FAR & WIDE: Number Five

By STEVE MASCORD

NEXT year’s World Club Challenge will remain in the UK but Qatar is under consideration to host a six-team competition in 2014.

That’s the news that Far & Wide can report from recent talks in the UK between South Sydney chief executive Shane Richardson and leading English officials Nigel Wood, Ian Lenagan and Gary Hetherington.

Richardson was representing a working party appointed by NRL clubs charged with looking into the potential to expand the WCC, which has been played in the UK with just two teams since 2000.

“We want to expand the competition to at least three teams from each hemisphere and we held talks to that end,” Richardson told Far & Wide.

“We also want to look into playing it in venues that are seeking such events, such as Hawaii, Las Vegas, Dubai and Qatar – as well as in Sydney.

“I haven’t had the chance to report back to the NRL clubs yet but I know the guys I spoke to have gone back to Super League clubs with a number of options.”

Richardson said it was too late to plan for 2013 and the competition would stay in its current format. It’s understood Australian clubs will split any profits 16 ways and have strongly suggested Super League teams do likewise – even though there is unlikely to be as many changes in European participants from one year to the next.

US company premier sports wants to take the WCC to Los Angeles.

Richardson also attended to club business while in the UK. Talks between Souths and Wigan halfback Brett Finch have led to nought.

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FORMER Sydney Roosters, Warriors and North Queensland halfback Grant Rovelli is set to be Craig Gower’s halves partner for Italy in next year’s World Cup.

Rovelli told Far And Wide in Mackay at the weekend – where he played for the Cutters in the curtain-raiser to the Canterbury-Melbourne game – he had been in talks with coach Carlo Napolitano and was keen as long as he could get away from work.

“I played one international against Greece a few years ago and really enjoyed it,” he said.

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THE British Amateur Under 23s have just returned from a pioneering tour of Jamaica and last week beat Jamaica A – featuring many members of the full national side – 56-28 in Spanish Town.

The previous clash between the sides saw the tourists win 54-10.

Filed for: RUGBY LEAGUE WEEK

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