The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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Saturday August 7th is finals day in the Total RL.com Welsh Rugby League Conference. The day starts at 11am with an under 17 match between Aberavon Fighting Irish and Cardiff Demons. The Shield Final between Newport Titans and Cardiff Demons kicks off at 12.30 while the Welsh Grand Final between Bridgend Blue Bulls and Aberavon Fighting Irish has a 2.30pm start.
However, it's not the end of the season for the winners of the Shield or the Grand Final. The winners of each match will go on to represent Wales in the quarter-finals of the National Conference and the good news is that three out of the four clubs will have home tie.
The draw for the national quarter-finals is done on a regional basis and the Welsh winners will play the winners of the Southern Area Grand Finals. The clubs with the better playing record over the regular season will be drawn at home.
The Southern Area Shield Final is between Telford Raiders and South London Storm. Both these clubs have a worse record than Cardiff and Newport so a home tie for the winners of the Welsh Shield Final is guaranteed.
However, Aberavon will face a tough trip to either Somerset Vikings or West London Sharks if they defy the odds and beat the unbeaten Bridgend Blue Bulls in the Welsh Grand Final as both the English clubs only lost one game during their regular season while the Fighting Irish suffered three defeats.
The semi-finals will then be played at Hemel Hempstead Stags' Pennine Way ground on Sunday August 22nd with the National Shield and Grand Finals at St.Albans Centurions' new state of the art facility Woollams on Sunday September 5th.
The Welsh Conference is highly recognised as the best standard of British amateur rugby league as is proved by Bridgend Blue Bulls winning last year's National Grand Final and Torfaen Tigers being runners-up in the Shield Final. Who would bet against Welsh clubs going all the way again this year
This week's fixtures:
Saturday August 7th - Welsh Grand Finals Day (all games at Aberavon Greenstars RFC).
11.00 - Under 17 Final - Aberavon Fighting Irish v Cardiff Demons 12.30 - Total RL.com Welsh Shield Final - Newport Titans v Cardiff Demons 14.30 - Total RL.com Welsh Grand Final - Bridgend Blue Bulls v Aberavon Fighting Irish
On Sunday, there will be under 15 and under 13 matches at Aberavon Greenstars RFC. The teams and times will be confirmed later this week.
OTHER REGIONAL RUGBY LEAGUE CONFERENCE GRAND FINALS THIS WEEK
Wed 4th August (7.30pm) Cumbria - Penrith Pumas V West Cumbrian Crusaders
Fri 6th August (7pm) North West - Widnes Saints V Chester Wolves Yorkshire - Leeds Akademiks V Wetherby Bulldogs
Sat 7th August (2.30) Midlands - Nottingham Outlaws V Leicester Phoenix North-East - Newcastle Knights V Peterlee Pumas East - Ipswich Rhinos V North London Skolars South - Somerset Vikings V West London Sharks
OTHER RLC SHIELD FINALS THIS WEEK
Sat 7th August (2.30) North-West - Crewe Wolves V Blackpool Sea Eagles Midlands - St Albans Centurions V Worksop Sharks East - St Ives Roosters V Cambridge Eagles South - Telford Raiders V South London Storm Yorkshire - South Wakefield Sharks V Thorne Moor Marauders