AMERICAN football is coming to the birthplace of rugby league.

Students at Huddersfield University have set up a gridiron team - and its first home game is coming up.

The Huddersfield Hawks are the brainchild of second-year events management student Paul Blair.

He said: "When I came here I decided to set up a team from scratch."

Paul starting recruiting players for the hard-hitting game last July.

He said: "We've got 53 players and we've been showing them the ropes."

Training sessions are held at Storthes Hall playing fields, Kirkburton, from 11am to 2pm every Sunday.

Thursday evenings are dedicated to the complex rules .

And all the homework nearly paid off with a shock victory for the Hawks in their first game.

They lost narrowly, 20-15, to Leicester University on January 28.

Paul, who plays safety as well as helping to coach the defence, said: "We used 49 players, of whom 46 had never played a game before. So to get 15 points is incredible."

And Glasgow-born Paul is hoping for even better against Sunderland University on February 18 and in the Hawks' first home game against the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, at Lockwood Park on March 25..

The 23-year-old is confident American football will catch on, even in a rugby league bastion like Huddersfield. It's a huge sport. 80m viewers worldwide saw Indianapolis Colts beats over the Chicago Bears Super Bowl XLI on Sunday.

Paul said: "It's an alternative to rugby. You make good mates and there's a great team atmosphere.

"Once you have tasted American football you will never leave it."

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