The reserve grade field for next season as been completed after the RFL accepted applications from Halifax and Newcastle Thunder.
The 15 team field will include 11 Super League teams (minus Catalans Dragons), two Category One funded academies (Bradford Bulls and Widnes Vikings) and now Halifax and Newcastle Thunder.
Those two places were not short of demand, after applications from Whitehaven and Keighley Cougars were turned down.
As well as the new competition, the RFL had also announced the U19s competition would revert to an U18s setup. They also added dual registrations and loans would be unaffected.
Dave Rotheram, the RFL’s Interim Chief On-Field Officer, said in a statement;
“We’re pleased to confirm the acceptance of applications from Halifax and Newcastle Thunder to produce a 15-team Reserve Grade competition from 2020.
“Halifax have been committed to the importance of reserve team rugby for a number of years, while Newcastle also submitted a thorough application which stressed the quality and quantity of their player supply through their established Academy structure.
“We have explained to Keighley Cougars and Whitehaven that their applications fell short in meeting some of the essential criteria including that the proposed supply of players for both clubs would have significantly relied upon recruiting players from the community game.
“We will continue to support them, and other clubs, as we monitor the return of the structured Reserve Grade competition next season – which as stated previously, is seen as a vital step in the talent and performance pathway, developing high quality players for Super League and England.”