Harrison fumes as the RFL scrap under 23s

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Halifax coach Karl Harrison has slammed the Rugby Football League’s 11th-hour decision to scrap the Championship’s under 23 competition for 2013.

Clubs had originally been told that there would be both under 23 and under 19 leagues next year, with Fax one of several clubs who recruited staff and players for both.

But an email sent out by the Rugby Football League last weekend informed clubs there will now only be one lower grade competition, for under 20s, with teams only permitted two over-age players in their matchday 17.

That has left Harrison - and several rival bosses - in the position of having nowhere to play contracted players.

The Shay boss cited Iain Davies, Conor Wood, Callum Casey and Miles Fairbank, the son of former GB teammate and Fax under 23s coach Karl, as being among the players who could be affected. Fairbank is apparently ineligible for the under 20s by a single day.

“I just think it’s a ridiculous situation,” said the former Great Britain prop.

“We were told there would be a 23s and a 19s and we have recruited on that basis.

“Now it looks like it is changing at the last minute, it’s pathetic and it’s unfair on the players who are going to be affected.

“Where are those players going to play? They can’t play for us, Super League is only running under 19s, what are they meant to do?

“It’s not just the fault of the RFL, the Championship clubs are at fault; as far as I am aware there was only us, Featherstone, Leigh and Keighley who committed to the 23s, although Sheffield and Oldham were possibilities.”

Harrison was adamant that he would not have made it as a professional if he had been judged at the same stage of his career.

And he believes he would not have been the only big name to have been lost to the game.

“I wouldn’t have come through if they had judged me at 20, I matured later,” said the former Fax skipper.

“Look at Jamie Peacock; I was at Bradford when he was in the juniors and if we had been forced to make a call on Jamie Peacock at 20 we would have cut him.

“You only have to see what a fantastic player he has been for Bradford, Leeds and England, to see how ridiculous it is.”