GREAT Britain coach Brian Noble has named his side for the first Tri-Nations hit-out against New Zealand in Christchurch this Saturday.
JOHNATHAN Thurston is expected to be replaced by Ben Hornby at halfback for Australia's Tri-Nations match against Great Britain on Saturday week.
LEE Briers is back from Australia ready to lead Wales on Sunday 29th October when they face Scotland at the Brewery Field in their first Rugby League World Cup qualifying match.
WALES biggest success story of 2006 has been Celtic Crusaders. In their first season, they were just a drop-goal away from the National League Two play-off final after losing 26-27 to Swinton Lions here at the Brewery Field in one the most dramatic games in our sport?s history.
BRADFORD Bulls and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats have agreed a lucrative deal that will take New Zealand Test forward David Solomona to Odsal.
IRELAND 50 (Cantillon 2, Littler 2, Dodd 3, Bridge 2 tries, Bridge 7 goals) Russia 12 (Baskakov, Iliassov, Ovchinnikov tries). Referee: P Bentham (England) Man of Match: Chris Bridge. Played at Sili Stadium, Moscow.
KIWIS coach Brian McClennan has made several changes to his side for Saturday?s Test Match against Great Britain in Christchurch.
WALES' assistant coach Kevin Ellis believes that Wales should have more matches in 2007 to help celebrate the centenary of rugby league in the principality.
Wales are expected to field Super League stars Iestyn Harris and Lee Briers when they face Scotland at the Brewery Field this Sunday in their first match of the 2008 World Cup qualifying campaign (kick-off 3pm), but this is the only game that Wales will play this year.
In 2007, they also currently only have one match planned - the return leg against Scotland - but Ellis believes more international matches should be played.
"For a start, we need to play against New Zealand next year," said Ellis. "When we beat them 9-8 on New Years Day 1908 in Aberdare, it was the first rugby league international ever in the world. When they tour next autumn, we should face them down here in Wales to celebrate. That would be icing on the cake in a potentially great centenary year for Welsh Rugby League should we qualify for the World Cup."
Wales' best ever year of rugby league was in 1995, where Ellis along with players like Allan Bateman, Keiron Cunningham, Jonathan Davies, John Devereux, Scott Gibbs, Mark Jones, Paul Moriarty, Rowland Philips, Scott Quinnell, Anthony Sullivan, Dai Young, a youthful Iestyn Harris and current Wales coach Martin Hall won the European Championship, reached the semi-finals of the World Cup and won BBC Wales' Team of the Year award. Including the two-match tour of the USA, Wales played seven games that year.
"We need more games on a regular basis like we did 11 years ago," said Ellis. "It's the only way we can gel as a team. England are having four games this month in this new Federation Shield. We need something like that to grow as a side to help us qualify and then prepare for the World Cup Finals in Australia in 2008."
RUGBY League continues to grow in Estonia through the presence of the Tallinn Tigers who are attracting increasing numbers of juniors to the sport.
THE continuing success of rugby league on television in Melbourne is embarrassing for Channel Nine ? or it ought to be.
TONGA and Fiji have both qualified for the 2008 rugby league World Cup after Tonga overcame Samoa 18-10 in the final match of the Oceania group at Headingley.
FEDERATION Shield matches from Headingley, 22nd October 2006.TongaFetuli Talanoa, ?Etuate (Tonga) Uaisele, Andrew Emilio, Lelea Paea, Tyrone Smith, (Ali) Feleti Mateo, Joel Taufa?ao, Fuifui Moimoi, Eliakim Uasi, Solomon Haumono, Lopini Paea, Richard Fa?aoso, William Topou. Interchange: Mickey Paea, Taniela Tuiaki, Sam Moa, Makasini Richter. SamoaTangi Ropati, Malofou Solomona, Miguel Start, George Carmont, Smith Samau, Rota Setu, Channarith Ly, Eward (Hutch) Maiava, Albert Talapeau, Shannon Stowers, Frank Winterstein, Gray Viane, McConkie Tauasa. Interchange: Chris Vaefaga, Peewee Moke, Junior Tia Kirifi, Conrad Ta?akimoeaka.Tonga 18 (Tuiaki, Haumono, Richter tries, Taufa?ao 3 goals) Samoa 10 (Ta?akimoeaka, Solomona tries, Ropati goal). Referee: S Ganson (England). Man of Match: Solomon Haumono.EnglandLee Smith, Mark Calderwood, Richard Whiting, Ashley Gibson, Danny Williams, Rob Purdham, Jamie Rooney, Ewan Dowes, Matt Diskin, Eorl Crabtree, Lee Radford, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Brett Ferres. Interchange: Chris Ashton, Nick Scruton, Matt Cook, Ryan Bailey. FranceRenaud Guigue, Olivier Charles, Damien Couturier, Teddy Sadaoui, Frederic Zitter, James Wynne, Julien Rinaldi, J?r?me Guisset, David Berthezene, Adel Fellous, Olivier Elima, Aurelien Cologni, Gregory Mounis. Interchange: Jamil Fakir, Jean-Christophe Borlin, S?bastien Raguin, Maxime Gr?s?que.England 26 (Smith, Calderwood 2, Rooney, Jones-Buchanan tries, Rooney 3 goals) France 10 (Wynne, Elima tries, Greseque goal). Referee: K Kirkpatrick (England). Man of Match: Jamie Rooney.Crowd (double header): 5,547.
FOLLOWING the Tonga v Samoa match held today at Headingley, Leeds, the final standings after the World Cup qualifiers in the Pacific Group are as follows:
FORMER Leeds Rhinos winger Mark Calderwood made a triumphant return to Headingley with a two-try display to help England to victory in their opening Federation Shield match.The Wigan Warriors flier, who scored more than 100 tries in his time at the Rhinos, made up for the disappointment of missing out on a place in Great Britain?s Gillette Tri-Nations squad by touching down in each half as England made light work of the Catalans Dragons-dominated French team.While Calderwood provided the finishing touches, England?s architect was Wakefield Trinity WIldcats? Jamie Rooney, who scored one try and set up two others, despite playing out of position at scrum-half.Paul Cullen?s team, with an average age of just 22, made the best possible start, with full-back Lee Smith taking Rooney?s pass and cutting through a yawning gap in the French defence after only 102 seconds.Rooney kicked the first of three goals and Smith then made a try for Calderwood, haring 60 metres into space after picking up a loose ball near his own line.But the French regrouped and hit back just before half-time when debutant Australian stand-off James Wynne, who qualifies through residency, went over from dummy half after centre Teddy Saddaoui had been brought down short of the line.Substitute Maxime Greseque added the goal to make it 10-6 at the break but it was largely one-way traffic in the second half as England and Rooney in particular made their class tell.Rooney jinked his way over from first receiver within three minutes of the re-start and second rower Jamie Jones-Buchanan took Matt Diskin?s pass to crash over on 52 minutes.And, as France continued to struggle in the greasy conditions, Rooney then produced a 60-metre kick with uncanny accuracy to gift Calderwood his second try.At least the French had the consolation of ending the match on a high, with Wakefield forward Olivier Elima taking Aurelien Cologni?s pass to grab a second try.Federation Shield TableEngland 2pts +16Tonga 2pts +8Samoa 0pts -8France 0pts -16Next matches:England v Tonga 29.10 at Twickenham Stoop, LondonFrance v Samoa 29.10 at Benichou Stadium, Colomiers Source: superleague.co.uk
MEANWHILE, Tonga became the first team to qualify for the World Cup after overcoming Samoa 18-10 in the final match of the Pacific group.