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#2946230 Italy Rugby League leads major development activity

Posted by League Express on 18 June 2014 - 09:26 AM

Italy Rugby League leads major development activity

The Italian segment of the joint RLEF-EU Leadership Devolution Project has concluded after a packed four days of activity in Piacenza.
Three other nations – Ireland, Greece and Hungary – joined the hosts to receive tutor training and two level one courses in match officiating and coaching.
Greece’s Aris-Konstantinos Dardamanis said: “The match officials course was very well organized and taught me a lot in a very short time,” while his Hungarian counterpart Balint Mezes enthused: “The course was a good experience; as a young  rugby league nation we now have the tools to develop rugby league back home.  We now go back with the confidence that we can train our own match officials.”
Ireland sent head match official Jason Craughwell to Italy in support of FIRL match officials chief Guido Bonnatti and RLEF match official development squad members Danny McNeice from England and Serbia’s Radoslav Novakovic.
“We had a great bunch of people with different experiences in rugby league,” said Craughwell. “But all of them had one thing in common which was they wanted to develop and improve as match officials.”
On the coaching side, Italy’s Chris De Meyer joined the programme supporting 2013 RLEF course graduate Tiziano Franchini.
“It was great to see the different cultures and input from everyone involved,” Franchini commented. “Technically I have improved my knowledge and understanding of what is needed when coaching coaches.  This opportunity will allow FIRL to continue the progress we have made over the last three years.  These are exciting times!”
Former GB international Des Foy will play a leading role in RL Ireland’s new plan to re-focus on the domestic game.
“It was great to see the newer nations really embrace rugby league and its values,” the ex-Widnes, Oldham and Huddersfield player - who toured down under in 1984 - noted. “This course has given us the chance to speak about our local situations and to help each other develop into strong rugby league nations.”
Hungary’s coach tutor-candidates will next lead a Level 1 coaching course on home soil, while Greece will undertake match official activity there in November.
The delegates for the match officials seminar were: Danny McNeice, Rale Novakovic (RLEF), Jason Craughwell (RLI), Aris-Konstantinos Dardamanis,  George Stilianos, Nikolaos Kostakis (HFRL), Jeno Juhasz, Zsolt Lukacs (HRLF),  Guido Bonnatti and Ciprian Gajulete (FIRL).
The delegates for the coaching seminar were: Martin Crick (RLEF), Michael Aughey, Desmond Foy (RLI), Anastasios Pantazidis, Dimitrios Minadakis, Matthew-Alan Ashill (HFRL), Balint Mezes, Katalin Huszti, Istvan Toth, Gyula Herpai (HRLF), Chris DeMeyer, Kelly Rolleston and Tiziano Franchini (FIRL).




#2946229 Rugby League receives highest government classification in Ukraine

Posted by League Express on 18 June 2014 - 09:25 AM

Rugby League receives highest government classification in Ukraine

Rugby league now has: “All the elements to make a massive leap forward in Ukraine,” according to Ukrainian Rugby League Federation (UFRL) president Artur Martyrosyan.
The positive noises are the result of the sport’s inclusion in the ‘Unified Sports Classification’ list controlled by the ministry of sport, and follow January’s permission for rugby league to form part of the government sport school curriculum.  
“It’s a very significant success for rugby league,” continued Martyrosyan. “We now have every element of a major national sport and we can expect a big leap in participation throughout the country.”
“This is one of the most important things that has happened to the UFRL: we received official recognition in 2012, created and lodged a study programme in 2013 and now have the classification.”
It means that players and coaches will be recognised for their achievements with five distinctions that define their aptitude and experience which are also linked to pay-scales in the sports industry, making involvement in rugby league a more attractive proposition.
The UFRL will now begin a project to invite potential leaders from ten target cities - Kiev, Lviv, Rivne, Khmel`nyc`kyy, Uzhgorod, Irpin, Dnipropetrovs`k, Odessa, Mikolaiv and Dneip  - to a series of education seminars in Kharkov.
They will deliver match official and coach education programmes and begin local development at junior and senior level.
The next phase of the project will be for the current second division clubs to become part of an expanded first division while the new cities form either regional competitions or a national second division.
At the end of 2014 the UFRL, which received government funding last year for the first time, will submit its annual dossier to the sports ministry in a bid to increase its funding in line with its expanded operations and, crucially, its official status.
Next week sees the recommencement of the Ukrainian championship with Crimean clubs Simferopol and Sevastopol travelling to Krivoy Rog.




