World Club Challenge Preview – Sydney Roosters vs Wigan Warriors
The World Club Challenge returns to Australia on Saturday morning when the Sydney Roosters take on the Wigan Warriors at the Allianz Stadium. It is the first time the match has been played in Australia since Wigan upset the Brisbane Broncos 20-14 back in 1994. This game will be the first time that these two clubs have played each other. It will be the third final for Sydney and the sixth final for Wigan.
With Australia being crowned the 2013 Rugby League World Cup winners, the Roosters will see the game as a chance to enhance the Kangaroos status as the worlds best. The NRL side are currently midway through their pre-season training so the outcome of the game will be a good indication to the coaches of the level that the team are currently at.
The Roosters beat the Manly Sea Eagles 26-18 in the 2013 NRL Grand Final to make it to the WCC and will be hoping to continue where they left off last season. Bringing Sonny Bill Williams back over to league at the start of the 2013 was a big risk for the Sydney based side however it paid off and Williams turned out to be a key player throughout the season. The NRL side have named a strong side to face the Warriors with Williams joining the likes of Anthony Minichiello and Sam Moa in the starting 13.
The Warriors started their 2014 Super League campaign off with a loss to Huddersfield before heading down under. They have been in Australia for nearly two weeks preparing for the match and defeated the New Zealand Warriors 46-22 in a trial match. They have also been training with South Sydney this week so should be primed for the mornings match.
The 2013 Super League Grand Final was played out between the Warrington Wolves and Wigan with the latter cruising to victory in the end. However the game did mark the end of star full-back Sam Tomkins time at the club as he has now made the move to the Roosters NRL rivals the New Zealand Warriors. They English side have recruited well during the off-season and Tomkins replacement Matty Bowen knows all about the Roosters from time with the North Queensland Cowboys. Wigan will be hoping for another big season from 2013 SL top try-scorer Josh Charnley and will be hoping to see him cross the line at the Allianz Stadium.
World Club Challenge team selections:
Anthony Minichiello (c), Daniel Tupou, Michael Jennings, Mitchell Aubusson, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, James Maloney, Mitchell Pearce, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Jake Friend, Sam Moa, Boyd Cordner, Sonny Bill Williams, Frank-Paul Nuuausala, Daniel Mortimer, Aidan Guerra, Dylan Napa, Remi Casty, Kane Evans, Taane Milne, Kurt Kara
John Bateman, Matty Bowen, Joe Burgess, Josh Charnley, Tony Clubb, Dom Crosby, Gil Dudson, Liam Farrell, Ben Flower, Anthony Gelling, Darrell Goulding, Blake Green, Jack Hughes, Michael McIlorum, Sean O’Loughlin (c), Eddy Pettybourne, Dan Sarginson, Matty Smith, Scott Taylor