21st June 2012
RLWC2013 host nations share spoils on international weekend
All four countries staging games at RLWC2013 were in action last weekend and appropriately all the games were played in the host countries of England and Wales.
Langtree Park, St Helens which will host Australia v Fiji in the tournament next year saw Ireland take on the England Knights. That match was the curtain-raiser for the England v Exiles match. The
Exiles are a team made up of the cream of Super League’s Southern Hemisphere players and featured many players likely to feature at RLWC2013.
Wales and France also went head to head at Wrexham’s Glyndwr University Racecourse Ground. As co-host of the tournament, as well as holding games at Wrexham and Neath, Wales will also stage the opening ceremony and double-header in Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium in 2013.
France, fielding six Catalan Dragons regular players, proved too strong for a young Welsh side full of debutants. One shining light however was the performance of Warrington Wolves (though currently on loan to Castleford) winger Rhys Williams.
Williams score two tries to become Wales’ all-time top try scorer with 13 so far. At only 22 he seems destined to add to that tally At RLWC2013 next year.
As for France, who are hosting two RLWC2013 games, one in Avignon and one in Perpignan, they were good value for their 28-16 win with both Stacul and Mounis scoring twice.
At Langtree Park, England got the required tough examination against an Exiles side packed with past and future Rugby League World Cup players.
Exiles captain and RLWC2008 winner with New Zealand Thomas Leuluai, suffered an unfortunate ankle injury, saving a try from his Wigan team-mate Sam Tomkins and could be out for the rest of the season.
England went on to win 18-10, in a tough game marred by driving rain, though the Exiles will be hoping for revenge when the two teams meet again at Huddersfield’s Galpharm Stadium on Wednesday July 4.
Ireland, who will play Australia at home in Limerick during RLWC2013, got a run out against the England Knights. As with Wales, a young inexperienced Irish team struggled to cope with a Knights side full to the brim with Super League regulars.
The Knights ran out 62-4 winners, with Warrington Wolves Stefan Ratchford the pick of the bunch, scoring two tries and kicking four out of four conversions.