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A stadium fit to host the world's best players of either code
SAINTS chairman Eamonn McManus believes it is quite fitting that the world’s best rugby players of either code will be the first to grace Langtree Park following the slotting in of the final pieces of the stadium jigsaw.
The cladding work around the perimeter, complemented by some eye-catching St Helens RFC signage, was concluded this week in good time ahead of November’s landmark World Cup game.
Langtree Park will be the only heartlands rugby league venue hosting Australia during the tournament.
And if the presence of elite stars Billy Slater, Johnathan Thurston, Sam Thaiday, Greg Inglis and Paul Gallen was not enough to pack the fans in, the game itself against an NRL-packed Fijian side promises to be an entertaining spectacle.
McManus believes the World Cup will be a massive event for the 13-man code in this country, and was particularly delighted that Langtree Park has been handed one of the plum ties.
He said: “It is fitting that the first game since the completion of the cladding work will feature the world’s best players of either code.
“Some of that Australia team are the best players in history – let alone at the moment.
“It is a privilege for the town to have them at our ground.”
Australia play their other group games at Cardiff and Limerick, with their likely quarter final at Wrexham and semi at Wembley, so having the Green and Golds on our doorstep is a major feather in St Helens’ cap.
It is also going to create a little bit of history, with the fixture on November 2 (8pm) being the first time Australia have played a full international in the town.
McManus continued: “That is all the more reason why the town – not just St Helens supporters or rugby league fans – should be going to this game. It is a very special event and we are privileged to have it here.
“I am very confident the Australians and Fijians, the team and management, will go away from here with a very good impression.
“Even more than that I want a national and international TV audience to see Langtree Park as it is, a fantastic stadium, filled with spectators with he best players in the world playing there.
“It really is a matter of national pride – for our town to get behind this game.”
The game itself should not be hard to sell, particularly as tickets are priced much cheaper than regular Super League games.
And although a lot of focus is on the superstars in the Kangaroo ranks, the Fijians feature some pretty special players too.
“Australia are naturally the favourites but Fiji have some genuine world class players among the ranks. Newcastle Knights winger Akuila Uate is an absolute flying machine, Waisale Naqama and his brother Kevin, the Sims brothers and Petero Civoniceva are all NRL players.
“It is huge game and the Fijians are entertainers, they will not play a structured rugby – they will play to entertain and score tries,” McManus said.
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