An update from Hunslet RLFC CEO, Neil Hampshire:

“As prime tenants at South Leeds Stadium, we see the value in other semi professional teams playing at the stadium. We believe that not only gives us more opportunity to grow our own fanbase, but also to help drive additional investment into the facility. To that end, we are pleased to announce that we are already working with South Leeds FC (formerly Middleton FC) to see how we can not only support them in their new venture, as they enter the Northern Counties East League Division 1, but also work in partnership to the benefit of both Clubs. A key element of that will include them using the Phoenix Bar for their home fixtures, giving us a new income stream.

In addition, we are now also pleased to be welcoming a new Rugby Union Club franchise, the ‘Hunslet Wolves’, who will compete in the Yorkshire Merit League for the 2024/25 season. Whilst there is a long history of turmoil and animosity between RL and RU in the past, that is definitely not the case here. We have been fully involved in discussions to create the Wolves from day one, and are looking forward to developing a Rugby hub in South Leeds.

The franchise will be led by French-American tech entrepreneur Dom Einhorn, and Hunslet native Dave Ellis will coach the team. Dave is an ex-RL player with Castleford, Keighley, Doncaster, and Batley as well as having coaching experience in both codes, including at international level as defence coach with France and New Zealand in Union. We have already discussed the potential for players to dual code between our two Clubs as the Wolves project progresses, and that will hopefully provide opportunities for us to utilise overseas talent where cross code participation is a more familiar concept. The Wolves will also be launching a women’s team, headed up by former Northampton, Wasps, Bath, and Leeds Tykes forward Charlie Beech. Charlie was coached at the Tykes by Hunslet Hall of Fame legend James Lowes.

Hunslet RLFC CEO Neil Hampshire commented “I think these are exciting times for South Leeds and having the stadium utilised for RL, RU, Football and Athletics will make it a key sporting hub in the City. The Wolves ambitions match our own and working in collaboration can only help both Clubs to achieve them. I wish them every success on behalf of everyone involved with Hunslet RLFC.”

Dave Ellis commented “I’d like to thank Hunslet for the way they have both supported and welcomed this opportunity. I want to see both Clubs thrive and make South Leeds a real stronghold for both Rugby codes. I can’t wait to get started.”

Dom Einhorn added: “I personally look forward to contributing to the vibrant Hunslet community by helping to build a Rugby franchise from the ground up, with a team of highly capable professionals. The “Wolves” became extinct in the region several hundred years ago. We look forward to bringing their namesakes back to life in South Leeds.”

The Wolves will be staging their formal launch shortly, and Dave Ellis and Neil Hampshire, will also hold a separate Q&A with fans.”