01/22/2018 13:47 EST | Updated 01/22/2018 15:02 EST

Toronto Wolfpack to play Bradford Bulls in new Transatlantic Challenge

TORONTO — The Toronto Wolfpack will take on the Bradford Bulls on Friday to kick off what is being dubbed Transatlantic Challenge.

The pre-season series will see the two rugby league teams play in England and North America in 2018 and 2019.

The Bulls will host the Wolfpack at the Provident Stadium on Friday with the Transatlantic Trophy UK on the line. The second leg of the challenge will be in January 2019, likely somewhere in the U.S. as rugby league looks to showcase the game in North America.

Wolfpack director of rugby Brian Noble played at and coached Bradford.

The series is part of what is billed as a new "strategic alliance" between the two teams.

The relationship will allow Wolfpack players to see playing time with Bradford, as well as an exchange of marketing and commercial knowledge.

The Wolfpack, rugby's first transatlantic team, will compete in the second-tier Championship this season after winning the 2017 Kingstone Press League 1 in their inaugural year.

The Bulls are going in the other direction.

The four-time Super League champions, who started the season with a 12-point deduction for financial problems, were relegated from the Championship in 2017.

Toronto opens the regular season Feb. 4 at Leigh Centurions.