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SUPER LEAGUE | History beckons for Catalans and Sammut moves to champs

In this weeks Weekly Wrap, Catalan make historic move for Rugby League, Leigh look to rebuild and Wigan sign a new half back. 

Dragons announce historic game

Catalans have announced a historic game to take place at the home of Barcelona, Camp Nou. The match will see the Dragons face Wigan the week before Magic Weekend, which is the first league game to be played at the 60-year-old stadium.  This isn’t the first time Catalan have played in the regions capital. Next year marks ten years since the first match played in Spain, when Warrington were the visitors against the French outfit, with the Wire winning 24-12.

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Barcelona President, Josep Maria Bartomeu said this on the announcement, “Barça are very pleased to host this Super League game between the reigning champions of the two biggest rugby league competitions in Europe. This will be a grand game between two great teams, and I’m sure there will be a party atmosphere at the Camp Nou. I encourage the Dragons supporters to treat our stadium like their home and for Wigan and Barça fans to also share the experience of seeing rugby league played at the Camp Nou.”

Whilst Wigan chairman, Ian Lenagan said, “This is landmark moment in Super League’s history, and we (Wigan Warriors) are extremely proud to play our part in making history.  Having European rugby league’s two current title holders face each other in the iconic surroundings of the Camp Nou is a mouth-watering prospect and is one that I truly believe will be a historic occasion for the sport.

“I applaud Bernard Guasch and the Catalans Dragons for their ambition and innovative approach to growing the game and the profile of the Betfred Super League.  In the Dragons, we have an organisation who share Wigan Warriors approach to driving the growth of rugby league on the international stage.”

James Rule Leaves Widnes

James Rule has stepped down as CEO of Widnes Vikings following a six-year stint at the club. Commenting on the resignation, Rule had this to say, “It has been an honour to lead Widnes Vikings for six years, so this has naturally been a difficult decision to make. However, I believe it is now the right time for me to step aside, to pursue new opportunities and spend more time with my family, who have been a consistent support in what has been an all-consuming role.”

“Working at Widnes Vikings has been a genuine privilege. The club has faced some real challenges in past seasons, and I am proud to have helped the club to navigate them with the support of our staff, partners and Members. It has been an honour to work with some incredible people, who are totally dedicated to this club and its ongoing success, and naturally I will miss them all.”

Widnes have also stated that they will announce further details in due course, as plans are finalised.

Wigan announce new half-back

Jarrod Sammut has left London and joined Wigan on a two-year deal. The 31-year-old is set to play his first Super League season in five years, following stints at Workington Town, and London. Commenting on the move, Sammut had this to say, “It’s a massive opportunity for myself to play for one of the biggest clubs in Super League. I’m really excited to get stuck in and play my part.”

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Adrian Lam, Wigan’s head coach said, “Jarrod is player who has can produce a little bit of magic and keep defences guessing. He’s a live wire type of half-back, and he’ll add to our options in the halves. Having spoken to him, Jarrod is hungry to show he has what it takes to produce the type of footy he is capable of on a consistent basis for a club the size of Wigan. I’m excited to be working with him and I’m sure all of our fans will enjoy seeing him take to the field in the Cherry & White jersey.”

11 heaven for Leigh

Leigh have signed 11 players in one day, including the signing of Iain Thornley from Catalans,  Stefan Marsh from Widnes and Jack Higginson from Wigan. The Centurions will be looking to bounce back after a poor 2018 campaign that saw them finish sixth in the regular season.

Leigh confirmed all 11 signings on twitter.

Leigh’s chairman Derek Beaumont said, “I am pleased to be able to announce that the Club has now managed to conclude its business with the remaining two players to mutually terminate their contracts. The last five months have been extremely difficult ones and I would like to place on record my gratitude for the unwavering and unequivocal support of my fellow board of directors Mike Latham, Jason Huyton, Steve Openshaw and Matthew Chantler whilst we put the future of the Club at the expense of our personal reputations to be able to reach this point.”

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Rugby League Enthusiast and Sports Journalism Student at the University of Chester. Contributor for the Warrington Wolves Match Day Programme.

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