THE weekend is here. St Helens, Superleague's most successful club, will do battle against the up and coming London Skolars.Interest in the game has been very strong with Setanta announcing it will cover the game, 106FM have advertised the game all week and will interview Sean McGuire, CEO of St Helens and Hector McNeil, Chairman of the Skolars, tomorrow. The Irish Sun has ran articles all week including a focus on locally produced Skolars trialist Vinnie O?Dowd. The Dublin Metro also featured Vinnie.Leinster Rugby has also shown their strong support by using all their advertising channels to promote the game. It shows the two codes can work well together in Ireland.St Helens and Skolars fans will already be in Dublin or will be on their way. It is expected to draw a strong local crowd from RLIreland supporters and volunteers and hopefully some curious union and GAA fans. All in all it?s a game not to be missed!!!ST HELENS v LONDON SKOLARSSUN 22ND JAN, 2.30P.M, DONNYBROOKwww.skolars.com
THE mighty Rugby League legends, St. Helens, have announced their squad to play against the London Skolars in an exhibition match in Dublin at Donnybrook on Sunday 22nd January.The Saints, as they are known as, are the most successful rugby league side in England topping the Super League championship this year in the run up to the play offs.Their squad includes their 18 ? Stone Captain Paul Anderson, prop for the Great Britain and Lions team. Maurie Fa'asavalu, the hugely exciting powerhouse flanker in the Samoan Rugby Union world cup squad of 2005 is also playing.19 year old James Graham who captained the Under 17 Great British team that beat the Australians two years ago will join his team mates on that night, Ste Tyrer and Full Back/Winger Ian Hardman.Another young player of outstanding ability to watch out for is the super fast Scott Moore, already being compared to Alex Murphy at his age.This exciting line up is for the match against the London Skolars, which is being played in Donnybrook with Kick off at 2.30pm.Tickets are available on the day with under 16 year olds FREE when accompanied by an adult.(Tickets are: ?15 Stand, ?10 Ground and ?5 Concession)The St Helens Squad (in no particular order) is:1. Paul Anderson (Captain) 2. Ste Bannister 3. Liam Bland 4. Paul Clough 5. Danny Cooper 6. Kyle Eastmond 7. Maurie Fa'asavalu 8. James Graham 9. Miles Greenwood 10. Ian Hardman 11. Gaz Langley 12. Paul Leyland 13. Craig Littler 14. Dean McGilvray 15. Scott Moore 16. Matty Smith 17. Ste Tyrer 18. Ian Webster 19. Sean WeedThe London Skolars Squad (in no particular order) is: 1. Alan Barker 2. Alex Walker 3. Austen Aggrey 4. Ben Joyce 5. Bobby Wallis 6. Charlie Oyebade 7. Corey Simms 8. Dave Roberson 9. Dean Callis 10. Gareth Honor 11. Huy Le 12. Jermaine Coleman 13. Josh Garden 14. Keir Bell 15. Mat Pitman 16. Mike Castle 17. Nathan Meishke 18. Rubert Jonker 19. Tane Taitoko 20. Tim Gee 21. Todd Egan22. James Massara (assistant) 23. Daryl Fisher (assistant) 24. Jon Jackson (video) 25. Sally Evans (Physio) 26. Latham Tawhai (Coach)
TOP Australian whistler Tim Mander - who officiated at the recent NRL Grand Final between Wests Tigers and North Queensland Cowboys - is set take charge of the deciding European Nations Cup Group A game in Dublin on Saturday afternoon.
IRISH Rugby League are delighted to announce that leading engage Super League side St Helens will be playing a pre-season friendly against London Skolars in Dublin next January.
This news follows on from Ireland?s excellent victory over Scotland earlier this week in the European Nations Cup.
BEWLEY'S Hotels new team sponsor.
The Irish rugby league squad begin their final preparations for the forthcoming European Nations Cup this week with a warm up friendly match next Sunday against Cumbria at Whitehaven. This fixture will give the Irish Wolfhounds a great opportunity to reacquaint themselves with each other and with Coach Daryl Powell's game plan for the European campaign. Ireland's European Cup pool includes both Scotland and Wales. France, Georgia and Russia play in the second pool.
The Irish side have been bolstered by a new primary sponsorship deal with 'BewleysHotels.com' and with additional support from Rugby League retailers 'forty twenty' and 'Keg Watch' social awareness programme.
Irish Super League stars Barrie McDermott and Brian Carney were present at today's announcement (see photo attached) and Brian Carney stated "the Wolfhounds are delighted with this new partnership with Bewley's Hotels. Their three hotels in Dublin plus their UK hotels in Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow are an obvious base for any Irish rugby league fan."
Bewley's Managing Director, Andrew Langwaller, commented that his company's support for Irish rugby league reflects RLI's growing presence in Ireland and said "we see rugby league as a sport that is making a mark in Ireland. We'd be delighted to see Irish rugby league supporters staying with us, especially when they come to watch Ireland play."
Beaten finalists to England last year, the Irish Wolfhounds list 7 players from the Irish domestic RLI league in their European Cup squad.
The Irish are hoping that Leeds Rhinos' stars Barrie McDermott and Francis Cummins come through next weekend's Super League Final against Bradford Bulls unscathed.
Both Castleford Tigers & Dewsbury Rams also had Grand Finals yesterday so Offaly native Ged Corcoran (Dewsbury Rams) and Castleford Tigers trio Paul Handforth, Thomas Haughey and Michael Platt will also join the squad later. Powergen Cup winners Hull provide Shayne McMenemy & Paul McNicholas to the Wolfhounds.
Veteran star Terry O'Connor (Widnes Vikings) and Carl De Chenu (Sheffield Eagles) from Bray are available for this years' campaign.
British & Irish & Wigan star Brian Carney is unavailable as he will again feature in the upcoming Tri-Nations Series between the Great Britain & Irish Lions, Australia and New Zealand.
POPULAR prop Barrie McDermott, axed for this year's Challenge Cup final, will get the chance to make up for the disappointment by bringing the curtain down on his colourful domestic career in Saturday's engage Super League Grand Final.
FORMER Great Britain full-back Gary Connolly will play for Ireland in the European Nations Championship before deciding whether to hang up his boots.
RUGBY League Ireland (RLI), the governing body for rugby league in this country started the year by stating that it wanted to ?escalate the popularity of the game, increase the playing numbers and improve on 2004?. So far, this season, these aspirations have come to pass; we have witnessed a season with all these components, we have seen the game go onward in terms of growing stronger, people are starting to sit up, listen and pay attention to the voice of rugby league in Ireland.
RIVALRY at New river to celebrate 110 Year War..
WESTS Tigers winger Pat Richards is looking forward to returning to Australia at the end of his three-year deal with Wigan - as part of the Irish squad in town for the 2008 World Cup.