Recently, Rugby League has attempted to find new ground in both Britain and the rest of the world. Newcastle, Liverpool, Coventry, Belgrade and Toronto are just some of the areas the sport has been attempting to grow in. But now, on the back of Catalans Dragons' Challenge Cup success in 2018, Barcelona is to be the next city where Rugby League tries its hand in a country that has played host to just one Super League match in the past.

Spanish away day

Catalans, a side based 120 miles away from the Nou Camp, were invited to play on the hallowed turf by the 25-time La Liga champions following their success in the 2018 Challenge Cup.

It was the first time the prestigious trophy had left British shores in its 102-year history, with the Dragons parading the cup around the Nou Camp's field in front of nearly 100,000 fans of Barca's home clash with Girona in late September. That alone was impressive exposure for the Catalans, the Challenge Cup and Rugby League as a whole, but the invitation to actually play a Super League game there in 2019 will knock this out of the park.

Barcelona has seen RL before

Barcelona itself has witnessed a Rugby League game before; Warrington Wolves were the visitors to the city's Olympic Stadium in 2009 for what was the first-ever Super League game played in Spain. That day, 18,150 spectators turned up for what resulted in a 12-24 defeat for the Dragons.

And, now Wigan are set to be the second away side to play in the Catalonian capital.

Taking the match to the biggest stadium in Europe, with a capacity of 99,354, is a massive gamble for the French Rugby League side - the population of Perpignan is a mere 121,000 whilst the Stade Gilbert Brutus ground holds just 13,000. But, that doesn't mean getting a good crowd is impossible.

The 76,125-capacity Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado which hosted an England-New Zealand test earlier in the year, attracted 19,320 fans in a state and country where Rugby League is still very much on the backburner.

Don't undersell it

Though Spain is hardly a hotbed of Rugby League, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu hopes the fixture will match the interest generated when they hosted the final of French Rugby Union's Top 14 competition - a match that attracted a crowd of 99,000.

Spain is far from a Rugby Union breeding ground either, but the city embraced the one-off fixture and there is no reason why, if advertised properly, the Rugby League tie cannot do the same.

Catalans have probably chosen the best team to travel to Barcelona too; Wigan took a good few thousand fans to St George Illawarra Dragons' WIN Stadium in Wollongong, Australia in early February 2018. They, along with Hull FC whom Wigan played in this historic clash, travel well and thousands are expected to make the journey to the wonderful Spanish city for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see their team play at one of the most iconic football grounds.

This is excellent exposure for the game; Catalans, on the back of a superb cup victory, are riding on a wave of enthusiasm and Barcelona have tagged onto that.

The links between the Pyrénées-Orientales in southern France - where Perpignan and the Dragons are located - and the region of Catalonia in Spain are substantial; in fact, the Pyrénées-Orientales is known as Northern Catalonia and many parts speak and easily understand the Catalan language.

RL to follow suit?

The final of Rugby Union's top 14 in 2016 saw Racing Metro and Toulon sell out the Nou Camp. Racing had a 1,000km journey from Paris, whilst Toulon to Barcelona is 600km. Perpignan to Barcelona is under 200km with a high-speed rail line linking the two cities - Catalans fans have an easier journey than the Rugby Union sides that made the trip.

Spanish people, curious about a sport that they don't usually get to see in real life, embraced the top 14 final.

Both Catalans and Wigan - and the Super League and RFL as a whole - need to create the same spark for when Rugby League hits the Nou Camp in May 2019. Sell the game to the Spanish and see the fixture thrive.