SAINTS skipper James Roby is relishing the prospect of leading his side in the World Club Challenge clash against NRL champions Penrith in February.

The Australian club put tickets for the showpiece event up for sale this morning – erasing any lingering doubts that the game was not going to happen.

The fixture is now definitely in the diary for Saturday 18 February at BlueBet Stadium – and it is one Roby, entering his final season as a player, is looking forward to from a personal and club perspective.

Roby played in Saints’ previous World Club Challenge victory over Brisbane Broncos in 2007, but despite a long career he has never played for the team in Australia.

Roby said: “It is going to be a great experience for everyone – to go over to Australia for a couple of weeks to play St George-Illawarra in the warm-up and then Penrith in the World Club Challenge is a great way to start the year.

“It is a reward for our hard work and the success we have had this past few years. The challenge is there and ready for us.

“We understand that Penrith are a fantastic team and it is going to be a really hard game but we are quietly confident in our own ability on our day can give anyone a run for their money.”

With the British winter biting this morning, leaving frost all around – the lure of finishing off a pre-season campaign with a couple of weeks in Australia is an added bonus for the squad that heads out.

“It will add a bit of difference to the way we finish our pre-season - in Australia with some nice weather.

“It is a great experience for lads who have never been there,” Roby said.

“Also the reward of being crown World Club champions which would be an unbelievable experience.

“We are excited, we are looking forward to it but trying to not get too caught up in it – it’ll definitely get a bit more real after Christmas."