Reports down under confirm World Club Challenge clash and venue as St Helens set to meet Penrith Panthers

Two teams have defined club rugby over the last three-five years on either side of the planet.

In Britain, St Helens have utterly dominated Super League for five seasons. Yes, five.

People forget that in 2018, they looked like ready made treble winners before semi-final shocks left them with just the League Leaders’ Shield, but it was a trophy won by a record breaking points tally of 52.

In 2019, they again finished top and won a first of four Grand Finals in a row.

In that spell of four seasons, the Saints have also lifted a third League Leaders’ Shield in five years as they did in 2022 as well as a first Challenge Cup since 2008 defeating Castleford at Wembley in 2021.

Meanwhile, Penrith have won the Minor Premiership in the NRL in 2020 and 2022 as well as contesting three consecutive Grand Finals against three different teams.

After losing the first, the Panthers have won back-to-back titles with wins over Souths and Parramatta.

So, there would be no greater treat than to see the two battle it out in the World Club Challenge.

The concept has been obsolete since 2020 when Saints met the last back-to-back winners of the NRL, the Sydney Roosters at the Totally Wicked Stadium.

However, it was said after both Grand Final wins that both sides were keen on rebooting the concept in 2023.

Though it has been a turbulent journey behind the scenes, with a report suggesting it came very close to again being axed, it is indeed set to be played according to The Age.

However, it won’t be played in England as is often the case but the Saints will follow in the footsteps of Leeds Rhinos in 2018 and Wigan Warriors in 2014 and will play the game in Penrith in order to not force the Penrith players to not have to leave England after the World Cup only to return again prior to the start of the NRL season.

It should be a great experience for the Saints and a great spectacle.

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