World Club Challenge Preview: St Helens v South Sydney

All eyes will be on Langtree Park on Sunday evening, as the World Club series comes to a conclusion with the clash between St Helens and South Sydney.

This is Saints’ first appearance in the World Club Challenge since their victory over Brisbane in 2007, and they will be keen to claim the crown of World Champions.

The occasion is set to be glamorous, with a full house confirmed at Langtree Park, and Russell Crowe, part owner of the Rabbitohs, to be attendance.

Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook and Luke Thompson replace Lance Hohaia and Greg Richards in the Saints squad.

Bunnies’ coach Michael Maguire has named his starting 13, but his interchange bench is yet to be decided. The starting team is full of big names, with Greg Inglis, Isaac Luke and George Burgess amongst the names which will be familiar to British fans.

Prediction:

This should be an exciting clash, but there can really only be one winner. Souths by six points or less.

St Helens (19-man squad):

Jonny Lomax, Tommy Makinson, Jordan Turner, Josh Jones, Adam Swift, Travis Burns, Mose Masoe, James Roby, Kyle Amor, Atelea Vea, Jon Wilkin, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Alex Walmsley, Mark Flanagan, Mark Percival, Luke Thompson, Paul Wellens, Joe Greenwood, Andre Savelio.

South Sydney Rabbitohs (interchange to be decided):

Greg Inglis, Alex Johnston, Dylan Walker, Bryson Goodwin, Joel Reddy, Luke Keary, Adam Reynolds, George Burgess, Issac Luke, David Tyrrell, Glenn Stewart, John Sutton, Jason Clark.
Interchange from: Thomas Burgess, Tim Grant, Chris Grevsmuhl, Ben Lowe, Cameron McInnes, Chris McQueen, Daryl Millard.

St Helens – previous World Club Challenge appearances

James Roby (2007, St Helens v Brisbane, Won), Paul Wellens (2007, St Helens v Brisbane, Won, 2001, St Helens v Brisbane, Won, 2000, St Helens v Melbourne, Lost), Jon Wilkin (2007, St Helens v Brisbane, Won).

St Helens coach Keiron Cunningham takes charge of his first World Club Challenge, in only his third game as head coach of the club. Cunningham played for Saints in two previous World Club Challenges – in 2001 (v Brisbane, Won) and 2007 (v Brisbane, Won).

South Sydney Rabbitohs – previous World Club Challenge appearances

Greg Inglis (2010, Melbourne v Leeds, Won), Glenn Stewart, (2012, Manly v Leeds, Lost), (2009, Manly v Leeds, Won).

Souths coach Michael Maguire takes charge of his second World Club Challenge, having previously coached Wigan in the Warriors’ 2011 loss to St George Illawarra Dragons.

St Helens qualified for this year’s World Club Challenge by beating Wigan Warriors 14-6 in the Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford, Manchester, on 11 October, 2014. Attendance: 70,102.

South Sydney Rabbitohs qualified for this year’s World Club Challenge by beating Canterbury Bulldogs 30-6 in the NRL Premiership Grand Final at ANZ Stadium, Sydney, on 5 October, 2014. Attendance: 83,833.

WORLD CLUB CHALLENGE HISTORY

The first World Club Championship/Challenge match was on Tuesday, 29 June 1976 when Eastern Suburbs (now Sydney Roosters) beat St Helens 25-2 at the Sydney Cricket Ground before a crowd of 26,856. The Saints had won the Premiership in 1975-76, while Easts were the 1975 Australian Premiership Grand Final winners.The one-off match was given little official status and there were no further meetings between the countries’ top teams until Wigan met and beat Manly 8-2 at Central Park on 7 October 1987 in the re-styled World Club Challenge. Wigan qualified as the 1986-87 Division One champions and Manly as Australia’s Minor Premiership (league leaders) winners, although they did win the Grand Final just 10 days before meeting Wigan. The World Club Challenge was given full International Board recognition in 1989 and was played at irregular intervals up to 1994 between the British champions and Australia’s Grand Final winners. In 1997 there was a Super League World Club Championship involving 22 clubs. There was a gap of a few years before the World Club Challenge was restored in 2000 with a match between Britain and Australia’s Grand Final winners. British clubs have won 12 of the 20 World Club Challenge matches since 1987.

World Club Challenge 1987-2014

7/10/87 Wigan 8 Manly 2 (Central Park, Wigan) Attendance: 36,895
10/10/89 Widnes 30 Canberra 18 (Old Trafford, Manchester) Attendance: 30,786
2/10/91 Wigan 21 Penrith 4 (Anfield, Liverpool) Attendance: 20,152
30/10/92 Brisbane 22 Wigan 8 (Central Park, Wigan) Attendance: 17,746
1/6/94 Wigan 20 Brisbane 14 (ANZ Stadium, Brisbane) Attendance: 54,220
22/1/00 Melbourne 44 St Helens 6 (JJB Stadium, Wigan) Attendance: 13,394
26/1/01 St Helens 20 Brisbane 18 (Reebok Stadium, Bolton) Attendance: 16,041
1/2/02 Bradford 41 Newcastle 26 (McAlpine Stadium, Huddersfield) Attendance: 21,113
14/2/03 Sydney Roosters 38 St Helens 0 (Reebok Stadium, Bolton) Attendance: 19,807
13/2/04 Bradford 22 Penrith 4 (McAlpine Stadium, Huddersfield) Attendance: 18,962
4/2/05 Leeds 39 Bulldogs 32 (Elland Road, Leeds) Attendance: 37,028
3/2/06 Bradford 30 Wests Tigers 10 (Galpharm Stadium, Huddersfield) Attendance: 19,207
23/2/07 St Helens 18 Brisbane 14 (Reebok Stadium, Bolton) Attendance: 23,207
29/2/08 Leeds 11 Melbourne 4 (Elland Road, Leeds) Attendance: 33,204       
1/3/09 Manly 28 Leeds 20 (Elland Road, Leeds) Attendance: 32,569
28/2/10 Melbourne 18 Leeds 10 (Elland Road, Leeds) Attendance: 27,697
27/2/11 St George Illawarra 21 Wigan 15 (DW Stadium, Wigan) Attendance: 24,268
17/2/12 Leeds 26 Manly 12 (Headingley Carnegie, Leeds) Attendance: 21,062
22/2/13 Leeds 14 Melbourne 18 (Headingley Carnegie, Leeds) Attendance: 20,400
22/2/14 Sydney Roosters 36 Wigan 14 (Allianz Stadium, Sydney) Attendance: 31,515

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