LEEDS Akkies have invited new players to "TRY rugby league" after confirming their intention to operate three open age teams again in 2008
FORMER Leeds Akademiks winger Neil Ayres got his new career with London Skolars off to a flying start when he scored on his debut for the LHF National League Two side in a trial game against England Lionhearts on Sunday.
The Nottingham-born flyer has been training with the Skolars since relocating to the capital in October, following a sensational first season in rugby league with the Akademiks. He started on the wing as the Skolars defeated the Lionhearts - the representative side made up of the best players from the Rugby League Conference - 64-16 at New River Stadium.
Ironically, Ayres was overlooked by Lionhearts selectors last season, despite his prolific try-scoring record for the Akademiks. However, his try-scoring debut could have netted him a place in the Skolars' squad for this Saturday's eagerly anticipated derby fixture against his new club's Super League neighbours London Broncos.
Akademiks chairman Jez Shires commented: "It was clear Neil had huge potential when he first arrived at the club from Old Modernians RUFC last May. He has absolutely blinding pace, and is possibly the quickest player I have seen at this level, but he's also extremely tough and committed.
"It's great to see him working hard to develop his rugby league career and I'm sure he will do well."
LEEDS Akademiks forward Dave Norcross will have the chance to help restore some British pride when GB Students take on their Australian counterparts at Dewsbury on Wednesday night.
The 'Academic Ashes' get underway at Ram Stadium (kick off 7.30pm) with Norcross likely to play a prominent role in GB coach Gary Wilkinson's pack. 'Knocker's' appearances for the Akkies during the 2004 season were limited because of his commitments with the GB train-on squad but he is certain to be well supported by his clubmates on Wednesday night and in Sunday's second Test at Warrington.
Commenting on the games, Student Rugby League Manager Matt Jeffery said: ?The Australian team have been on tour in the UK for several weeks now and have already are in good form but we know that the GB students are extremely well prepared and so it should be a tremendous contest.