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The world's best rugby players of either code are heading to Langtree Park
6:06pm Tuesday 8th October 2013 in Sport
THE world’s best players of either rugby code will be gracing the Langtree Park turf on November 2 – 19 years and a day since they last set foot in town.
The mighty Australian side – packed with the biggest names from the NRL and led by skipper Cameron Smith – will tackle Fiji in the Group A clash of autumn’s Rugby League World Cup.
The occasion gives the public of St Helens their first chance to see the famous green and golds in action at the new stadium in what will be a mouth-watering clash.
The game represents something of a coup for the town, St Helens being the only heartlands rugby league borough hosting the Kangaroos, with Cardiff and Limerick being the venues for their other group games, and Wrexham the likely base for their designated quarter-final.
Although they were regular visitors in the era of regular Kangaroo tours, this is the first time Australia have played a World Cup or test match in the town.
Incidentally, the last time the Aussies played Saints was the tour match of November 1, 1994 – a side that remarkably had the only recently retired Steve Menzies in the ranks.
This time around the mere presence of the world’s best full back Billy Slater, powerhouse Greg Inglis and the super crafty Johnathan Thurston is sure to get the turnstiles spinning.
It will be a competitive game too - with Fiji making a good fist of their last tournament in 2008, before eventually losing out in the semi finals.
To add a bit more crackle, they will be skippered by huge former Australian test prop Petero Civoniceva.
There are plenty of other big names in the squad, with Sydney Roosters' Premiership-winning back-rower Boyd Cordner, Sharks Dally M Prop of the Year Andrew Fifita and Canberra Raiders back-rower Josh Papalii the uncapped players in the squad, which also features Cordner’s Premiership-winning team-mate Michael Jennings and Manly’s Clive Churchill Medal winner Daly Cherry-Evans.
Robbie Farah edged out Roosters hooker Jake Friend for the back-up hooker role.
The Kangaroos squad has five players remaining from the team that lost the 2008 Rugby League World Cup Final 34-20 to New Zealand at Suncorp Stadium; Slater, Inglis, Thurston, Smith and Paul Gallen, while Brent Tate was also part of the 2008 squad.
Australia: Cameron Smith (Melbourne), Paul Gallen (Cronulla), Greg Bird (Gold Coast), Darius Boyd (Newcastle), Daly Cherry-Evans (Manly), Boyd Cordner (Roosters), Cooper Cronk (Melbourne), Robbie Farah (Wests), Andrew Fifita (Cronulla), Jarryd Hayne (Parramatta), Greg Inglis (Souths), Michael Jennings (Roosters), Luke Lewis (Cronulla), Brett Morris (St George), Josh Morris (Canterbury), Nate Myles (Gold Coast), Josh Papalii (Canberra), Corey Parker (Brisbane), Matthew Scott (North Queensland), Billy Slater (Melbourne), James Tamou (North Queensland), Brent Tate (North Queensland) Sam Thaiday (Brisbane), Johnathan Thurston (North Queesland)
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