Rugby League Today: Magic Weekend fixtures, GB ref criticised & teams qualify for World Cup

What’s on site

The fixture line-up for the 2020 Magic Weekend at St James’ Park in Newcastle has been revealed.

Italy and Ireland secured their places at the 2021 World Cup over the weekend, as did Scotland with a win over Greece.

Great Britain hooker Josh Hodgson was critical of the ruck speed during the test defeat to New Zealand, as calls for international rugby league to adopt the dual-referee system increase.

Tonga’s former Australia centre Michael Jennings says their win over the Kangaroos at the weekend was up there with winning the NRL Grand Final.

Re-live the Great Britain game against New Zealand, together with Drew Darbyshire’s thoughts and talking points.

What’s on social

A wedding was interrupted at the weekend to watch the closing stages of Tonga’s famous win over Australia.

Sigh. Fed up of the comparisons. There is none.

Oh blimey.

Just scrap the whole thing all together I say.

What’s in the papers

As rugby league hits the national conscience ahead of the General Election, make sure you read this from the excellent Tony Collins in The Guardian – Rugby league is a rebel sport – its northern strongholds will never turn Conservative

St Helens forward Luke Thompson could give Great Britain a timely boost, according to the Mirror, as he is determined to return to action from the rib injury suffered in the tour opener against Tonga.

Also in The Mirror, it is revealed that Great Britain are unlikely to fly out a replacement for injured winger Ryan Hall, despite also losing centre Oliver Gildart last week too.

Following on from the dual-referee system debate, Canberra’s English sensation John Bateman says there is a noticeable difference between test matches and games in the NRL, reports The Sun.

Birthdays

Recent Hull KR signing Will Maher, who joined the club from Castleford, turns 24 today (November 4).

Also celebrating: Rumoured Warrington target and Kiwi international Zane Tetevano (29), York’s Ash Robson (24); Papua New Guinea and Catalans utility David Mead (31); former Hull and Australia hooker Shaun Berrigan (41); one-club man Malcolm Alker (41).

Trivia

Tonga’s win over Australia on Saturday was the first time the Kangaroos have been beaten by anyone other than New Zealand or Great Britain/England since 1978 – when they lost 11-10 to France.

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