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28th January 2020, 15:10 | 125

#RFL125 | This week in Rugby League

#RFL125 | This week in Rugby League

This past week marks the earliest stage at which the World Club Challenge has been played with St Helens twice competing in the competition this week in Rugby League history.  

On 26th January 2001, St Helens lifted the World Club Challenge for the first time in the club’s history with a 20-18 victory over NRL Premiers Brisbane Broncos at the University of Bolton Stadium. 

Chris Joynt, Sean Long and Paul Sculthorpe all went over for St Helens while the Broncos levelled with tries from Shaun Berrigan, Phillip Lee and Brad Meyers. In the end, it came down to a drop-goal apiece from Long and Sculthorpe to seal St Helens’ first World Club Challenge triumph at their third attempt.  

St Helens became the third English side to win the competition after Widnes Vikings and Wigan Warriors. However, one year prior, they suffered a heavy 6-44 defeat at the hands of Melbourne Storm at the DW Stadium.  

There have been four Regal Trophy finals held on 22nd January including the first-ever which saw Halifax beat Wakefield Trinity 22-11 at Odsal. The competition would be held every season up until the 1996-96 campaign. Castleford have won the Regal Trophy twice on 22nd January in 1977 v Blackpool and in 1994 v Wigan. Wigan are the other team to win the trophy on that date with a 15-4 victory over Leeds in front of almost 20,000 spectators at Elland Road.

Hull KR and Hull FC both have a Regal Trophy triumph over the other in this week in Rugby League history. FC earned a 12-4 win over their local rivals at Headingley in 1982 while the Robins avenged that defeat three years later with a 12-0 win at Boothferry Park, in front of 25,000 spectators. 

Wigan, Widnes, Warrington and Bradford have all also won the Regal Trophy this week in Rugby League history. Wigan’s 15-8 victory over Bradford at Elland Road in 1993 was the first of four consecutive finals for Wigan – the most consecutive Regal Trophy final appearances by any club. 

This week in Rugby League history also saw the only-ever Captain Morgan Trophy Final take place – on 26th January 1974 - as Warrington earned a 4-0 win against Featherstone Rovers. The competition was discontinued after one season.

It also saw the only ever BBC2 Floodlit Trophy Final Replay take place as Salford beat Warrington 10-5 at Wilderspool. The original Final finished 0-0 at The Willows.

Finally, in 2019, the Challenge Cup saw its first-ever Serbian entrant as Red Star Belgrade travelled to Cumbrian side Millom on 27th January in the First Round. Red Star fell to a 38-10 defeat, in a game which was shown live on BBC Sport. 

Did you know?

January 22: A new resolution was made stating that ‘No club in the Rugby League Challenge Cup, that fails to fulfil its engagements in a proper manner, be accepted as an entry for the following year’.

January 23: A game was held between Union XV and League XV at Headingley. This game was possible after Union lifted the ban on professionals during World War Two, however, they still had to play with Union rules, with 15 each side. 

January 24: Rugby League Hall of Famer Eric Ashton was born today in St Helens, Lancashire. 

January 25: Tom Winnard was fined £10 for causing a breach of Rugby League rules. 

January 26: William ‘Billy’ Batten passed away aged 69. He played for a variety of clubs, but his longest stint was with Hull FC with whom he spent 11 years. 

January 27: Broughton Moor were struck out of the Challenge Cup due to rough play and for a member of their team assaulting the referee. 

January 28: Milan Kosanovic passed away. He was the only Yugoslav-Serb player to ever play in the Challenge Cup Final, in 1963, for Wakefield Trinity. He even had an international competition named after him, which was held between Russia, Ukraine and Serbia. 

Born on this day:

January 22: Brock Lamb (London Broncos), Levy Nzoungou (Bradford Bulls)

January 23: Willie Horne (Former England International), Robbie Farah (Former Australia and Lebanon International), Shaun Kenny-Dowall (Hull Kingston Rovers), Scott Moore (Swinton Lions), Tuimoala Lolahea (Salford Red Devils) 

January 24: Eric Ashton (Former Great Britain and England International), Jamie Lyon (Former Australia International), Jordan Andrade (Hunslet), Vila Halahifi (Hunslet), Brad Fash (Doncaster) 

January 25: Willie Talau (Former New Zealand international), Misi Taulapapa (Newcastle Thunder), Harry Smith (Wigan Warriors) 

January 26: Marcus St Hilaire (Former England International), David Solomona (Former New Zealand International), Ryan Hoffman (Former Australia International), Sione Utia-Katoa (Tonga International), Daniel Igbinedion (Sheffield Eagles) 

January 27: Mike Stephenson (Former Great Britain International), Craig Richards (England Women’s Head Coach), Matt Diskin (Former Great Britain and England International), Epalahame Lauaki (Former New Zealand International), Ben Te’o (Former Samoan International), Sebastine Ikahihifo (Salford Red Devils)

January 28: Gary Divorty (Former Great Britain International), Jordan Kahu (New Zealand International), Elliot Minchella (Bradford Bulls)