#2943330 Italy Rugby League Name Train-On Squad

Posted by League Express on 12 June 2014 - 08:54 AM

Italy, under coach Paul Broadbent, have named a 39-man train-on squad for their opening game in European Championship B against Ukraine, on 5th July in Gemona.

 

It is the first time that rugby league has been taken to the area and FIRL are hoping to put on a good show for the locals in the region.

 

The squad, principally made up of domestic-based players, includes full back Fabrizio Ciaurro - the Euro Shield player of the tournament last year - and back rower Gioele Celerino, who both played against England in last autumn’s RLWC warm up game, dramatically won by the Italians, along with Warrington Wolves youngster James Saltonstall.

 

Assistant coach Kelly Rolleston said: “This year’s European Championship gives us a chance to continue the good work done here over the last few years.”  

 

“We expect a very competitive tournament with newcomers Ukraine showing some excellent form in their opening matches with Russia and Serbia.  Our aim is to blood more young players into our squad and with some new U18 activity we hope to bring our best young players up to an international standard.”

 

This weekend sees the start of the 2014 Serie A competition with four games taking place, alongside the launch pf the U18s fixtures.

 

In addition, FIRL are also running Level 1 coaching and match officials courses in Piacenza.

 

ITALY TRAIN-ON SQUAD

 

Simone Boscolo, Gialuca Ferro, Alden Filipovic, Edoardo Paluello, Giacomo Simioni (Arieti Este), Ray Nasso,  Romain Pavoni (Avignon XIII), Remi Fontana (Carpentras), Nicola Facco,  Nicola Reffo (Grifons Padova), Christophe Calegari  (Lezignan Corbieres), Pierangelo Ceretti, Cosimo Corvino, Sebastian Gurra, Thomas Piscitelli,  (Lions Brescia), Gioele Celerino, Chris De Meyer, Gert Peens, Riccardo Scandurra, (NW Roosters), Mauro Pettenello (Padova 555), Jonathon Marcinczak (Racing Club Albi), Joel Miranda (Realmont), Chris Vitalini (South Wales Scorpions), Fabrizio Ciaurro, Michele Verardi (Tirreno Sharks), Matthew Bradley (University of Gloucestershire All Golds), James Saltonstall (Warrington Wolves), Nourou Bance, Ivan Barani, Fabio Berzieri, Riccardo Dodi, Giovanni Franchi, Octavian Ilinca, Drake Muyodi, Fabio Nannini, Daniel Stead, (XIII del Ducato), Idammou El Medhi, Luca Cerza, Andrea Sola (XIII della Ghirandina)




#2920618 Huge exclusive in tonight's League Express 'digital-only' Easter...

Posted by League Express on 24 April 2014 - 03:56 PM

The wait is almost over, as League Express - Britain's best-selling Rugby League newspaper - will release its first ever digital-only edition this evening (Thursday, April 24) at 7:30pm.

The issue is designed to give Rugby League fans access to all the reports, stats and analysis from the Easter week Super League games without having to wait until Monday for the print edition to come out. It will also feature Challenge Cup previews and a new columnist. All you have to do to get a copy of the issue is download our free app on your smartphone or tablet, or visit PocketMags and download the issue straight to your desktop.

Inside this first-ever digital-only edition of League Express:

We have a huge Super League news exclusive, plus we also speak exclusively to RFL Chairman Brian Barwick

about the busy Easter period.

1eague3 chairman Jon Wilkin tells us his thoughts on the Challenge Cup and Easter scheduling.

Castleford captain Michael Shenton reveals his burning desire for cup glory with the Tigers.

A huge competition giving YOU the opportunity to win tickets for every major final this year!

A brand new columnist writing exclusively for League Express.

Warrington's Stefan Ratchford gives us a look into his world in our 'Off The Field' feature.

Extensive previews for all eight Tetley's Challenge Cup ties this weekend.

Full reports from ALL of Easter Monday's action in the First Utility Super League.

Plus all the usual ingredients that come together to make us Britain's best Rugby League read.

For anyone without digital access, summaries of all the reports will appear in the next print issue, which will come out as normal on Monday April 28. Please note, our print schedule remains unchanged, so anyone with a subscription will be unaffected.




