Swinton Lions delighted to host Wales’ World Cup warm-up fixture

Swinton Lions are going back to the future by hosting Wales’ World Cup warm-up match against Lebanon at Heywood Road on Saturday, October 8 (3pm).

The League One club’s former Station Road ground, its home between 1929 and 1992, was a regular big-match venue, and staged 19 internationals.

The Wales-Lebanon clash will be key for both sides, with John Kear’s Dragons, beaten 34-10 by France in Albi in June, preparing to face 2017 semi-finalists Tonga as well as Papua New Guinea and the Cook Islands in Group D.

Lebanon, quarter-finalists five years ago, will be up against New Zealand, Jamaica and Ireland in Group C.

The Cedars, led by former Australia rugby union coach and current Argentina rugby union coach Michael Cheika, defeated Malta 30-14 in Sydney in June.

Wales Rugby League Chair Brian Juliff said: “Lebanon are a quality team with a core of experienced Australian NRL players.

“This will provide us with a perfect match as we get ready to face very similar opposition in the finals.

“Our opening game at the World Cup is against the Cook Islands (at Leigh on Wednesday, October 19), who are of a similar player group to Lebanon, so this game will be formative to our preparations.

“We anticipate a tough and entertaining encounter, and we will field our strongest team.”

Nayef Abi Said, speaking on behalf of the Lebanese Rugby League Federation, said: “We are very much looking forward to playing Wales.

“The Dragons are a very tough opponent, but we are excited for the challenge.

“This match will aid toward our preparedness and hopefully another successful World Cup campaign.”

“Underlying all, Lebanon has always held an unwavering respect towards and for the Welsh team, fans and nation as a whole, and it will prove another great honour to face them on the field.”

Swinton chief executive Steve Wild said: “We are absolutely thrilled and honoured to be hosting this incredibly attractive match.

“I want to thank our stadium hosts Sale FC Rugby Club for their enthusiasm and co-operation in making the game a reality. This event underlines the fantastic relationship we enjoy.

“Going back to our Station Road days, Swinton Lions have a long tradition of hosting international matches, and it’s a great pleasure to be able to resurrect that tradition at Sale.

“Perhaps we’ll even see a couple of Swinton lads in the Wales line-up, with Rhodri Lloyd and Mike Butt hopefully making the squad.

“We also hope that the Greater Manchester public, including of course the Lebanese community and those with a Welsh affiliation, will take this opportunity to see some top-class international Rugby League.”

Admission will be by ticket only, with seats £15 for adults and £5 for under-16s and regular ground tickets £12 for adults and £3 for under-16s, with under-fives going free.

Corporate hospitality tickets are £35 for adults and £25 for under-16s.

To book, visit the Swinton Lions website.

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