DATE: Sunday, February 22.
VENUE: Langtree Park.
KICK-OFF: 19:00 (UK time).
St. Helens (from): 1. Jonny Lomax, 2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Jordan Turner, 4. Josh Jones, 5. Adam Swift, 6. Travis Burns, 8. Mose Masoe, 9. James Roby, 10. Kyle Amor, 11. Atelea Vea, 12. Jon Wilkin, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 14. Alex Walmsley, 15. Mark Flanagan, 17. Mark Percival, 18. Luke Thompson, 20. Paul Wellens, 21. Joe Greenwood, 25. Andre Savelio.
South Sydney Rabbitohs: 1 Greg Inglis, 2 Alex Johnston, 3 Dylan Walker, 4 Bryson Goodwin, 5 Joel Reddy, 6 Luke Keary, 7 Adam Reynolds, 8 George Burgess, 9 Isaac Luke, 10 Dave Tyrrell, 11 Glenn Stewart, 12 John Sutton, 13 Jason Clarke. Subs (from): 14 Daryl Millard, 15 Ben Lowe, 16 Chris McQueen, 17 Thomas Burgess, 18 Tim Grant, 19 Cameron McInnes, 20 Chris Grevsmuhl.
St Helens and South Sydney Rabbitohs will contest the main event of this weekend’s World Club Series, with the winner of the clash at Langtree Park on Sunday night officially crowned as the best team in the world.
Both sides overcame fierce local rivals in their respective finals – Saints overcame the early loss of Lance Hohaia, their sole starting half back in the game, to beat Wigan in a tempestuous clash at Old Trafford, while the Sam Burgess-inspired Souths produced a late rally to run out 30-6 winners over Sydney Roosters.
Australian clubs have dominated the competition in recent years, winning five of the last six World Club crowns, with Leeds the only exception from Super League, beating Manly Sea Eagles at Headingley in 2012.
But St Helens, winners of the title in 2001 and 2007, have begun the defence of their Super League title positively with a hard-fought 18-7 win over Catalans in the opening round and a 54-6 demolition of Salford in the second round of fixtures last week – they will be in confident mood.
New head coach Keiron Cunningham, who replaced Nathan Brown at the end of last season, and assistant coach Sean Long were amongst the St. Helens sides which won the World Club Challenge in on ‘01 and ‘07 and will be looking for their first piece of silverware as coaches this weekend.
Former Wigan head coach Michael Maguire is in charge of the Australian side and has lead them to the play-offs in each season since his move from Super League in 2011, eventually culminating with a long-awaited first Grand Final win for 43 years last October.
Saints head coach Kieron Cunningham is excited ahead of the clash and told the BBC: “There have been two great performances for me leading up to this and we’re looking forward to it.
“It’s a really special event and it is great to do it with the six teams involved – I think its a really good spectacle worldwide.”
Meanwhile Souths coach Michael Maguire said: “We’ve got a big trophy to play for and we’re really looking forward to ripping in on Sunday.
“The way they play is a very powerful game with their big forwards, so we’ve just got to make sure we do the things we do well.”