Oxford opportunity boost Hadden’s World Cup hopes


Matty Hadden believes the opportunity to impress at Championships level this season should boost his chances of cementing an Ireland place at Rugby League World Cup 2013.

Hadden played Rugby League in his native Ireland before playing at amateur level in England and eventually make the switch to embryonic Championship 1 outfit Oxford.

And the young forward believes the opportunity with the Iffley Road side has come at the perfect time.

“It’s great for me to be a Championship 1 player for 2013. It’s a chance for me to impress and to earn myself a place in the squad,” Hadden told LoveRugbyLeague.com.

“It’s up to me to take this opportunity and keep myself in the thoughts of Mark Aston, as there’s some great competition for places in the Ireland squad.”

Hadden worked alongside the Ireland head coach during the pre-season, and believes the experience with Sheffield Eagles has stood him in good stead for the challenge ahead.

“Mark actually had me up at Sheffield during the pre-season just so I could get a bit of experience of that sort of environment,” explained Hadden.

“He has a great system in place up there and it was good to be a part of it. I know he wants to bring something similar to Ireland, and that’s very exciting.

“It’s good to be back down at Oxford though, and I want to impress as much as I can in this environment in Championship 1.”

Ireland have been drawn alongside England, Australia and Fiji in Group A, and must win at least one match to stand a chance of progressing to the quarter-final stage.

But, while matching the might of the English and the Aussies may prove a tall order, Hadden believes the Wolfhounds stand a good chance of achieving success.

“There are a lot of good teams at this tournament, and a lot of people won’t look further than Australia, England and New Zealand.

“We’ve been drawn alongside two of those teams so it’s a very tough pool, although we’re not going to be underestimating Fiji either – I think they’ll be strong.

“I don’t know much about their threats, but I’ve spoken to some of the guys who played against them in the last World Cup, and everyone’s said that they are very physical.

“I think that one will be a great game to play in and I’m really looking forward to it.

Ireland made the quarter-finals of the World Cup last time out, so I think that has to be our target this time,” added Hadden, who will fulfil a lifelong ambition if selected to play for Ireland in the match against Australia at Thomond Park on November 9.

“Playing in Ireland will also mean a lot to me. I’ve watched games there before and the atmosphere is fantastic, so to play on the pitch itself will be huge for me.

“It’ll mean a lot to me and it’ll mean a lot to my family.”

Ireland’s clash with Fiji takes place at Spotland, Rochdale, on October 28, and the Wolfhounds will lock horns with England at the John Smith’s Stadium on November 2.

Tickets are now on sale for RLWC2013, with 55% of tickets priced £20 or less. To make sure you will BE THERE buy now at www.rlwc2013.com or call our 24 Hour Ticket Hotline on 0844 847 2013.


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