Ireland national rugby league team

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Not to be confused with Ireland national rugby union team.
Ireland
Badge of Ireland team
Nickname Wolfhounds
Governing body Rugby League Ireland
Region Europe
Head coach Mark Aston
Captain Liam Finn
Most caps Bob Beswick (16)[1]
Top try-scorer Phil Cantillon (9)[1]
Top point-scorer Liam Finn (64)[1]
RLIF ranking 9th
Colours
First international
 United States 22–24 Ireland 
(Washington D.C., US; 17 March 1995)
Biggest win
 United States 6–64 Ireland 
(Dublin, Ireland; 10 May 2004)
Biggest defeat
 Russia 64–6 Ireland 
(Dublin, Ireland; 16 May 2004)
World Cup
Appearances 3 (first time in 2000)
Best result Quarter-finals, 2008

The Ireland national rugby league team, known as the Wolfhounds, represents Ireland in rugby league football. The team is organised by Rugby League Ireland. The representative team is dominated by players from the European Super League and sometimes includes players from the Australasian National Rugby League. Ireland is also represented by an Ireland A side, which is made up of players from domestic Irish competitions.

Since Ireland began competing in international rugby league in 1995, it has participated in the 1995 Rugby League Emerging Nations Tournament, the 1996 Super League World Nines, and two Rugby League World Cups2000 and 2008. They have also competed in the Rugby League European Nations Cup and Victory Cup. Ireland A compete annually in the St Patrick's Day Challenge in the Amateur Four Nations.

Irish players have in the past been selected to play for the Great Britain side, one recent example being Cork-born Brian Carney. However, since the Great Britain team was split into individual nations in 2007, it is unlikely that this situation will arise again.

History[edit]

Early years[edit]

Ireland formed its very first competitive team to play against the USA in Washington on St. Patrick's Day in 1995. Ireland won 24–22 with Wigan legend Joe Lydon coming on as a replacement. He had gone to the US as a manager but was drafted in to play. Terry Flanagan, Huddersfield coach and former Great Britain player, along with Niel Wood, Director of British Student Rugby League, coached the team. In August 1995 Ireland beat Scotland at the RDS in Dublin. The game was played as a curtain raiser to the British Charity Shield encounter between Wigan and Leeds. The Irish team that day included former Great Britain player Des Foy. These two victories ensured that Ireland were included in the 1995 Rugby League Emerging Nations Tournament. Coached again by Flanagan and Wood, the Ireland team beat Moldova and Morocco but lost 22–6 to the Cook Islands in the final held at Gigg Lane.

In February 1996 a Senior Irish squad travelled to Fiji to participate in the Inaugural Super League World Nines. Ireland managed to finish 8th out of 16 nations. During the tournament Ireland played Japan, France, New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga. Following discussions between Mal Meninga and Ireland's Niel Wood (this was actually a game of touch football as final preparation for the Nines Tournament which started the next day), an unofficial 'test' was organised between Ireland and the World Champions, Australia on 20 February 1996. The match was played at the Fiji National Stadium and was won by Australia 20–12. Australians playing that day included: Laurie Daley (Capt.), Ricky Stuart, Andrew Ettinghausen, Brett Mullins, Wendell Sailor, Jason Hetherington, Simon Gillies, Robbie Beckett, Mark Geyer and Steve Renouf. In 1996 a second St. Patrick's Day match was played against the USA. Try scorers that day were Thomas "Tom" McCabe and Des Foy. Phelim Comerford kicked 3 goals to ensure another 2-point victory by 14–12. In August 1996 the Ireland team lined out against Scotland and were beaten 26–6. Both teams fielded a few professionals: Scotland included Alan Tait, Matt Crowther, Danny Russell and Darren Shaw. The Ireland team included Martin Crompton, Bernard Dwyer and James Lowes. The rest of the Irish team was made up of a few professionals from the lower divisions in England, a couple of ex-professionals, a few amateurs from the English amateur leagues and players from the fledgling Irish domestic competition.

Flags and anthems[edit]

The Four Provinces Flag of Ireland
England v Ireland 2013 RLWC

The Irish rugby league team is one of many Irish teams that draws its players from across the island of Ireland, it utilises the Four Provinces Flag of Ireland and the anthem "Ireland's Call".

2000 World Cup[edit]

Further information: 2000 Rugby League World Cup

1997 saw more England-based Super League players making themselves available by use of the grandparent rule. The Irish team improved its standards but this development gave less opportunity for Irish-based players to get a chance to play. However, Irish-based players were included in the Irish squad for the triangular tournaments in 1998 against France and Scotland and 1999 against Scotland and Wales. Their success was enough to earn a place in the 2000 World Cup. Finishing top of their group, the Irish eventually lost 26–16 to England in the quarter-finals, but the performance set the scene for future developments in Ireland.

