FOUR tries from Moscow Dynamos centre Denis Korolev helped Russia ease to a 40-14 victory in The Hague, as the first steps were taken on the road to the 2008 World Cup in Australia.A big, athletic Russian outfit had too much power for the gallant Dutch, who had the honour of scoring the competition's first try through Coventry Bears second rower James Howitt in the sixth minute of an entertaining clash.Korolev claimed his first touchdown soon after and the Russians swept into a lead they were not to relinquish on the next set when fellow centre Sergey Dobrynin broke the cover, Artem Grigoryan adding the first of his four conversions.The other two nations in the European qualifying group, Serbia and Georgia, meet in the next match in Belgrade on May 13.HOLLAND - Tries: Howitt (6, 38), de Jager (79); Goal: de JagerRUSSIA - Tries: Korolev (10, 22, 30, 50), Dobrynin (12), Bychkov (25), Koltykhov (43, 61); Goals: Grigoryan 4Half time: 10-26 Source: www.sportinglife.com
AUSTRALIA'S front row stocks have been dealt a blow with Kangaroos hopeful Ben Ross suffering a potentially season-ending knee injury during Cronulla's emphatic 40-12 NRL victory over Penrith at CUA Stadium last night.
HULL captain Richard Swain is set to put off retirement and play another season in the English Super League following the arrival of new head coach Peter Sharp, throwing doubt over Canberra hooker Simon Woolford's rumoured move to Hull.
HENRY Paul has agreed a two and a half year deal with Harlequins RL after after being released from his contract with Gloucester RU.
BRADFORD will aim to give Steve McNamara a winning home debut as head coach and ruin former assistant Mick Potter?s return to Odsal when the Bulls take on Catalans Dragons on Friday.
ST Helens are looking to maintain their 100% record at the expense of Wakefield - and go six points clear of Leeds - but coach Daniel Anderson does not expect their run to last.
DUAL international Brad Thorn has been cleared to make his injury comeback for Brisbane against the Canberra Raiders in the NRL match at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
PENRITH will be hoping for a happy homecoming when it hosts Cronulla tonight in the opening game of round eight of the NRL season.
NEW Zealand rugby league coach Brian McClennan says he knows nothing of rumours injured Wests Tigers five-eighth Benji Marshall could be available for next week's Test against Australia.
SO which genuine rookies have been the most impressive thus far in 2006? NSC takes a look at the Top 5 Genuine Rookies (5 career games or less entering 2006) of the season so far and lists their LPR Total & Average for 2006.
THINGS don?t get any easier as I sharpen up the HB pencil for this round?s picks. I banged out a regulation 5 from 7 last week with the upset out at Caltex Field and my overconfidence in Canterbury proving to be my downfall.
THE opening match on the road to the southern hemisphere for the 2008 Rugby League World Cup takes place this Friday, 28th April, when Holland face Russia in Den Haag in the first tie of the ?European Preliminary Qualifying Tournament?. Both nations have announced their opening squads for the clash with the hosts, who have included five new caps in their initial 17, confident of putting up a spirited show against their more experienced opponents.Nederland Squad: 1. Rudy Stanford Smyth - Rugby Sparta - Caps 52. Jammie Groeneweg - Hoek van Holland -13. Joel Barrett - Sheffield Hallam - 34. Ronald v / d Broek ? Haagsche - 45. Kees Foxon - Nottingham Outlaws - 36. Jorik Moree ? Rotterdam - 57. Aaron de Jagger - Huddersfield Underbank Rangers (Capt) - 38. Phil Parkinson - Nottingham Outlaws - 29. Chris Hodgett - Hemel Stags - 010. Bevan Williamson ? Rotterdam - 511. James Howitt - Coventry Bears - 112. Jason Brygroms - Rotterdam - 013. Raymond den Engelsman - Hoek van Holland - 214. Johnny Qua - Rotterdam - 515. Sjorte Neiboer - WC Haaglanden - 016. Pieter v / d Hast - WC Haaglanden - 017. Benjamin Blom - Sassenheim - 0Plus three players to be selected from the game between the Nederland Tasman (Dutch development team) and Bamber Bridge to come into the senior squadRussian Squad:MANAGEMENT:Klebanov EvgenyOsipov OlegCherenkov SergeyDrynkov IgorBardeev AlexanderPLAYERS:Dumalkin AndreyNechaev ViktorOvchinnikov RomanBaskakov ValentinGvozdev YanGrigoryan ArtemDobrynin SergeyZagoskin NikolayKorolev DenisVinogradov GeorgyKoltykhov AndreyFedchuk VadimIliassov RobertSafiullin AdelSmirnov OlegVlasyuk VladimirOsoskov EduardSokolov OlegBychkov SergeyKonstantinov SergeyVeteran Robert Iliassov commented, "We?ll be preparing for each match of the World Cup as if it is the most important match in our life."
PAUL Bowman has re-signed with the North Queensland Cowboys for another season ? but retired from representative rugby league. Off contract at the end of the year, the classy centre will stay on at Townsville for the 2007 NRL season but ruled out adding to his 12 Queensland Origin jerseys.
FOUR clubs have been fined by the NRL for minor salary cap infringements with St George Illawarra the most heavily penalised.
ROOSTERS fullback Anthony Minichiello has been ruled out of Saturday night's NRL match against North Queensland in Townsville with a hamstring strain.