Dino Radice is looking forward to bonding, beers and bus journeys when Blackburn take part in the Papa John’s Cup.

The National competition begins next month with Burn drawn in the same group as York, Harrogate and Driffield.

While a trip to Twickenham in the ultimate goal for teams taking part, Radice is just looking forward to playing new teams from different divisions.

It is a far cry from 12 months ago when Burn were paired with clubs from their own division - which prompted Radice to withdraw from the competition.

“The whole point of a national competition is the fact that you get to travel to new places and play new teams,” he said.

“Being drawn against teams you had already played that season didn’t really seem right, it didn’t appeal to us. That is why we opted to pull out.

“This year though, we are really looking forward to it.”

Blackburn lost 25-24 at home against Manchester on Saturday after being 22-0 at one stage.

Jake Foster (two), Josh Jarrold and Sammy Russell scored tries, while Dan Glasse kicked two conversions.

But mistakes were evident again and they gave too many penalties away, while also not getting the rub of the green from the referee as they lost two successive home matches for the first time since October 2019.

They don’t play this Saturday before they complete their Regional One North West League campaign at Northwich on Saturday, April 6. Attentions then turn to the cup.

They begin with a home game with York on April 13 with trips to Harrogate and Driffield to follow on the next two consecutive Saturdays.

Blackburn have enjoyed recent experiences of winning silverware, beating Firwood Waterloo last season to lift the Lancashire Cup.

But while a run in the Papa John’s Trophy would appeal, Radice says this is more about bringing players from different sections of the club together.

“It won’t be our strongest team we will be putting out, far from it,” said Radice. “We’ll take it seriously but it will be up to the lads who are available if they want to play.

“No doubt there will be some who will be working when normally, if it was a league game, they would be able.

“But we are looking forward to it - especially the away trips.

“It will be a mixture of first team, seconds and Colts players. While they all know each other and generally training together, playing together is a bit different.

“So this will be a chance to jump on a bus have a few beers and do a bit of bonding.”

Group winners will go through to the knockout stages and move a step closer to a trip to Twickenham.

“To be honest, I don’t know the ins and outs of the competition and how many knockout rounds there are,” added Radice. “But who knows, we do well and we might find ourselves a couple of wins away from Twickenham!”