#2919435 Digital edition issues now resolved

Posted by League Express on 21 April 2014 - 11:42 AM

Due to technical issues, the digital edition of  today’s League Express newspaper would not properly download for a lot of subscribers. We have since rectified the problem and the new issue is ready to download now. If problems persist, though, please follow these instructions:

  • Open the League Express app on your device
  • Locate the cogwheel icon (settings) and select Login/Register from the drop down menu
  • Log in with your Pocketmags user ID and password
  • You should see a list of all the recently published issues
  • Tap on the cover of issue 2911 and select the ‘delete’ option when prompted and OK to confirm the deletion
  • Now close down the League Express app on your device
  • Next, delete the League Express app from your device
  • Reboot your device
  • Re-download the League Express app from your app store (there is no charge for this as the app is free)
  • Open the League Express app on your device
  • Issue 2911 should now be displayed with the correct cover and be available to re-download
  • You may need to log back into your account before being able to proceed with the download
  • Locate the cogwheel icon (settings) and select Login/Register from the drop down menu
  • Log in with your Pocketmags user ID and password

We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused and hope this will not deter your enjoyment of this Monday’s issue.




#2882856 Kingstone Press Performance & Player of the Week for Rams

Posted by League Express on 18 February 2014 - 10:28 AM

Dewsbury Rams half-back Anthony Thackeray is the first Kingstone Press Championship Player of the Week for 2014.
Thackeray marked his debut for the club with a try and the decisive drop goal in their one-point win over Featherstone Rovers.
The team display also earned the Rams the Kingstone Press Performance of the Week, while Kevin Penny’s length-of-the-field try at Halifax saw him handed the Try of the Week.
Every week, each coach in the Kingstone Press Championship is contacted to help put the awards together.

Kingstone Press Championship Player of the Week – Anthony Thackeray (Dewsbury Rams)

Anthony Thackeray marked his first competitive game for Dewsbury Rams with a match-winning drop goal in an 11-10 victory over Featherstone Rovers.
Dewsbury coach Glenn Morrison said: “Anthony was great for us. He scored a try, created the play that got us at the right end of the field for the drop goal, and then kicked the drop goal to win the match.
“He had a really big game, and everyone at the club can see the quality he brings.
“Anthony and our other halves are working really well together, they have got the football brains to be able to take us around the park and stick to any game-plan we give them.
“He has definitely done what we wanted from him so far, and hopefully he can stay injury free and have a big year for us.”

Kingstone Press Championship Performance of the Week – Dewsbury Rams

Dewsbury Rams displayed a steely resolve as they secured a first win of the season by snatching an 11-10 victory over Featherstone Rovers.
The Rams were trailing seven minutes from full time, but Anthony Thackeray’s try levelled the scores before Thackeray added a 78th-minute drop goal to snatch all three points.
Dewsbury coach Glenn Morrison said: “We have worked really hard in the off-season and built some momentum. We said that we needed to back that up against the favourites to see where we are, and we had a good win and deserved it. We worked really hard for each other in defence.”
“It was a good win, but it is only one win. We have still got improvements in us. We were a bit off with the ball, but when you have got the commitment and desire we have, then we are going to win more than we lose if we keep that up.”

Kingstone Press Try of the Week – Kevin Penny (Swinton Lions)

Swinton Lions winger Kevin Penny showed outstanding pace and balance to score an opening-round, length-of-the-field try against Halifax.
Lions coach Ian Watson said: “We had a scrum 10 metres off our own line and Mick Nanyn gave him possession. First Kevin tried to go around his opposite winger, then he came back inside, rounded him again on the outside and carried on weaving in and out all the way up the pitch.
“Eventually he cut back inside and pulled clear. It was a special try and only someone with Kevin’s pace could have scored it.”
Watson added: “Kevin played well. He is not just about attacking, he spoke really well on the edge, and that helps us in defence. He was very important for us.”

Kingstone Press Championship Team of the Week

1 James Mendeika (Featherstone Rovers)
2 Adam Higson (Leigh Centurions)
3 Elliot Cosgrove (Keighley Cougars)
4 Steve Tyrer (Halifax)
5 Dalton Grant (Barrow Raiders)
6 Martyn Ridyard (Leigh Centurions)
7 Anthony Thackeray (Dewsbury Rams)
8 Tony Tonks (Halifax)
9 Scott Spaven (Doncaster)
10 David Mills (North Wales Crusaders)
11 Rob Spicer (Dewsbury Rams)
12 Josh Lynam (Keighley Cougars)
13 Josh Barlow (Swinton Lions)




#2842140 Salford Red Devils Donate Kit to European Nations

Posted by League Express on 25 November 2013 - 12:15 PM

Re-branded Super League outfit Salford Red Devils have donated three sets of kit to European nations Serbia, Ukraine and Latvia as part of their commitment to help spread the sport.

