For the first time in 20 years Rugby League’s World Club Challenge match will be played in Sydney tonight as Sydney Roosters host Wigan Warriors at Allianz Stadium. While English clubs have enjoyed overall dominance of this fixture over its history, the Roosters will hope to make the most of home ground advantage.
Coach Trent Robinson has named a full strength side, having prioritised this game over last weekend’s Auckland Nines tournament. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is the only noticeable absentee as he misses out through injury. Captain Anthony Minichiello will lead out his team having been a member of the last Roosters side to play in this event back in 2003.
The Roosters will need to get their game up to speed very quickly having only played one trial so far, after 16 of their players were involved in the World Cup. Their preparations for the match have very thorough, including training sessions with Super League side Warrington.
Wigan coach Shaun Wane will be hoping to lead his side to a repeat of their famous upset win over Brisbane in the early 90’s. Local fans will recognise former Cowboys fullback Matt Bowen – a boyhood Roosters fan incidentally – who makes his debut following his departure from Townsville at the end of last year.
Josh Charnley will provide the main attacking threat for the Warriors, boasting a try scoring rate of better than one per game. The Warriors looked impressive in their warm-up in New Zealand two weeks ago, but face an uphill task to stop the Roosters being crowned champions on their home turf.
Saturday 22nd February, Allianz Stadium Moore Park 20:00
Sydney Roosters v Wigan Warriors