Rugby League Today: Non-Brits for GB, Atkins latest & the biggest derby debate (again)

Photo courtesy of Richard Long

What’s on site

Wayne Bennett is the surprise appointment as coach of the England team for the Nines World Cup. The first edition of the tournament takes place over two days, and Bennett will lead the team despite his commitments to the returning Great Britain Lions at the end of the year.

Warrington coach Steve Price has moved to dismiss rumours linking Ryan Atkins with an immediate move away from the Halliwell Jones Stadium in the middle of his testiomonial year.

We’ve had a look at some of the best players brought through and handed their debuts by Tony Smith, during his spells in charge at Huddersfield, Leeds and Warrington, following the success of the first feature in this series with Shaun Wane recently.

The new play-off system brought in by Super League this season will hopefully make the play-offs more exciting – but perhaps even the battle for the top five too. Who do you think will be up there come the end of the regular season?

We all complain about Thursday night rugby when it’s on, but we all moaned last Thursday when there wasn’t a game. The good news is, it’s back this week as Wigan take on London in front of the Sky Sports cameras. Read the preview here.

In the latest mailbox (don’t forget you can submit your own mailbox to us by emailing [email protected]) includes an interesting suggestion relating to the reset of the tackle count when a defensive interception is attempted.

What’s on social

A great story from the Toronto game at the weekend.

Interesting discussion on Twitter about clubs’ social media postings and also about the lack of engagement and effort from players to promote their own matches and their own profiles.

One of the leading lights on social media at the moment are Warrington, and they have made the significant step of changing their Twitter handle.

What’s in the papers

The Sun reports that Kevin Sinfield has opened the door for the likes of Lachlan Coote, Blake Austin and Jackson Hastings – and other heritage players – to play for Great Britain, as long as they want to play.

The derby debate was done to death over Easter, as it so often is, but Robbie Hunter-Paul has tried to re-ignite it by claiming the Leeds-Bradford derby is the biggest, trying to drum up support for their forthcoming Challenge Cup tie.

Winger Joe Burgess will miss Wigan’s game with London due to a knee injury, reports Wigan Today.

Another winger missing with a knee injury is Warrington’s Tom Lineham, who will sit out their game against Castleford on Friday night according to the Warrington Guardian.

Birthdays

Huddersfield full-back Scott Grix, who has played for Ireland at three World Cups, is 35 today.

Also celebrating: Grix’s Ireland team-mate James Hasson, formerly of Salford and Wakefield (27); a Frenchman that played for Paris St Germain and Catalans Dragons in their first Super League seasons, Pascal Jampy (46); Newcastle Knights’ Fijian twins Daniel and Jacob Saifiti (23).

What’s on TV/radio

4.00pm – NRL Try Time – Sky Sports Arena

6.00pm – Rugby AM – Freesports

Trivia

Two Super League games have been played at Anfield before – St Helens beat Castleford there 42-16 in front of 12,329 in 1997, and then beat Warrington 36-14 the following year in front of 10,058.