The 28th World Club Challenge takes the stage on Saturday, Feb 22 at Totally Wicked Stadium, and features Super League champions St. Helens R.F.C. and NRL winners Sydney Roosters.
This will be the third time for these two teams to meet in the World Club Challenge.
The Roosters finished the 2019 NRL season second with 36 points although they defeated Canberra Raiders 14-8 in the premiership final. St. Helens on the other hand, finished first in the regular season defeating Salford 23-6 in the Grand Final. That was also Justin Holbrook’s final game form the Saints who are taking on the vacant coaching role at Gold Coast Titans.
The Roosters need this win to become the first consecutive winners since the Challenge is founded. That would also be their fifth World Club Challenge title, third time beating Saints.
The Tricolours will have to play without many of grand final stars, including the retired Cooper Cronk and captain Boyd Cordner, who is a late scratching. The Saints also have injury worries with two of their biggest names racing the clock.
Ellery Hanley, a former World Club Challenge winner, said to superleague.co.uk that the WCC will be difficult for the Roosters.“St Helens have got a number of games under their belt in friendlies and now three have gone by in the season, so I think it’s going to be a tough game in terms of it being physically demanding for the Roosters.”
Former Shark Kyle Flanagan will make his club debut in the halves while a fit-again Jake Friend reclaims his starting hooker role.
Fullback Lachlan Coote will miss the game due a injury in round one against Salford, but for the star hooker James Roby this will be his first game since the grand final win. Wales flyer Regan Grace is also out after suffering a head knock last week against Hull FC.
All eyes will be on a duo clash between Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Siosiua Taukeiaho versus Alex Walmsley and Luke Thompson to set the tone of the match and potentially decide the winner.
The World Club Challenge, founded back in 1976, is an annual rugby league competition between the winners of the Australian National Rugby League and the Betfred Super League.Teams from England, Australia, New Zeland, Canada, France and Wales can participate in it.
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