We're nothing if not dilligent here at TLCRF80mins Towers and we pride ourselves on unearthing all the lovely interesting nuggets about Hornets' forthcoming opponents. But finding detailed information of the University of Gloucestershire All Golds (or, as we call them, 'UOGAG') has proven a sterling test of our detective skills.
The 'This Is Gloucestershire' website was our first port of call. 'Rugby League' isn't listed amongst the sports it covers and when you click the generic 'Rugby' link you get swamped with articles on the code preferred by chinless, tweed-wearing tractor jockeys and their forelock-tugging yokel henchmen.
|All Golds - ooh, an athletics track. Bring your binoculars.|
So we clicked through the 'other sports' link to a header that says "Grassroot sports - latest news in Gloucestershire including skittles, hockey, darts, rowing, netball, basketball, youth sports, equestrian, swimming, boxing and martial arts". The page carries an in-depth feature on Gloucester Lions Korfball team. So far, so bad.
So a search of the news site for "All Golds" seemed like a banker to grab the latest news. Lurking below articles on a Children's 9s tournament, an update on Gloucester Warriors in the Conference South West and the formation of a new club Cheltenham Old Pats, we finally bumped into a report on the All Golds' defeat at Gateshead - that didn't actually give you the score.
Thankfully, Gateshead seem to have their act together and report that they beat the All Golds by a comfortable 30 to 10 in front of 160 people. Yes, that's right - one hundred and sixty. Great.
Then, off we headed to The Gloucestershire Echo, where the picture was much the same, where the All Golds got fourth billing on a page found by searching for 'All Golds'. Needless to say, we learned nothing new.
The experience was repeated at the Gloucester Citizen, where any reference to 'Rugby' was repaid with some pan-faced knuckle-draggers yawning on about the other code's World Cup.
What we do know is that UOGAG are coached by peripatetic former NZ Maori rake Brad Hepi, who recently felt compelled to pull on his boots at the age of 45 to give the All Golds a bit of guidance and steel in the middle of the park. But his comeback was brought to a shuddering halt when he dislocated his shoulder at Skirlaugh in the Challenge Cup.
Indeed, one might question the credibility of a league that contains sides that compel a 45 year old to play in order to be competitive, but that's an argument for another day…
The vast majority of the All Golds squad have been promoted from their successful student side, augmented by the addition of a few 'ex-pat' pros, including Tim Bergin (ex-Sheffield), Tyla Hepi (ex-Hull KR), Richard Jones and Chris Clough (both ex-Keighley), Jordan Rice (ex-York), Jamie Crowther (ex-Doncaster) and ex-Toulouse threequarter Maxime Claustres.
So what do we know about UOGAG? Well they're rock bottom of KPC1 with no wins from four, shipping an average of 34 points a game and scoring an average of 12. Though they did lose to Oxford by 30 points to 40 - so they're not exactly at home to Mr Defence. As a benchmark, Oldham whacked them 36 to nil last month at the Prince of Wales Stadium, so Hornets need to get their ruthless head on and go at 'em from the first whistle.
If you're heading down there, the All Golds play their home games at the Prince of Wales Stadium, Cheltenham, GL50 4RN - Directions are:
Take the M6 (S) to Birmingham.
At junction 8, exit onto M5 toward Birmingham (W & S)/West Bromwich.
At junction 10, exit onto Writhy Bridge/A4019 toward Cheltenham.
Continue to follow A4019 Go through 1 roundabout.
Turn left onto Elm St.
Turn right onto Swindon Rd.
At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto St. Paul's Rd.
Turn left onto Folly Lane.
Continue onto Tommy Taylor's Lane.
Ground is ahead.
Estimated driving time 2 and a half hours (so no worse than, say, Whitehaven).