 

Serbia has a growing under-18 club competition, with the 2013 championship nearing its final stages; Ukraine has seen dramatic growth in youth rugby league in the last three years, with 40 teams spread around the eastern and southern parts of the country and Latvia, which played its first club championship in 2013, has set up two youth sides who will play their first competitive matches next season.

 

“On behalf of all three nations, I’d like to thank Salford for their consideration and generosity,” said RLEF General Manager Danny Kazandjian.

 

“The game is growing on all fronts in Europe and being able to keep new participants supplied with equipment and apparel is a constant challenge for our associations.”

 

Serbian federation general manager Jovan Vujosevic and Ukrainian federation president Artur Martyrosyan, both of whom were in London for the World Cup 2013 Big Hit at Wembley, collected the kit on behalf of their respective organisations.




#2829578 Owlerton announced as new home of Sheffield Eagles

Posted by League Express on 08 November 2013 - 03:00 PM

Owlerton Greyhound Stadium is the new home to the Sheffield Eagles, it was announced today.
A two-year agreement sees the Rugby League club returning to the venue where it first formed almost 30 years ago.
As part of the deal, the Eagles will play all home fixtures at Owlerton Stadium when the new Championship season kicks off in February 2014.
Sheffield Eagles staged their first ever fixture at Owlerton in September 1984 before leaving five years later following changes to crowd rules.
Ahead of the new season, improvements will be made to the pitch and changing rooms.
The move back to Owlerton, which has a capacity of 6,000, has been supported by Sheffield City Council and backed by the Rugby Football League. It follows the closure of the Eagles’ former home, Don Valley Stadium.
John Gilburn, managing director of Owlerton Stadium, said, “We’re delighted to be welcoming the Eagles back home to Owlerton – the place where it all started for the club almost 30 years ago. It is fantastic that we have been able to help the club stay in Sheffield and we look forward to working in partnership to help the Eagles realise their Super League ambitions.”
The Eagles’ first team training sessions and youth matches will continue to take place at Sheffield Hallam University’s sports complex, on Bawtry Road.
Ian Swire, chairman of the Sheffield Eagles, said, “I’d like to thank Sheffield City Council, the Rugby Football League and Owlerton Stadium for their excellent support, ensuring our smooth transition back to our original home at Owlerton Stadium and ensuring that our community work continues within the city.
“Their assistance has crucially ensured we are able to remain in the city of Sheffield which has been our primary objective since the announcement of the closure of Don Valley Stadium.
"We are all highly impressed with the huge improvements in facilities at Owlerton Stadium since we left there in 1989 to move to Don Valley Stadium and I’m sure all of our spectators, old and new, will enjoy the amenities that the stadium has to offer.
“We intend to play our fixtures on Sunday afternoons and look forward to creating a fantastic experience utilising the varied dining opportunities in the restaurants at the stadium to complement the superb entertainment supplied by the back to back Champions on the field.”
Mark Aston, the Head Coach and Chief Executive of the Sheffield Eagles, said, “It’s fantastic that we can announce that we are heading back to Owlerton for at least the next two years.
“We have always undertaken excellent community work within the city of which we are immensely proud and the agreements that we are making allow us to remain within the city, at a great stadium and able to continue our award winning efforts within the community.
“We see a lot of potential in this part of the city with a thriving Rugby League community club on the doorstep of Owlerton, Hillsborough Hawks.
"I’m sure many of their players and parents will come down and support us on Sunday afternoons following their morning matches along with those from our other linked community clubs in the area.”
“Owlerton has undergone major refurbishments over the past few years and I’m sure all our loyal fans will continue to support us as we aim to once again defend our Championship title.”
Councillor Isobel Bowler, Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure, Sheffield City Council, said, “The Council has worked hard to support the Eagles in recent months. It became clear to us that the club faced two pressing challenges. First - to find a new home venue following confirmation that a move to Bawtry Road wasn't possible and second - a major threat to the club’s valuable community programmes following their recent loss of Sport England funding from the Rugby Football League.
“I'm delighted that the Eagles have now secured their new home at Owlerton and I'm also pleased to confirm that the Council has in principle agreed to rescue the club’s community programmes. Discussions are on-going and we aim to make a joint announcement with the Eagles in the coming weeks.
“The club has acknowledged that Council support for their community programmes is an important part of securing the future of the Eagles in Sheffield.”
Ralph Rimmer, RFL chief operating officer, said, “We are delighted that Sheffield Eagles have been able to conclude arrangements that will see them remain in the city for the foreseeable future.
“Many Rugby League fans will remember Owlerton Stadium from Sheffield’s inaugural season in 1984 and it’s fair to say that both the club and the venue have come a long way in the intervening 30 years.
“The Eagles have forged strong community links throughout the city and South Yorkshire and as defending champions will start the 2014 Kingstone Press Championship season in a stadium which has recently undergone a £1.6m redevelopment.
“I am sure that Eagles supporters and visiting fans will receive a warm welcome at every game at Owlerton Stadium.”
Owlerton Stadium, owned by the A & S Leisure Group, hosts greyhound racing, stock car racing and is home to the Sheffield Tigers Speedway team.