2008 World Cup[edit]

Ireland were drawn against Lebanon and Russia in Europe's 2008 Rugby League World Cup Qualifying Pool Two. Ireland topped the group with a 16–16 draw with Lebanon at Dewsbury on 2 November 2007. The draw meant Ireland qualified for the 2008 World Cup on points difference from Lebanon as both nations gained the same number of group points.

Ireland at the 2008 World Cup.

At the 2008 World Cup in Australia, Ireland were in Group C along with Tonga and Samoa. They lost to Tonga on 27 October in Parramatta, Sydney, but were victorious against Samoa, again in Parramatta, on 5 November and topped the group on points difference. As the group winners, they played Fiji, winners of Group B, for a chance to qualify for the semi-final. Fiji won 30–14 and so Ireland were eliminated.

2013 World Cup[edit]

For the 2013 World Cup being staged in England, Wales, France and Ireland. Ireland have been drawn in group A alongside Australia, England and 2008 World Cup rivals Fiji. Ireland have been granted automatic entry to the tournament due to their strong showing in the 2008 World Cup

Mark Aston the head coach and driving force behind the Sheffield Eagles as been confirmed as the head coach of Rugby League Ireland. His appointment was announced at a press conference in Sheffield on Tuesday 24 May 2011 and he is confirmed in the role for the World Cup in 2013.

2013 World Cup squad[edit]

Ireland Squad for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, where the wolfhounds will play Fiji, England and Australia.


2013 Ireland Squad
First team squad Coaching staff
Manager

Head coach

Assistant coaches


Legend:
  • (c) Captain
  • (vc) Vice captain

Updated: 3 October 2013
Source(s): 2013 World Cup Squad


Results[edit]

Official Rankings as of December 2013[2]
Rank Change Team Points
1 Steady  Australia 1,108.00
2  New Zealand 742.00
3  England 570.00
4  France 233.00
5 Increase  Fiji 201.00
6 Decrease  Wales 173.00
7  Papua New Guinea 166.00
8  Samoa 145.00
9 Steady  Ireland 128.00
10  United States 127.00
11 Decrease  Scotland 101.00
12 Increase  Italy 84.00
13 Decrease  Tonga 54.00
14  Cook Islands 48.00
15  Russia 42.00
16 Steady  Canada 40.00
17 Decrease  Serbia 38.00
18  Germany 30.00
19  Norway 28.00
20  Lebanon 23.00
21 Increase  Ukraine 19.00
22 Decrease  Malta 19.00
23  Jamaica 15.00
24 Increase  Netherlands 10.00
25 Decrease  South Africa 8.00
26  Denmark 6.00
27  Czech Republic 5.00
28 Increase New  Greece 5.00
29 Decrease  Belgium 4.00
30  Latvia 4.00
31  Sweden 1.00
32 Steady New  Hungary 1.00
33 Steady New  Morocco 0.00

Ireland has played in 38 full internationals, winning 18 and losing 17 with 3 draw. As it is not a full member of the Rugby League International Federation, these matches are not considered to be tests. Ireland has also played friendlies against USA, Scotland and Australia that are not included in these results.

[1]

Overall record[edit]

