Champions!

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Rugby Lions have won the SSE National 3 Midlands league title and with it promotion back to play in National 2 North or South next season.

Immediately after his side beat second-placed Dudley Kingswinford in front of a bumper crowd of more than 700 on Saturday, Head Coach Neil Back said: “This was a fitting game for the league to be decided on.

“When the true story of this season at Rugby Lions is told, people will realise what a great achievement this has been this season.

“We had four targets and two have been attained, promotion and winning the league.

“We have two left to achieve, completing the league unbeaten and winning the Warwickshire Cup.”

Defence coach Mark Ellis added: “It was pleasing the title was won in such a good game.

“Amongst all the players, I would like to say how well Nick Walton has done, a no. 8 with us in previous seasons who has turned himself into a prop and the level of his performance today shows what a very good player he can become.”

Lions skipper Andy Vilk said, “This has been a huge performance by the players and management but it’s not finished yet as we want to finish the season unbeaten for ourselves and as a thank you to the supporters.”

Player and backs coach Ben Gollings, another key figure in the new-look side, said: “This was a good match against a very good side and the result of the game and the fact it wins us the league is what everyone at the club has worked very hard to achieve.”

Finally, Lions owner Mike Aland called it: “A fantastic spectacle of rugby against the side second in the league and this tight game was good for the game of rugby.”

He added: “We now want to finish the season unbeaten after all the hard work of Neil Back supported by Ben Gollings, Andy Key and all the management, the players and the whole club.

“This has been a fantastic season and now we’re looking forward to next season.”

The great support of the fans both home and away has also been a huge part of helping Rugby achieve what they have this season and they have two league games left to enjoy their season’s success.

First they go to Broadstreet on April 14 and then they return to Webb Ellis Road on April 21 against Hinckley.

And the season ends back at Broadstreet with the Warwickshire Cup Final against Sutton Coldfield on April 29.

n How Lions clinched the title: match report on page 95. Plus a full round-up from the rest of the district’s clubs.