a hotbed of top League talent – Barrie starred for both Leeds and Wigan and gained international honours for Ireland and Great Britain.

McDermott is also Head of Youth Development at Leeds Rhinos and whilst in Cheltenham is keen to assist any budding players and coaches of League and Union with tips on lifestyle, playing and coaching.

Barrie McDermott

As Barrie points out:

” The Rhinos have entered into a unique partnership with the South West of England to aid the spread and enjoyment of Rugby League.

The partnership will officially be unveiled with our presence at Cheltenham and our participation in the All Golds Cup.

I would be delighted to pass on my knowledge and experience to all budding rugby players and coaches in Gloucestershire.

Any parent approaching me for help on Festival day will receive a warm and helpful welcome.”
The RFL’s South West Regional Manager Joe Catcheside has no doubt of the important contribution McDermott will make to the Festival:

“Barrie is one of Rugby League’s great characters, and is a perfect ambassador for the sport.
Thoroughly professional and uncompromising as a player, he’s a gentleman and a role model off the field. Now a star performer on television, Barrie gives a real sense of the wit and camaraderie that is what our sport is all about, and shows by example how aspiring youngsters can flourish in the disciplined fraternity of the rugby league community.”
Entry to the 1908 Cup for Gloucestershire Schools on Friday April 23rd at Newlands Park from 10.30am to 3.30pm is free.

Entry to the Golden Fern Cup for Women – noon to 3.30pm – and the All Golds Cup for Men – 4pm to 8.30pm – on Saturday April 24th at the Prince of Wales Stadium is £10 and £5 for concessions.
Notes for Editors:
The Cheltenham Rugby Festival is a 9 a side Rugby League competition
Comprising of 3 elements:
1. The All Golds Cup – Men’s Open
Previous Winners: The Royal Navy 2009 The British Army 2008
2. The Golden Fern Cup – Women’s Open
Previous Winners: British Army 2009
3. 1908 Cup – Gloucestershire Schools
Previous Winners:
2009 Year 8 Tewkesbury School Year 9 St Peter’s School Gloucester
2008 Year 8 Archway School Stroud
The Player s of the Tournament will receive the following awards:
William ‘Massa’ Johnston – All Golds Cup
Named in honour of the New Zealand forward who scored the match winning try in the final moments of the 1908 match.
Empress Award – Golden Fern Cup
Named in honour of the ship that transported the New Zealand All Golds team to England.
Arthur Smith Award – 1908 Cup
Named in honour of the famous Gloucestershire Rugby Union player who signed for the Oldham Rugby League club and was selected to represent England in the 1908 international at Cheltenham.

History
The Festival was inaugurated in 2008 to celebrate the centenary of the historic match of the Edwardian period between England and the New Zealand All Golds. The match was played on the 15th of February 1908 at the Athletic Ground Cheltenham. The match was won 8- 5 by the All Golds and decided the first ever Rugby League International Test Series.
On the 15th February 2008 a plaque specially commissioned by the Civic Society was unveiled at the site.

For further information please contact the event directors:
Lionel Hurst 07817 520 789
Neal Coupland 07747 787 509