Sam Horner welcomes the return of community rugby league following the recent RFL roadmap announcement

Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s Community Clubs Development Officer Sam Horner has shared his excitement for the return of community and social rugby league after it was given the green light to resume later this month by the RFL.

The roadmap released by the game’s governing body last week outlines a phased return to play from the 29th March, 12 months after the coronavirus pandemic led to a suspension of all rugby league activity.

As community clubs all across the region step up their preparations for reopening, Sam was keen to reinforce the part the Foundation will play in helping them to build back stronger.

“It was a huge boost for the community game to finally receive the roadmap for its return to play. It’s a joint effort by everyone now to rally the players back to the clubs and get our community game going again in the safest way possible. ”

“I feel so sorry for the kids who have lost out on their rugby over the last 12 months. We know how important it is for their mental and physical health to be together with their friends having fun and playing sport, and then people maybe forget about the parents, coaches and club members who have lost that social outlet too.

“Financially clubs will have obviously struggled from the loss of key revenue streams, whether that’s from the loss of money coming in over the bar or the sponsorships they have.

“So overall it’s had a huge impact, but I think this situation is actually going to make everyone start thinking a bit more about how important being in that community club environment is to them. I think we’ve learnt a massive lesson and hopefully we’re going to be even stronger for it as a sport when we do return to action.”

Following the release of the roadmap, work must now begin on drawing up plans for a full programme of rugby league delivery to be rolled out across the city.

After months in national lockdown without any possibility for play, it comes as a welcome relief for not only Sam, but the whole of the Foundation’s Rugby League Development team.

“The banter we have as a team and the relationships we establish through our work is what makes it so rewarding,” explained Sam.

“We’re so passionate about the work we do and we’re all just itching to get back out there helping our community clubs to grow and succeed again.

“We’ve got an exciting programme of events lined up for this year, starting with the relaunch of our Sky Try sessions and Development Days, and then moving on to some of the highlights of our calendar such as the Ambassador Festivals.

“We just want to say that we are here to support you, no matter what position you’re in following the pandemic, and we can’t wait to see you again soon.”

To find out more about our Ambassador Clubs scheme and the support we can provide for your club, please email

For more information about Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s Rugby League Development Plan, click HERE.