Some of the latest from rugby league circles this week.
World Cup hopes
Super League chiefs are keen to ensure that the Rugby League World Cup does go ahead this year as planned. The NRL are leading calls to postpone the tournament, which would cause a massive headache for organisers, given the football World Cup takes place next November/ December. There are also broadcast agreements in place with the BBC, which would be virtually impossible to replicate in 2022 for the same reason.
Callum McLelland is set to return to Castleford from Leeds. He came through the youth ranks at the Tigers before making a move to Scottish rugby union. Injuries have hampered his progress at the Rhinos, where he has made 11 appearances, while also turning out on loan for Championship side Featherstone.
Toulouse march on
Toulouse will take part in the Championship play-offs, even if they don’t reach the minimum number of games this season. Due to the points percentage system, it was determined that clubs would have to play a minimum of 16 games. But with the majority of the French side’s home games called off due to English clubs not wishing to travel because of the Government’s quarantine restrictions on their return, these will not be counted against them (or indeed the English clubs – though it’s unlikely any English club will fail to reach 16 games).
It is also believed that Toulouse have asked for guarantees that their play-off matches, including the potential Grand Final, will be held in France if they retain top seeding.
Some clubs have been left frustrated by the decision to grant Bradford special dispensation to play on their short and narrow pitch at Odsal until the end of the season, which goes against pitch regulations. The involvement of Nigel Wood at the Bulls is raising eyebrows as they are allowed to ride roughshod over the rules. Some have queried the relationship between Wood and current RFL chief Ralph Rimmer, who it is believed some Super League clubs want replaced if the proposed “re-alignment” goes ahead.
Mason back to where it began
Huddersfield want to sign Leigh prop Nathan Mason, who came through the Giants’ academy, for next season. Coach Ian Watson said: “We have been looking around and Nathan is someone we’ve had a look at. The beauty about him coming through the academy is playing for Huddersfield means more to him than another club.” (League Express)
Crooks wants to stay
Hull KR back Ben Crooks is focused on earning a new deal to extend his stay at Craven Park. He said: “I love the club. I love the fans. I love the staff. I’m loving my rugby at the minute. Ideally it’d be great to stay. I want to hang around for a while simply because of the way the club is going. I want to be a part of that future that we’re building.” (Hull Daily Mail)
Millington plays on
Bradford are set to sign Castleford forward Grant Millington for next season. The 34-year-old has been with the Tigers since 2013 and had planned to return home, but will play on in the UK with the Bulls, who still have hopes of earning promotion to Super League for 2022. (League Express)
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