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St Albans has a week before the London Broncos stampede into town for their historic friendly against a London Barbarians XIII at Woollams. The game , next Thursday 12 February at 7.30pm, is certain to attract the biggest crowd ever for a rugby league match in St Albans and probably the biggest in Hertfordshire since Australia thrashed Samoa in the World Cup quarter-final at Watford in 2000.
"Ticket sales are going well, especially for the VIP section, which enables fans to enjoy Woollams' superb bar facilities, watch the game from the balcony and mingle with the players afterwards," said Centurions sales manager Jayne Hale. "We are also attracting a lot of interest for the business reception before the game, with a lot of new companies wanting to come and see what the Centurions and Rugby League is all about."
London Broncos are expected to bring a star-studded team to St Albans for their first appearance in the city, following the Centurions hosting the Broncos v St Helens academy fixture last season at Woollams. Among the faces familiar to TV followers of Super League include Australian international Jim Dymock, USA cap Steele Retchless and the competition's top try-scorer last season, Dennis 'The Man' Moran. There will also be some top class English talent on show with England internationals Francis Stephenson, Paul Sykes and Rob Purdham being joined by nine new English signings for the Brentford-based club. The Broncos, who have spent two months preparing for the season in Dubai, warm up for the clash with a daunting task: Wigan away on Sunday in Terry O'Connor's Testimonial.
The Barbarians, drawn from the best players at National League 3 clubs St Albans, Hemel and South London together with London Skolars of NL2, train together for the first time on Saturday, although the Centurions, under Barbarians coach Peter Tonkin, have been training since November, with a break for the festive period.
The curtain-raiser on Thursday will see what the best local 12-year-olds have to offer as the Year 8 Powergen Champions Schools national cup competition reaches the regional final stage, with Cavendish School of Watford in action - this game kicks off at 6pm.
Entry to Woollams on Thursday night is ?4 in advance, ?5 on the gate and ?7 for the VIP bar tickets. Advance tickets are still available from the Centurions Box Office on 01438 351847 or enquires at [email protected]