Against Played Won Lost Drawn  % Won
 Cook Islands 1 0 1 0 0%
 England 2 0 2 0 0%
 Fiji 1 0 1 0 0%
 France 5 0 4 1 0%
 Lebanon 3 0 1 2 0%
 Moldova 1 1 0 0 100%
 Morocco 1 1 0 0 100%
 Māori 1 1 0 0 100%
 United States 2 2 0 0 100%
 Russia 3 2 1 0 66%
 Samoa 2 2 0 0 100%
 Scotland 8 6 2 0 80%
 Serbia 1 1 0 0 100%
 Tonga 1 0 1 0 0%
 Wales 6 2 4 0 33%
Total 38 18 17 3 47%
  • Wales def. Ireland 30–6 (22 October 2010) Test match/Friendly international.
  • Scotland def. Ireland 26–6 (16 October 2011) Friendly International test match.
  • Ireland def. USA 26–8 (16 October 2011) Friendly International[3]
  • Scotland def. Ireland 42–22 (24 October 2010) 2010 European cup
  • Wales def. Ireland 31–30 (17 October 2010) 2010 European cup
  • France def. Ireland 58–24 (9 October 2010) 2010 European cup
  • Lebanon def. Ireland 40–16 (8 November 2009) 2009 European cup
  • Wales def. Ireland 42–12 (1 November 2009) 2009 European cup
  • Ireland def. Serbia 82–0 (18 October 2009) 2009 European cup
  • Fiji def. Ireland 30–14 (10 November 2008) 2008 Rugby league world cup quarter final
  • Ireland def. Samoa 34–16 (5 November 2008) 2008 Rugby league world cup group game
  • Tonga def. Ireland 22–20 (27 October 2008) 2008 Rugby league world cup group game
  • Ireland drew with Lebanon 16–16 (2 November 2007) Rugby league world cup qualifying
  • Ireland def. Russia 58–18 (20 October 2007) Rugby league world cup qualifying
  • Ireland drew with Lebanon 18–18 (5 November 2006) Rugby league world cup qualifying
  • Ireland def Russia 50–12 (22 October 2006) Rugby league world cup qualifying
  • Wales def. Ireland 31–10 (30 October 2005)
  • Ireland def. Scotland 12–6 (23 October 2005)
  • England A def. Ireland 36–12 (7 November 2004)
  • Ireland def. Scotland 43–10 (29 October 2004)
  • Ireland def. Wales 25–12 (17 October 2004)
  • Russia def. Ireland 64–6 (16 May 2004)
  • Ireland def. USA 74–16 (10 May 2004)
  • Ireland def. Scotland 24–22 (26 October 2004)
  • France def. Ireland 26–18 (11 January 2003)
  • France def. Ireland 56–16 (26 June 2001)
  • England def. Ireland 26–16 (11 November 2000) Quarter Final of 2000 World Cup
  • Ireland def. New Zealand Māori 30–16 (4 November 2000) 2000 World Cup
  • Ireland def. Scotland 18–6 (1 November 2000) 2000 World Cup
  • Ireland def. Samoa 30–16 (28 October 2000) 2000 World Cup
  • Ireland def. Scotland 31–10 (31 October 1999)
  • Ireland def. Wales 24–17 (15 October 1999)
  • Ireland def. Scotland 17–10 (18 November 1998)
  • France def. Ireland 24–22 (4 November 1998)
  • Ireland drew with France 30–30 (13 May 1997)
  • Cook Islands def. Ireland 10–6 (24 October 1995)
  • Ireland def. Morocco 42–6 (24 October 1995)
  • Ireland def. Moldova 48–26 (16 October 1995)
Brian Carney was instrumental in Ireland's plan before his switch to rugby union

Ireland A[edit]

Ireland Wolfhounds logo

The Ireland A team is selected from players in the Irish domestic competition. This team is administered by Rugby League Ireland. The 'A' team competes each year in the Amateur Four Nations with England A, Scotland A and Wales A.

  • England A def. Ireland A 44–12 (13 August 2010)
  • Scotland A def. Ireland A 10–6 (9 July 2010)
  • Wales A def. Ireland A 34–8 (12 June 2010)
  • Ireland A def. Wales A 28–26 (7 August 2009)
  • England A def. Ireland A 28–12 (10 July 2009)
  • Ireland A def Scotland A 30–22 (13 June 2009)
  • Ireland A def. England A 36–24 (6 September 2008)
  • Scotland A def. Ireland A 28–26 (26 July 2008)
  • Ireland A def. France A 40–14 (7 June 2008)
  • Ireland A def. Wales A 24–10 (19 August 2006)
  • Scotland A def. Ireland A 42–16 (14 August 2005)
  • Wales A def. Ireland A 18–10 (16 July 2005)
  • Ireland A def. England Amateur "Lionhearts" 28–8(3 July 2005)
  • Scotland A def. Ireland A 24–16 (22 August 2004)
  • USA def. Ireland A 41–10 (24 March 2004)
  • Scotland A def. Ireland A 48–20 (9 August 2003)
  • Ireland A def. Wales A 32–28 (21 June 2003)
  • USA def. Ireland A 20–16 (15 March 2003)
  • Ireland A def. Scotland A 70–10 (18 August 2003)
  • England Amateur "Lionhearts" def. Ireland A 32–10 (16 June 2002)
  • USA def. Ireland A 24–22 (16 March 2002)
  • Ireland A def. Scotland A 28–10 (11 September 2001)
  • USA def. Ireland A 19–6 (18 March 2000)
  • Scotland A def. Ireland A (August 1999)
  • Wales A def. Ireland A (August 1999)
  • Ireland A def. Scotland A 21–16 (30 May 1998)
  • Ireland A def. Scotland A 25–18 (25 October 1997)
  • Ireland A def. USA 26–6 (16 March 1996)
  • Ireland A def. USA 24–22 (16 March 1995)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d All statistics are correct as of September 2013, as per RLP.
  2. ^ RLIF; RLIF Rankings
  3. ^ http://www.rlef.eu.com/other/report?RLE00000088

External links[edit]