#2828665 The World Cup and the media

Posted by League Express on 07 November 2013 - 04:17 PM

MARTYN SADLER, the editor of League Express, suggests that Rugby League could do a lot to help itself get more coverage in the national media. This is a modified version of an article that appeared in this week's newspaper.

 

After an initial surge of interest in the World Cup from the leading national newspapers, there was a clear decline in the amount of coverage of the tournament once it had actually started.
Inevitably those people who post on the Totalrl.com forum are indignant about this, as they have a right to be.
It can be terribly frustrating banging our heads against a brick wall, hoping that the national media will give us a mention.
But sometimes it's hard not to conclude that we do little to help ourselves. One example is that we allow coaches to dictate matters far too often in ways that deter interest from any national newspaper.
The Daily Telegraph sports supplement last Friday was a perfect example.
It contained several pages that covered England's opening game against Australia in the autumn international rugby union tournament.
The biggest story was about Joel Tomkins, and whether his parents would head for Twickenham to watch him make his debut, or for Huddersfield to watch his brother Sam playing against Ireland.
As it happens, they did go to Twickenham, not surprisingly in the circumstances.
But the thing to bear in mind is that that story couldn't have been written if one of the Tomkins brothers had been making his debut for England at Rugby League.
Why is that, you may ask?
Because in rugby union, a coach has to name his team on Thursday, two full days before the game. Stuart Lancaster had to name his team, and tell us which positions his players would occupy.
So the media knew that Joel was about to make his debut, and they could write reams and reams speculating about how it would all work out. There were photos of Joel and Sam together talking about the rugby union game.
But if the boot had been on the other foot, and it had been one of the brothers set to make his debut for England at Rugby League, the story couldn't have been written, because the England team isn't named until an hour before the kick-off.
Only the 19-man squad is named on Thursday, and, as often as not, it is named in alphabetical order.
It is no use at all if someone wants to write an article about a player who may or may not make his debut. The Daily Telegraph devoted about 25 words - its sum total of words on the World Cup that day - telling us that James Graham had been restored to the 19-man squad. But it couldn't tell us that he would definitely be playing, because the only person who knew the answer to that question was the English coach Steve McNamara.
Again, this week is a perfect example of how the World Cup could miss a perfect opportunity to generate tremendous publicity.
On Saturday England will face Fiji at the KC Stadium.
England might have had the three Burgess brothers playing, and Fiji might have the three Sims brothers playing.
When was the last time this happened in a major international game?
As it happens, Tom Burgess has been left out of the 19-man England squad.
But if he had been included, we would only have known an hour before the game whether the six brothers would all be playing.
Wouldn't it be better if, as in rugby union, the coaches were mandated to name their teams on Thursday, so that the media really would have something to get their teeth into, just like their rugby union counterparts?
When we complain about how much publicity the other code gets, let's recognise that it does far more to help itself than we do.


#2819945 Rochdale’s Fijian flavour

Posted by League Express on 28 October 2013 - 03:00 PM

Rugby League World editor Gareth Walker relishes the prospect of tonight’s Fiji versus Ireland game at Spotland.

