With Rugby League being a stereotypical northern game and Rugby Union being a typical southern game, the RFL have been trying to expand the game.
However, United Services Portsmouth Seahawks are well into their 10th season as a rugby league side.
Starting out as Gosport and Fareham Vikings, they joined the London & South Division of the Rugby League Conference in 2003. The club made a midseason withdrawal in 2005 and didn’t return to the Conference until 2007, this time to the South Division.
Gosport & Fareham Vikings became Portsmouth Navy Seahawks for the 2008 season and took part in the Rugby League Conference South Premier Division finishing fifth.
A decade on, and the Seahawks are reigning West of England Champions after defeating Swindon St.George in last years final and are hoping to kick on even further this year.
James Wagstaffe, seen below, has been running the club for the past decade has said: ‘We are the type of team who just seems to turn up, play and win, I don’t want that to sound big-headed but the majority of the time that is true.’
He added: ‘We rarely train and pre-season training doesn’t often happen due to the lengthening union season.’
This works well for the Seahawks who, although having an indifferent start to the season have beaten both Swindon St. George and Southampton Spitfires in their last two matches and will hope to overcome the challenge of Bath and Wiltshire Romans this Saturday.
As mentioned before, rugby league is expanding all over the country, especially with the standard of teams playing for the Harry Jepson Trophy and in Kingstone Press League One, who are based below Nottingham.
Most teams train weekly and have a rarely unchanged first team out every week with a second string side also getting games. The Seahawks break that mould by rocking up on a Saturday afternoon, playing the game they love and winning. This doesn’t work for most teams but the camaraderie between the group of players pays dividends and will continue to pay dividends.
The club has attempted to make a go of it in the tougher London League but the travelling and the standard was slightly too much. I would describe the Seahawks as a social rugby league club who love to win and have fun.
To see a short video feature on the US Portsmouth Seahawks click here.