Off the Record: Rugby League Rumours and Gossip #199

What mischievous activities have Warrington been up to? What is the latest on England’s mid-season test? Who is entering League 1? Find out in the gossip column.

Warrington’s mischievous plans

Mischievous mascot Wolfie had plans to disrupt St Helens’ World Club Challenge match with Sydney Roosters scuppered by local authorities.

A couple of ideas were floated, including appearing in a hot air balloon above the Totally Wicked Stadium “powered by the hot air of Eamonn McManus” a not too subtle dig at the Saints’ chairman’s comments after the Wolves beat them in the Challenge Cup final at Wembley in August.

England mid-season test in doubt

England’s mid-season international looks unlikely to go ahead.

It was reported that Shaun Wane’s side would go over to the southern hemisphere to play Samoa in the representative weekend this year, but that game now appears to be in doubt. It has been announced that the Oceania Cup will return this year, so Samoa have been pencilled in to face the Cook Islands as part of a double-header that will see New Zealand take on Tonga in June.

Weather causes Cup headaches

The weather has disrupted the Challenge Cup in recent weeks and is causing headaches ahead of the fifth round in a fortnight.

Whitehaven’s game with Dewsbury fell foul of the weather at the weekend. In previous rounds, the Rugby Football League have stepped in to make the game be replayed the following week – however, with Toulouse playing at Whitehaven this week, all arrangements including flights and hotels had already been made. With a 320-mile round trip in midweek unlikely at short notice, it looks like the game will have to now take place the following weekend, just a week before the next round – an away trip to Newcastle is at stake.

Ottawa to enter League 1

Championship and League 1 clubs have been notified by the Rugby Football League that Ottawa will enter League 1 for the 2021 season.

Toronto Wolfpack founder Eric Perez bought the license of RFL member club Hemel Tags last year and will relocate the club to Canada. They are keen on utilising Canadian players and are in no rush to reach Super League.

Valencia ruffle feathers

Valencia Huracanes’ attempts to ruffle some feathers is leaving some frustrated.

Their premature revealing of a possible clash between St Helens and Salford left some egg on faces, while their promises to put out a competitive side against Featherstone were unfounded. Now they have announced a fixture with Rochdale before getting the adequate approval in place. They are now talking about entering the Challenge Cup in 2021, but there remains doubts over the feasibility of the project as a whole.

New York want 1895 Cup inclusion

The proposed New York club have accepted that they will not be entering League 1 next year – but they still want to take part in the Challenge Cup and 1895 Cup competitions.

The RFL were reluctant to let two North American clubs enter the third tier in the same season, so Ottawa have got the nod for 2021 and New York will aim to enter the league in 2022. It’s understood that they want to build profile by playing in the RFL’s Cup competitions next season – but where they will get their players from is unknown.

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