Super League seeking expanded World Club Challenge

Date published: Saturday, March 17, 2012

A delegation of Stobart Super League officials and club representatives is to visit Australia to discuss exciting proposals to expand the prestigious World Club Challenge to a six-team competition.

The concept, which will see the top three Super League clubs take on the three best performers from the NRL, will be considered at meetings Down Under over the next few months.

Representatives of the 14 Stobart Super League clubs debated the proposals at their two-day conference at Harrogate this week when Super League Chief Executive Nigel Wood received widespread support for the plans to expand the Euro-Australasian competition.

“The Super League clubs are excited by the prospect of increased opportunities to test themselves against the best sides in the Australian competition,” said Wood.

“The World Club Challenge has grown in prestige and stature over the last 12 years, during which time playing standards across both competitions have improved.

“As we saw last month with Leeds Rhinos’ fine victory over NRL Grand Final winners Manly Sea Eagles, there is a genuine hunger to see clubs from Super League and the NRL go head to head.

“There are some obstacles to be overcome but nothing insurmountable: all the issues and opportunities such as timings, format and venues will be discussed in our face-to-face meetings with the NRL and NRL clubs over the next few months.”

The World Club Challenge was first contested in 1987 but has been played on an annual basis since 2000, with every match taking place in England.

At their meeting at Harrogate, the Super League clubs gave their full support to the rule changes and amendments introduced for the 2012 season by the RFL’s Law Committee, a body made up of administrators, coaches and players.

The clubs are also considering their position regarding the newly-formed Super League players’ union, League 13, and have requested more information on the organisation’s aims and operational functionality. The clubs and RFL will hold further discussions about League 13 over the next few weeks.