WAKEFIELD TRINITY and Batley Bulldogs both have players in Ireland’s train-on squad for the forthcoming European Championship, which doubles as a qualifier for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup in England.
Liam Finn, who will join Trinity’s coaching staff next year and is set to play on with Newcastle Knights, has been named captain for the home games against Scotland on Saturday, October 27 and France a week later – both at Morton Stadium, Santry – and the clash with Wales at Wrexham’s Racecourse Ground on Sunday, November 11.
Trinity’s Scott Grix and Luke Hooley are also included, along with Michael Ward of Batley.
Finn is Ireland’s most capped player, with 24 appearances. He said: “Once again I feel privileged to captain Ireland and can’t wait to meet up with the squad.
“I am excited about these three games, the challenge of the competition and qualification for the next World Cup being up for grabs.”
Finn also paid tribute to former coach Mark Aston, but insisted he is looking forward to working with new boss Stuart Littler.
“What he has done for us over the last few years has been outstanding – working with limited resources, getting the absolute best out of us as a country – and I enjoyed playing for him a lot,” Finn said of Aston.
“He is a massive advocate of international rugby league and helping the sport develop. Now we are on to a new chapter with a new coach and we’ll all try to maintain the improvement.
“It’s great to have Stu involved and – after playing with him for Ireland – I know how enthusiastic and passionate he is.”
The top two nations will be granted automatic passage into the World Cup with the bottom two playing in a further qualification group in 2019.