RL Today: Rugby league ‘bang in trouble’, England squad contenders & Leigh-Wigan build-up

James Gordon

The rugby league weekend kicks off this evening as Leigh entertain Wigan in the ‘Battle of the Borough’ in what the Leopards hope will be a record Super League crowd for the fixture.

Rugby league ‘bang in trouble’

Eddie Hearn has stuck the boot in on both codes of rugby, and says rugby league in particular is ‘bang in trouble’.

The high-profile promoter of boxing, darts and snooker, amongst other things, was appearing on a rugby union podcast and lamented both codes’ failures in attracting television audiences and making stars of their players.

It comes after he held talks with RFL and Super League chiefs in 2018 about helping the sport.

Is he bitter, or does he have a point?

England team will be picked on merit

Shaun Wane wants to select an England team based on form, and says that playing in the NRL doesn’t mean a player is an automatic selection.

Players based Down Under won’t be in contention for the France test at the end of April anyway.

Wane said: “I’m not one of them people where I’m obsessed that if they play in the NRL then they play for England, that’s definitely not the case. I made a choice on that with Ryan Sutton, so they know that their form needs to be of an England-standard player in the NRL.”

England team to be picked on merit, as Wigan star knocking on door for international honours

Harry Newman in Shaun Wane’s thoughts for England selection

Has Sam Tomkins played his last game for England?

Wakefield give it Daggers

There was a first appearance in Wakefield colours for Will Dagger, who fronted the media in their weekly press conference.

They tweeted a photo of him looking rather miserable in advance of the chat, a tweet which has since been deleted from club channels.

The signing from Hull KR explained a ‘mad’ week that saw him swap clubs in a deal that saw Corey Hall go the other way.

“It was hard to leave. But I think now’s the time. I feel like it’s the right thing for me to be playing,” he said.

Thursday night live game – Leigh v Wigan

It promises to be an ideal presentation of rugby league live on Sky Sports. Decent spring weather, a full house and a competitive game, as Leigh look to get one over their local rivals and continue their encouraging start to the season.

Our very own Mr Wigan Borough, Drew Darbyshire, has been getting all the talk from both sides ahead of the game.

Wigan fans deliver verdict on potential line-up change ahead of derby clash with Leigh

The start of a new long-term Super League rivalry

How Leigh-Wigan is the new Broncos-Cowboys for Leopards star

Loanee returns to Wigan as Matt Peet provides update

21-man squads:

Leigh: Hardaker, Briscoe, Chamberlain, Leutele, Charnley, Mellor, Lam, Amone, Ipapae, Mulhern, Hughes, Asiata, Nakubuwai, Reynolds, Holmes, O’Brien, Davis, Nisbit, O’Donnell, Wilde, Seumanufagai.

Wigan: Field, French, King, Wardle, Marshall, Cust, Smith, Singleton, Powell, Byrne, Isa, Farrell, Smithies, Cooper, Ellis, Havard, Pearce-Paul, Shorrocks, Mago, O’Neill, Miski.

Adding the extras

Hunslet full-back Jimmy Watson kicked off his testimonial season with an 80s night at the Phoenix Suite at the South Leeds Stadium. He led the show dressed as Mr Motivator. Never change, rugby league.

Jimmy Watson as Mr Motivator

Catalans’ Super League clash with Warrington on Easter Saturday has been pushed back by an hour and will be played at 5pm UK time. The game will be shown live on Sky Sports, as with all Super League fixtures over the Easter weekend.

Former Hull FC academy player Mason Opie-Palmer is one of 10 people accused of murdering a man in Hull earlier this month. The club swiftly deleted some match day social posts from when he scored a try for their academy side back in September.

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