TORFAEN Tigers have set themselves the target of success at every age grade this season, according to senior team head coach Ian Newbury.

Newbury’s men get their Premier League campaign under way on Saturday with an opening day tussle against Cardiff Blue Dragons at Glamorgan Wanderers RFC (kick-off 2pm).

Cardiff also host the Tigers in a triple-header of junior matches from 11am on Sunday, making it an action-packed first weekend of the new term for the Torfaen club.

As Newbury points out, trophies have eluded the Tigers in recent years, and that’s something the Torfaen chief wants to change.

“We’re running all age grades again and our aim is to make the final at every level,” he said.

“We haven’t managed to get any silverware for a few years now so we want to not just reach finals but take them a step further and win.

“We’ve linked up with Warrington Wolves so we’re building on that to help grow the game in the Torfaen area and give our youngsters a pathway into the pro game and also get more Welsh players into Super League.”

The Premier League has a unique seventh entrant for the first half of the season with the Blue Dragons having enough players to field two sides.

Their development team, which will be known as Cardiff Athletic, have chosen to face each side once, but they won’t be eligible for the play-offs.

All results against them will count in the final table.

This has been done to ensure competitive games sides will fulfil, rather than playing friendly matches.

Alf Harvey, director at Cardiff Blue Dragons, said: “Last year was about putting the club back on the map and this year it’s the next step. We want to get into the players and perform well.

“We also want to have a good junior season, emulate Torfaen and get all four of our sides into finals.

“We’ve Torfaen first up and we’ve a great relationship between the two clubs.

“Cardiff Athletic is the initiative we needed to bridge the gap between under-17s and seniors.

“It’ll also give new players as adults a side to play for and increase their appetite for the sport without giving them any pressure other than to achieve.”

The only other Premier League fixture on Saturday sees reigning champions Valley Cougars begin the defence of their title at home against Rhondda Outlaws at Treharris RFC (kick-off 2.30pm).

Llanelli Knights will replace West Wales Raiders in the Premier League this year and they are expected to utilise a number of former Raiders players who have not gone on to professional level.

They kick-off their junior season on Sunday with matches at Bridgend Blue Bulls.

Meanwhile, Wales captain Craig Kopczak has announced his retirement from international rugby league.

Kopczak, 31, the current skipper of Salford Red Devils, made his Wales debut in October 2007 in Wales' 50-10 friendly win over Papua New Guinea.

He won the last of his 22 caps just over 10 years later at last year's World Cup, scoring his only international try against England in 2009.

He said: "I have had the honour of representing Wales Rugby League on 22 occasions over the last 10 years and captaining the side for 13 games, and each and every game has been an absolute privilege.

"My highlight was captaining Wales in both the 2013 and 2017 World Cups.

"This was more than I ever imagined possible after making my debut in 2007, and these memories will stay with me forever."