Loughborough Student Chris McNamara has been selected to represent the Great Britain Academic Lions Down Under in a three match test series against the Australian Universities this summer in rugby league.

A Loughborough rugby union player, McNamara has previous played rugby league at Loughborough, including a spell at professional club – Doncaster RL.

This experience has helped him gain a place in the 22 man squad, travelling  with the aim of being the first British side to lift the Academic Ashes since 2002.

McNamara told Label: “It’s a fantastic opportunity to play against the Australian's and to do so on tour Down Under makes it even more special.”

“It won’t be easy. They beat us in both tests over here last year and that was in the awful weather that we experienced last winter.

"This time it will be on their own soil and in temperatures much hotter than what we’re used to playing in”.

This is McNamara’s first time representing GB and he does so after playing for Wales in the students' home nations competition this Easter.

After gaining the man of the match award in the final game against Ireland, McNamara was called up to the GB set up by coach and ex pro Paul Fletcher (also Leeds Met RL coach).

The 22-year-old said: “We’ve got a good squad though and most of our players play in the Championship or at Academy level so we’re really confident that this is the year we can do it.”

The Great Britain Students will play test matches in Darwin, Brisbane and Cairns as well as facing the Northern Territories representative team. The tour departs on June 23 and returns on July 14.

“Each of us has to raise a £1500 contribution," added McNamara

"As we’re all in full time education it’s a tough ask. Whenever we’re not studying we’re in the gym or on the training field, it doesn’t leave much time for anything else.

"I’m hoping to find a personal sponsor to make a donation to help me raise this money.”

“A personal sponsor would get the company name in all match day programmes along with having a photo of the team with their company name framed."

"I would be happy to do any extra work to push my personal sponsor ‘s brand because I realise how the money would allow me this unique opportunity."

“I am also selling raffle tickets for the chance to be the main sponsor of the trip and have the company name/logo on the playing shirt”.

The raffle tickets are sold at £25 each, and it gives the opportunity for the sponsor to feature on national Australian television! 

To become a personal sponsor is £300, and this guarantees exposure on the tour with no raffle.

McNamara added: “I played my first game for the Lions recently v GB Teachers, where I scored a try in our 46-6 victory and was named Man-of-the-Match, and I hope to perform to the same level once we are on tour."

If any local businesses or sponsors would like to support McNamara, please contact: c.mcnamara-10@student.lboro.ac.uk. .

For further information about the Great Britain Academic Lions RL or the tour itself please contact matt.jeffery@rfl.uk.com


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