Solly: World Club Series is the Ryder Cup of rugby league

Super League general manager Blake Solly has described the forthcoming World Club Challenge matches as the “Ryder Cup” of rugby league.

Solly was highlighting the impressive attendance figures which marked Super League‘s opening weekend.

In total, 63,4354 people attended the season openers, an average of 10,572 per match and a 16 per cent increase on the corresponding fixtures in 2014.

Castleford Tigers and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats were watched by 10,728 people. The crowd of 9,286 for Widnes Vikings v Wigan Warriors was 49 per cent higher than the same fixture in 2014.

Hull KR set a new ground record with the crowd of 11,811, when they hosted Leeds Rhinos at the KC Lightstream Stadium.

Television figures were also healthy, with Widnes Vikings v Wigan Warriors on Thursday evening, and St Helens v Catalans Dragons on Friday, being watched by more than 440,000 people.

Solly felt that the enthusiasm shown by fans could only be a good thing for the World Club Challenge.

“The massive crowds we saw at the weekend testify to the huge sense of excitement that surrounds the start of the most keenly anticipated season in Super League history,” he said.

“It was a very encouraging first week and I am sure it is a start we will see the clubs build on in the weeks and months to come.

“There are some cracking games coming up this weekend, including Salford Red Devils v champions St Helens on Thursday evening and Hull FC v Warrington Wolves on Friday.

“And next week we welcome NRL champions South Sydney Rabbitohs plus Brisbane Broncos and St George-Illawarra Dragons to the UK for the World Club Series, when St Helens, Wigan and Warrington will be rocking for what many people regard is the Ryder Cup of Rugby League.

“There is so much at stake every weekend and it’s clear from just Round 1 that both fans and players alike have grasped that every minute really does matter in 2015.”

The 2015 First Utility Super League Round 1 attendances (with corresponding attendance for 2014 in brackets):

Castleford Tigers v Wakefield Trinity Wildcats – 10,728 (9,182)
Huddersfield Giants v Hull FC – 7,737 (6,370)
Hull KR v Leeds Rhinos – 11,811 (11,526)
St Helens v Catalans Dragons – 12,008 (11,321)
Warrington Wolves v Salford Red Devils – 11,864 (10,120)
Widnes Vikings v Wigan Warriors – 9,286 (6,223)

Aggregate – 63434 (54,742)
Average – 10, 572 (9,123)

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