Having qualified for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup for the first time in their history – and the naugural Caribbean nation to do so – the Jamaican Rugby League Association has appointed joint operations directors in the UK.
Dual-code rugby legend Jason Robinson and media mogul Alex Simmons have accepted the posts, and it is anticipated that their involvement will massively raise the profile of the Reggae Warriors amongst the heritage community.
“The JRLA board is delighted to have Jason and Alex on board directing operations in the UK,” said director of rugby and national team head coach Romeo Monteith.
“Jason will no doubt inspire players in Jamaica and galvanize support for us in the UK and with both the guy’s input, we hope to leave a lasting legacy from our historic qualification.”
Robinson, who was born in Leeds and won virtually every oval ball honour including being awarded the OBE for his services, commented: “We have an opportunity to make a difference, we have a duty to our heritage to make this work for every young Jamaican.
“This is an exciting journey for everyone, the achievement thus far led by Romeo has been unbelievable. Now the real difference is how we all come together to ensure we achieve the long term vision.”
Robinson added: “We have to inspire the next generation and create something for
young people to identify with, to capture the hearts and minds of every Jamaican, whether based on the island or here in the UK.
“We want to bring the carnival, colour and our culture to the World Cup 2021.”
Simmons, the founder of Rugby AM amongst his portfolio said: “I am immensely proud to take up the role alongside Jason, who is such a hero to so many.
“This project for me is more than rugby league; it is about identity, legacy and inspiring the next generation of Jamaicans.
“Thanks to the tireless work of Romeo, fellow coach Jermaine Coleman, the players and the board, this is a tremendous opportunity.
“With a minimum of three group games to be broadcast on the BBC, we have a real chance to establish rugby league as a sport the diaspora can be truly proud of.”
Simmons continued: “Jason and I will be heading up the commercial strategy and sponsorship, we are planning to bring a number of high profile businesses, brands and ambassadors to Jamaican Rugby League.”
Already, a number of new, high profile Betfred Super League players have committed to the Reggae Warriors, supplementing the work that is going on to develop the sport on the island.
Their identities, along with some ground-breaking partnerships are set to be revealed soon.