Future looking bright for England
Congratulations to the England Academy squad, who won their first test against the Australian Schoolboys on Saturday. Tries from Harry Newman and Harry Smith saw England edge the game 14-8, with Smith picking up the man-of-the-match award.
The young Wigan half stood out all game, adding three goals and a 40/20 to his try ahead of what he hopes will be a breakthrough season. He’s still only 18 so has plenty of growing room but could prove to be a handy backup to Williams, Leuluai and Sammut.
Yorkshire Cup is back!
It’s brilliant to see that the Yorkshire Cup will be returning as a pre-season tournament in 2019. Championship teams Batley, Bradford, Dewsbury, Featherstone, Halifax and York and League 1 Hunslet will be joined by National Conference side Hunslet Parkside.
The inclusion of Parkside is a huge move not just for the club but for the amateur game in general. It’s another big step after last year’s Freesports TV coverage, which was a resounding success. As far as the Yorkshire Cup goes, it would be great to see Super League clubs jump on board. A 16+ team tournament would stir up old rivalries and be a superb concept. Fans would definitely be on board with it too.
Hearn has his say
After plenty of speculation about a potential involvement in rugby league, the Eddie Hearn rumours have somewhat died down. The boxing promoter held talks with Rugby League chief executive Ralph Rimmer but the link seems to have gone cold.
However, Hearn did give his current take on British rugby league, saying the salary cap is what’s holding us back, as well as highlighting that the RFL and Super League clubs “aren’t on the same page”. He’s completely bang on to be fair, particularly with the latter statement. We’re never going to move forward as a sport if no one at the top of the hierarchy can agree or at least be amicable in decisions – the reserves debate is a prime example. We need someone to take a firm grip of the sport, because as it stands the likes of Rimmer and Robert Elstone aren’t doing anywhere near enough.
Smith on the outer
Warrington coach Steve Price announced his squad numbers last week, making plenty of changes. Josh Charnley takes the no.5, while new signings Blake Austin (6), Jason Clark (14), Lama Tasi (16), Danny Walker (21), Jake Mamo (22) and Matt Davis (23) are all in the side’s top 25 squad.
One man not in that top 25 is reported wantaway Morgan Smith. The young hooker or halfback has been rumoured with a number of clubs and seems to be on his way out after being demoted to no.27. I think Warrington are really missing a trick letting him go and he’d be a handy pickup for any Super League or Championship club. London still haven’t replaced Jarrod Sammut, so Smith could be a perfect candidate for Danny Ward.
Big chance for Donaldson
With Leeds’ no.25 shirt still vacant, a surprise favourite to fill that jersey has emerged in the past few days. The Rhinos confirmed on Friday that former Hull KR and Bradford forward James Donaldson is training with them and while there’s no official contract in place, it gives Dave Furner an ideal opportunity to get a first-hand look at him.
He’d be a useful addition to the Leeds team and would add depth to an already impressive forward pack. I wouldn’t be surprised if he broke into that squad ahead of some of the other backrowers either. The 27-year-old has a great work ethic and is a very strong runner, so would supplement the Rhinos’ otherwise expansive style.