THE RFL's Neil Barrowclough previews the fourth weekend of group matches in the Northern Rail Cup.
ANNUAL Universities match played in London tonight, televised on UK Sky Sports.
THIRD Round draw for the Challenge Cup sees National League Clubs, three French Elite clubs (Toulouse, Pia, Limoux) and another Russian club (Locomotiv Moscow) enter the mix, against the victorious English amateur clubs.
CHALLENGE Cup continues this weekend with second round matches between community clubs (amateur, student and services) from England - and Russian club Strela Kazan enters the fray.
OFFICIAL previews of this weekend's Northern Rail Cup National League action from RFL's Neil Barrowclough.
FRANCE Rugby League are going into their opening Federation Shield fixture against England at Headingley Carnegie Stadium, Leeds on Sunday (Kick ?off 5.45pm) confident that they can win.French team manager Gilles Dumas speaking from the team?s headquarters in France said: ?We?re very motivated for the match against England on Sunday.?Playing against England at any time is very special and our players have set their hearts on playing well against the English this time as well as in the rest of the tournament.?Last year England beat us 22-12 at Headingley Carnegie Stadium and it was a very close encounter. This year we hope to win?.Dumas, a former French international stand off half, added: ?It?s also very exciting for the French team to play against both Samoa and Tonga in the tournament.?We?re not used to playing against either country and, because many of their players have played in Australia?s National Rugby League, it?s going to be a fruitful experience for our players. The Samoans and Tongans will be robust and play a strong game.?I believe that the Federation Shield is great preparation for all four countries as they prepare for the 2008 World Cup?It gives the Head Coaches an opportunity to assess the level of progress their teams are making as well as the players having the experience of competing against players they do not know.?The French players are really excited about taking part in the Federation Shield and they can?t wait to start playing.?Renaud Guigue (Carpentras) Olivier Charles (Villefranche) Damien Couturier (Hull KR) Teddy Sadaoui (Carcassonne) Frederic Zitter (UTC)James Wynne (Toulouse) Julien Rinaldi (Harlequins) J?r?me Guisset (Catalans, captain) David Berthezene (Catalans) Adel Fellous (Catalans) Olivier Elima (Wakefield) Aurelien Cologni (Lezignan) Gregory Mounis (Catalans) Jamil Fakir (Catalans) S?bastien Raguin (Catalans) Jean-Christophe Borlin (St Gaudens)Maxime Gr?s?que (Pia) Matthieu Griffi (Catalans) Coach: John MonieSource: www.therfl.co.uk
SEVEN players from Leeds Rhinos have been included in the England team to face France at Headingley Carnegie Stadium on Sunday (Kick off 5.45pm).
TWO Harlequins RL stars, Solomon Haumono and Tyrone Smith, are included in the Tongan team to face Samoa in the opening match of Rugby League?s newest international competition, the Federation Shield, at Headingley Carnegie Stadium, Leeds on Sunday (Kick off 3.45pm).
HARLEQUINS RL loose forward Rob Purdham will captain England in the Federation Shield, which gets under way in Leeds on Sunday.