Of all the World Cup games that will take place over the next five weeks, few will hold the same cultural local significance as tonight’s Fiji and Ireland game in Rochdale.
 From the moment that the tournament was confirmed as being staged in this country, Rochdale Hornets and the town’s local authorities were desperate to host a match involving the Fijians.
The reason has been well documented ever since, and encouragingly has received extensive national and regional coverage in recent weeks.
Rochdale’s link with Fiji dates back to 1961 with the arrival of giant duo Joe Levula and Orsi Dawai, after the Hornets Chairman Arthur Walker had seen them playing rugby union while on the 1958 Great Britain tour to Australia.
The pair were the first of a host of Fijian arrivals in the town during the 1960s and 70s, and many of them stayed, ensuring that there are four generations of some Fijian families in Rochdale.
Two of those early arrivals, Voate Drui and Mike Ratu, still live in the town and have conducted a host of media appearances in recent weeks, lovingly recounting the days when they arrived in 1960s Rochdale from the South Pacific.
“It was so different from Fiji and our lives,” Drui, now 81, told BBC Radio Manchester last week.
“We had all this lovely thick snow on the ground – you had to be careful not to slip. It was a wonderful difference from Fiji but we were so happy.”
Drui arrived shortly after the initial two alongside Liatia Ravouvou, and there is a famous picture of all four being interviewed in the snow by the BBC’s Eddie Waring in 1963.
Drui has actually described the chance to move to Rochdale as being “like someone coming up to you and giving you a stick of gold” in one of his media interviews.
Thousands turned up to see their debuts at the old Athletic Grounds, and they were welcomed by the local community from the moment they landed. They would often be seen in local pubs with a guitar, singing traditional Fijian songs.
Ratu’s grandson, also called Mike and a former Leeds, Hull KR and Halifax centre, was in the Rochdale squad last season although injury restricted his impact, and another family member, Emon, was a popular backrower with Hornets during the 1990s.
Drui and Ratu’s passion for the town has shone through in last week’s media appearances, and they will help ensure a significant Fijian presence at Spotland tonight.  
There’s every chance they might treat supporters to the kind of communal hymn singing that the Fijian team provided both after their World Cup warm-up game against Hornets last weekend, and at a civic reception at Rochdale Town Hall a few days later.
Both genuinely moving recitals can be seen on YouTube.
To celebrate tonight’s match the town’s Flying Horse Hotel will be serving a traditional Fijian menu on the day of the game in addition to some Irish specialities
And the extensive build-up that the game has received is set to result in a first capacity crowd at Spotland for a Rugby League game since Rochdale Hornets beat Oldham on Boxing Day way back in 1989.
Drui and Ratu will be among them, watching the stars of today – the likes of Petero Civoniceva and Akuila Uate – provide a link to their own remarkable stories from the past.
It’s nights like tonight that will shape our memories of this year’s World Cup, and hopefully leave a lasting legacy for the towns in which they take place.

First published in League Express, Mon 28th Oct 2013




#2819769 Something must be wrong. Everything is good!

Posted by League Express on 28 October 2013 - 11:18 AM

rlle_281013_200.jpgLeague Express Editorial, Monday 28th October 2013

We, Rugby League supporters that is, don't like getting carried away. Over-excitement is not in our normal behaviour range. And we don't like to speak too soon for fear of tempting fate.
But the 14th World Cup has been good so far, hasn't it? More than good. Very good. Maybe even better than that. The opening ceremony was good. The BBC chose not to show it, which was a pity as a lot of other people might have thought it was good too. England were good and might get better. Wales and Italy was good. Italy's World Cup exploits are even getting coverage in newspapers in Italy, which is good.
Papua New Guinea and France played out a full-blooded match in Hull and the finish to the game was memorable for winners and losers, and neutrals alike. France will now play two group games in their own country amidst a mood of optimism. Their first game, this Friday, in Avignon has already sold out. Whichever way you look at it, that's good.
Samoa were getting hammered by New Zealand but then scored four tries in 13 minutes to put the frighteners up the world champions. The stadium was full and everybody got full value for their tickets, because it was Rugby League at its best, which is a lot better than good.
The weather has not been great, but at least the big storm that was expected for the weekend waited until the opening weekend had finished before hitting the south of the country.
Can it last? In Rugby League-world it can't, of course. Or can it? The World Cup Final, which was still 26 probably memorable games away as League Express went to press, is by all reports already well on the way to being a sellout. There are no tickets left for England v Ireland at Huddersfield on Saturday. Fiji-Ireland tonight, Monday, is a similar story, as it France-New Zealand in Avignon this Friday.
And to come in the next few days as well, Tonga versus Scotland and Cook Islands-USA.
It all sounds too good to be true.
Let the club Chairmen argue about this and that. We'll just try and get on with enjoying Rugby League over the next few weeks.
That'll be good!

