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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 January 2006, 11:54 GMT
Crusaders start life on the road
Celtic Crusaders chief executive Chris O'Callaghan
I've always liked starting any campaign by playing away, it welds the team together
Crusaders chief executive Chris O'Callaghan
National League newcomers Celtic Crusaders will play their first three matches away from home after agreeing to switch their opening fixture.

The new Welsh professional outfit will kick off their Northern Rail Cup campaign at Hemel Hempstead Stags on Sunday, 12 February.

That is followed by trips to London Skolars and St Albans Centurions.

Home fans have to wait until 5 March to see their side in action at Bridgend's Brewery Field against the Skolars.

Crusaders chief executive Chris O'Callaghan said: "I've agreed to this change at the request of the Stags.

"I've always liked starting any campaign by playing away, it welds the team together.

"The coaches now have three away games to get their act together and get their team tight as a drum."

The Crusaders squad is almost complete for the coming season, with a list drawn mainly from domestic sides Bridgend Blues Bulls and Aberavon Fighting Irish.

But five recruits from Australia - Damien Quinn, Jace Van Dijk, Tony Duggan, Matt Jobson and Michael Ryan - bring experience of top level rugby league from down under.

Duggan and Ryan have been on the books of Brisbane Broncos, while Jobson played four times last season for NRL winners Wests Tigers.

Also on the roster is Ireland star Carl De Chenu, who joins from Sheffield Eagles, Scot David Simm, and Cardiff Demons' Andre Boon - who played union for Northland Taniwha before settling in Wales.

One player who may also join the Crusaders is Carcassone's Gareth Dean, who is believed to have held talks with the Welsh club.

Celtic Crusaders 2006 Fixture List:

Northern Rail Cup group stage:
Sunday 12 February - Hemel Hempstead Stags (a) 2:30pm
Sunday 19 February - London Skolars (a) 3pm
Sunday 26 February - St Albans Centurions (a) 2:30pm
Sunday 05 March - London Skolars (h) 3pm
Sunday 19 March - Hemel Hempstead Stags (h) 3pm
Sunday 26 March - St Albans Centurions (h) 3pm

Powergen Challenge Cup:
Sunday 12 March - Third round
Sunday 02 April - Fourth round
Sunday 21 May - Fifth round
Sunday 04 June - Quarter-finals
Sunday 30 July - Semi-finals
Saturday 26 August - Powergen Challenge Cup final

LHF Healthplan National League Two:
Sunday 09 April - Workington Town (a) 3pm
Friday 14 April - London Skolars (h) 6pm
Monday 17 April - Sheffield Eagles (a) 12pm
Sunday 30 April - Barrow Raiders (a) 3pm
Sunday 07 May - Hunslet Hawks (h) 3pm
Sunday 14 May - Keighley Cougars (a) 3pm
Sunday 21 May - Blackpool Panthers (h) 3pm
Sunday 28 May - Dewsbury Rams (a) 3pm
Sunday 04 June - Keighley Cougars (h) 3pm
Sunday 11 June - Swinton Lions (a) 3pm
Sunday 18 June - Sheffield Eagles (h) 3pm
Sunday 25 June - London Skolars (a) 3pm
Sunday 02 July - Swinton Lions (h) 3pm
Sunday 09 July - Hunslet Hawks (a) 3pm
Sunday 16 July - Barrow Raiders (h) 3pm
Sunday 23 July - Blackpool Panthers (a) 3pm
Sunday 30 July - Dewsbury Rams (h) 3pm
Sunday 06 August - Gateshead Thunder (h) 3pm
Sunday 13 August - Featherstone Rovers (a) 3pm
Sunday 20 August - Workington Town (h) 3pm
Sunday 03 September - Gateshead Thunder (a) 3pm
Sunday 10 September - Featherstone Rovers (h) 3pm
Sunday 17 September - First round of the play-offs

Crusaders squad:
Damien Quinn (Wynnum Seagulls)
Jace Van Dijk (Wynnum Seagulls)
Tony Duggan (Toowoomba Clydesdales)
Matt Jobson (Wests Tigers)
Michael Ryan (Toowoomba Clydesdales; Brisbane Broncos)
David Owen (Bridgend Blue Bulls)
Paul Morgan (Bridgend Blue Bulls; Wales RL)
Grant Epton (Bridgend Blue Bulls; Wales A)
Lenny Woodard (Bridgend Blue Bulls; Wales RL)
Karl Hockin (Bridgend Blue Bulls; Wales RL)
Carl Ellis (Bridgend Blue Bulls; Wales A)
Lloyd O'Connor (Bridgend Blue Bulls; Wales A)
Marcus Sainsbury (Bridgend Blue Bulls; Wales A)
Hywel Davies (Bridgend Blue Bulls)
Carl De Chenu (Sheffield Eagles; Ireland RL)
Mark Burke (Aberavon Fighting Irish; Wales A)
Scott O'Kelly (Aberavon Fighting Irish; Wales A)
Dean Scully (Aberavon Fighting Irish; Wales A)
Lee Jones (Aberavon Fighting Irish)
Phil Cushion (Aberavon Fighting Irish)
David Simm (Edinburgh Eagles; Scotland RL)
Neil Davies (Aberavon Fighting Irish; Wales RL)
Geraint Davies (Aberavon Fighting Irish; Wales Students)
Gareth Lewis (Aberavon Fighting Irish)
Andre Boon (Cardiff Demons)

Coach: John Dixon.
Assistant coach: Kevin Ellis.
Fitness coach: Anthony Seibold.

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