General Rhinos to take on gridiron stars

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Members of the Rhinos squad will take on counterparts from NFL side Jacksonville Jaguars at a skills challenge as part of the promotion for the forthcoming game against Salford at Hodges Stadium at the University of North Florida.

The event will see a team of players from the Rhinos, one from Salford and one from the Jaguars compete to help raise funds for three local charities in Jacksonville.

The Coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Jack Del Rio, set up the Jack Del Rio Foundation in June of 2008 to help meet the needs of the undeserved youth in the region. The Jaguars coach has set his sights on being directly involved in the foundation and establishing deep roots in the Jacksonville Area. (

The Rugby League Event organizer Spinner Howland approached the Foundation with the idea of creating a fund raising event that centres around some skills challenges which would put some of the Jacksonville Jaguars Players up against some of the Rugby players. "To be honest I have always wondered how the Rugby League players would fare if put up against the American Football guys. There has always been plenty of talk about the two sports and which athletes are faster, stronger, etc. This challenge will help answer some of those questions and raise money for local charities at the same time," Howland said.

The Challenge will see a set of skills that are common in both sports designed to test players from all three teams. There will be some kicking test that will not only determine punting distance but also accuracy with some field goals having to be kicked from the sidelines like they do in Rugby. Players will also have to kick both types of balls. There will also be some sprint tests and an agility test to see which players prove more allusive on their feet at speed. Players from each team will compete for a selected charity in each event and the prize money allocated will be donated based on where their player finishes in each event.

The Jaguar players will obviously compete for the Jack Del Rio Foundation and the players from Leeds and Salford will be paired with the Jacksonville USO and Dreams Come True.

Both the visiting teams are excited about an opportunity to not only testing themselves against some NFL Players but more importantly leaving a positive impression in Jacksonville by helping raise the profile of the charities involved and some money at the same time. After the way the city of Jacksonville embraced both teams that competed in the Australia Day Challenge last January, everyone involved with this new event is eager to show their gratitude by being able to assist the local organizations, especially in this current economic market.

The Leeds Rhinos and the Salford Reds will be hosted to an afternoon at the Jaguar’s facility just as the visiting team where last year. These tours are one of the highlights for the players from the Rugby teams and both clubs are excited that the partnership with the Jacksonville Jaguars has now spawned a new association with the teams head coach. The acceptance of the idea from the Jack Del Rio Foundation speaks volumes at the sincerity of the Del Rio family to truly become a Jacksonville Charity that goes well beyond the game of American football and reaches into the grass roots of the local community.

The pre-game challenge will start on the field at 2pm and the charity raffle that will also raise funds for all three charities will be drawn at halftime along with a cheque presentation to each organization.