Read League Express Online now




#2792090 Hornets stirred by chance of final glory

Posted by League Express on 19 September 2013 - 11:33 AM

Hornets stirred by chance of final glory

By Liam Williams

Rochdale will discover the identity of their Kingstone Press Championship One Grand Final opponents on Sunday when Oldham take on London Skolars in the final play-off eliminator, but Hornets half-back Steve Roper says his side will be confident whoever they face.
The Hornets made the final in dramatic fashion with a 23-22 victory over local rivals Oldham last week, a win which means they have already beaten both potential opponents in their play-offs, and Roper is in confident spirits ahead of the final.
“We put in a good effort to beat London and Oldham, so we’re not bothered who we play. Obviously getting those results gives you confidence,” said Roper.
“Anything can happen in a final, but form is definitely important. You want to be going into these games in the best frame of mind possible with momentum behind you which we will be.
“We made the semi-finals last year and the year before, so it’s nice to get over that hurdle and make it to the final. Now that we’ve got to this stage we know we can win, it’s just about going out there on the day and doing it.
“Winning promotion would be massive for us. I’ve been here over five years now, so I’ve got to know the fans really well, and I know how much promotion will mean to them, especially considering how close we are to it.”
Victory over Oldham earned the Hornets a week off from competition but Roper insists the squad will not be relaxing too much ahead of finals day on September 29.
“We’re all going out for a meal at the weekend with our wives and girlfriends as a bit of a team bonding session which we’re looking forward to,” he said.
“But we’ll still be training, doing a bit of rehab and watching some videos and we’ll be fully focused again next week on preparing for the game and we’ll be ready for it.”




#2790902 22/09/13 - KPC Qual SF: Featherstone Rovers v Batley Bulldogs KO 3pm

Posted by League Express on 17 September 2013 - 12:48 PM

Rovers talisman keen to avoid play-off complacency

By Josh Barrowcliff

Featherstone Rovers captain Liam Finn will not be taking anything for granted when his side take on Batley Bulldogs in a Kingstone Press Championship play-off semi-final at the Big Fellas Stadium on Sunday (3.00pm).
Featherstone secured their fourth consecutive Championship League Leaders’ Shield by ending the regular season in pole position and are aiming for their fourth consecutive Grand Final should they overcome the Bulldogs.
With home advantage, Rovers start as over-whelming favourites but half-back Finn and his team-mates are staying focused.
“This is a knockout game, so form goes out of the window,” said Finn. “Both teams will be playing to their absolute maximum as it’s a game that no-one wants to lose so we know we’ll have to be at our best.
“Hopefully we can remain focused on what’s in front of us and keep up our strong end to the season.
“We’re at home which is good but I don’t think it will make a big difference for us. We know the most important thing is the contest on the field and making sure that we come out on top on the day.
“Sometimes external influences try to put more pressure on you by making it a bigger game, we’ve kept training normal which I think every team tries to do and we’re fully focused on completing the job.”
Responsibility is nothing new to Finn and he says he will not let his status as captain of both club and country, Ireland, get in the way of success with Rovers ahead of Rugby League World Cup 2013.
“At the moment my sole focus is on Featherstone and trying to achieve everything I can with them,” he said.
“Obviously it is a massive honour to lead my country but the job is much easier with the experienced internationals around me. We have a good squad with players hungry to prove themselves at the highest level so hopefully we can convert that into results when the competition starts.
“But that’s all to come, once the season is over I will focus on success with the national squad but until then the only thing on my mind is ensure we can go all the way to the Grand Final.”




#2785449 Finn is a clear leader

Posted by League Express on 09 September 2013 - 09:03 AM

Liam Finn kicked six goals in Featherstone's 40-26 victory over Leigh Centurions in the Championship Qualifying Play-off game.

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#2780246 Skee sets triple record

Posted by League Express on 02 September 2013 - 10:17 AM

London Skolars halfback Dylan Skee set three club records – 99 goals and 228 points in a season, and became the club’s all-time leading goalkicker with 224, in Sunday's 30-30 draw at Oxford.

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