Ireland forward Frankie Halton calls for more international rugby league

Drew Darbyshire
Frankie Halton Ireland

Ireland forward Frankie Halton wants to see more test matches played and believes the international scene is the best way to grow the game.

The 26-year-old played in all three of Ireland’s matches at the World Cup after helping the Wolfhounds qualify for the tournament back in 2019, when he made his international debut.

Halton says he would love to see more international matches introduced into the calendar on a regular basis.

“I think it’s the best thing for the sport,” the Hull KR forward told Love Rugby League.

“It’s too long to go (without international rugby) between World Cups. I think the more European Cups we can play and even friendlies sometimes just to get the team together and get that connection going again, I think it can only help grow the game.”

Halton was speaking after his Ireland side bowed out of the World Cup following a 48-10 defeat to New Zealand in their final group match in front of a 14,000-strong crowd at Headingley.

“The crowd was unbelievable,” he added. “14k at Headingley on a Friday night… It was great to be a part of.

“There’s Irish everywhere and everyone loves to watch Ireland play and we’ve got a good fanbase, so I think the more games we can play, the better it will be for us.”

Frankie Halton proud to represent his Irish heritage again

Halton was born and raised in England but qualifies to play for Ireland via his mother’s side of the family. His grandad was from Dublin and his great grandmother was from Cork.

“My grandad was from Dublin, he was a proud Irishman,” Halton added.

“My mum is really proud of her dad. He’s sadly not with us anymore but it means a lot to her and a lot to me, and we’ve got a lot of good memories with him.

“I had my childhood with him. He passed away when I was like 12, so I’ve not got as many memories as I’d like with him but he was a great man and it means a lot to pull on the shirt.”

Wolfhounds look ahead to France

Halton says Ireland were gutted not to hit their goal of reaching the quarter-finals of the World Cup, but will be doing everything they can to go one better at the 2025 World Cup in France.

“First of all it’s been a great camp,” Halton told Love Rugby League. “I’ve loved it.

“We wanted to get to the quarters, that didn’t happen but it’s a learning curve for us and we can now build heading into 2025.

“It’s been a good experience. We didn’t quite hit our goals at this World Cup but France isn’t too far away. If we keep building as a team, then it’s going to build the game in Ireland as well and hopefully we can have a successful World Cup then.”

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