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Super League looks for further inroads in southern market

Super League general manager Blake Solly has spoken of his desire to stage more rugby league games in London and the south east of England, as part of a move to help the club competition expand its presence in the UK.

Rugby league’s Challenge Cup final traditionally takes place at London’s Wembley Stadium, while last year Wigan Warriors played a regular-season Super League game against Catalans Dragons at The Den, the home of League One third-tier football club Millwall and also located in the English capital.

Solly has now told the BBC that he is keen for the League to push on and organise more games in southern England, starting with the 2016 season.

“We've realised that we've got some great showpieces to take to London,” Solly said. “We know there's a market in London and the south east for big rugby league events but we've got to serve them up.

“We've targeted taking three good rugby league events to London and the south east every year for the next three years. Next year we will have the Challenge Cup final and we'll have a Four Nations game with England in it down there.”

For the first time since its launch in 1996, Super League was without a London club last season following London Broncos’ relegation in the previous campaign, and this situation will remain the same in 2016.

“Wigan taking their domestic game against Catalans was a big move so we want to support them if they go down there again next year,” Solly added. “Super League and the (second tier) Championship are in great shape and everyone is already looking forward to the Four Nations.

“In 2017 there's a World Cup in Australia. We're going to have the Challenge Cup at Wembley and hopefully two Super League games and convince another two Super League teams it's worth going to London, both financially and from a growth point of view.”