Skolars Let Virgin Trains Take The Strain

8th March 2012

London Skolars Rugby League club have announced an exciting new travel partnership with Virgin Trains, which will see the Skolars squad travel to a number of away fixtures in 2012 by train, instead of by coach.

Thanks to the quicker journey times and more comfortable surroundings of Virgin’s 125mph tilting trains, the Skolars are convinced that it will benefit their players out on the field in this most physically demanding of sports.

The north London club, who play in Co-operative Championship 1, the third tier of professional Rugby League, are the only southern-based club in their division. This means travelling in excess of 4,000 miles this season to fulfil away fixtures. Long coach journeys to and from opposition stadiums often mean that the squad don’t arrive back in London until the early hours of Monday morning.

The most important aspect of the partnership with Virgin Trains is the significant help it will give to the squad’s preparation and recovery. Commenting on the partnership Skolars Head Coach Joe Mbu said: “Skolars travel more miles to fulfil their fixtures than any other professional Rugby League club and the long hours spent on coaches undoubtedly takes its toll on the players.

“We have to leave London very early on Sundays and many times do not arrive back until well after midnight. Many players have day jobs they have to go to on Mondays, so it is not ideal preparation for their week.”

“I see being able to travel by train having many benefits for the team. Firstly we can depart London at least an hour later than usual and our travel times will be significantly shortened. Players will arrive at destinations more refreshed and rested and I also see train travel as a more sociable atmosphere for the players.

“Recovery time for players is key to everything we are trying to achieve, so being able to arrive back in London at a reasonable hour, having spent significantly less time travelling, will have huge benefits for the players’ wellbeing.”

The partnership kicks into action this Sunday when Skolars will be travelling to Lancashire by Virgin Trains to play their first Championship 1 game of the new campaign against Rochdale Hornets. “The team are looking forward to our first league game at Rochdale and are delighted to learn that Virgin Trains were going to get us there and back, hopefully with a win,” said Mbu.

Virgin Trains Communications Director, Arthur Leathley is delighted with the new partnership saying:“London Skolars are the latest leading sports team to recognise the benefits of travelling to key matches by train. Athletes value the space and freedom to relax rather than being cramped up in coaches. We’re delighted to have the team travelling with us and wish them well for the new season. I am confident they will reap the benefits of travelling with us,  that other sporting teams enjoy.”

Virgin Trains currently looks after the long distance travel for 13 of the 20 Premier League clubs including Manchester United whose manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, commented: “I would recommend travelling with Virgin Trains to anyone – it’s been first class. The preparation going to London is so vital to us and Virgin Trains is part of our team now.”

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