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Toronto Wolfpack to open 2018 schedule on the road for close to three months

November 01, 2017 - 1:00 AM

TORONTO - The Toronto Wolfpack will spend almost three months on the road to open next season, its first year in the second-tier Championship.

Because of planned upgrades to Lamport Stadium, rugby's first transatlantic team says it will play its first 11 games in Europe, starting Feb. 4. The first Toronto game is slated for April 28.

But why the upgrades will take so long seems a mystery.

The second-year Canadian rugby league side will play 11 of its last 12 games at home. It's a remarkable schedule that will win few fans in Canada.

The fixture list was confirmed Wednesday by the Rugby Football League, the governing body of English rugby league.

Lamport will not be available immediately because of plans to replace the artificial turf, Wolfpack CEO Eric Perez said.

"It's a one-year thing," Perez said of the imbalanced schedule.

"The Wolfpack will have to roll with the punches on this and start the season in the U.K. Play half the season there, then play the other half here," he added.

In 2017, Toronto played its first seven games away before debuting May 20 at home.

The expansion Wolfpack, a fully professional side tasked with beginning life in the semi-pro third tier of English rugby league, won promotion by securing the league title with a 20-1-1 record.

Toronto's 23-game 2018 schedule will feature home and away fixtures against all 11 Championship rivals. The Wolfpack will also take on Leigh Centurions, coach Paul Rowley's former team, at the 2018 Summer Bash in May in Blackpool, England.

The top four teams in the Championship will compete with the bottom four teams in the Super League for places in the elite league in 2019. The bottom eight teams in the Championship will play off for the Championship Shield, with the bottom two sides at the end of the competition being relegated to League 1.

Each post-season competition comprises a further seven games, with teams playing either three or four of their playoff games at home.

Completed in 1975, the 9,600-capacity Lamport Stadium is an aging facility that needs work, from its rudimentary stands to its outdated artificial turf.

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Toronto Wolfpack Championship Season Schedule

February

4: At Leigh Centurions

11: At Barrow Raiders

18: At Halifax RLFC

25: At London Broncos

March

4: At Swinton Lions Away

11: At Sheffield Eagles

23:At Rochdale Hornets

30: At Featherstone Rovers

April

2: At Toulouse Olympique

8: At Batley Bulldogs

15: At Dewsbury Rams

28: vs. Halifax RLFC

May

5: vs. Swinton Lions

19:vs. Toulouse Olympique

26:vs. Leigh Centurions at Blackpool, England (Summer Bash)

June

9: vs. London Broncos

16: vs. Dewsbury Rams

23: vs. Barrow Raiders

30: vs, Leigh Centurions

July

7: vs. Sheffield Eagles

14: vs. Batley Bulldogs

21: vs. Rochdale Hornets

28: vs. Featherstone Rovers

Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

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