World Club Challenge
|World Club Challenge|
|Current season or competition:
2014 World Club Challenge
|Sport||Rugby league football|
|Number of teams||2|
|World Champions||Sydney Roosters (2014)|
|Broadcast partner||Nine Network (Australia)
Sky Sports (United Kingdom)
|Related competitions||Super League
National Rugby League
The World Club Challenge is an annual rugby league football match played between the champion clubs of the Australasian National Rugby League and the European Super League. The first such match was played in 1976 but did not become a regular fixture until the late 1980s. It was also punctuated in the 1990s by the Super League war but has been held every year since 2000. Sydney Roosters are the current champions, having defeated Wigan 36–14 in 2014. As the World club challenge is a match between the premiers of the National Rugby League and Super League, it is possible for teams from New Zealand and France to win it as well as England and Australia, however, to date only English and Australian sides have competed in and won the World Club Challenge.
The competition began unofficially in 1976 as a match between Sydney's Eastern Suburbs and RFL Premiership winners St Helens. In 1987, another unofficial match took place when Wigan chairman Maurice Lindsay invited Manly-Warringah to Central Park.
The first official World Club Challenge was between Widnes and Canberra in 1989. Three further matches, each involving Wigan, were staged in the early 1990s with the 1994 match being staged in Australia. This would be the last time for 20 years that this would happen.
After the 1994 match logistical issues meant the concept was put on hiatus until it was revived in 1997. With the outbreak of Australia's Super League War in 1995, the World Club Challenge was not staged again until 1997 when the competition was restructured to include twenty-two clubs from the Australian and European Super Leagues. With six rounds in two hemispheres and $1,000,000 prize money, the competition was prohibitively expensive to stage and reportedly lost over $5,000,000. This, coupled with the poor ratings and attendances both in Australia and Europe, led to the competition being postponed for two seasons.
Returning to a one-off match between the League champions in 1998, a World Club Challenge as a show-piece fixture at Ellis Park in Johannesburg was mooted. However this didn't eventuate.
When it was resurrected in 2000, the World Club Challenge was once more played between the winners of the premierships in Australasia and Europe. During this period it was contested annually in the United Kingdom in late January or early February, before the commencement National Rugby League season and the Super League season. Over this period Super League teams dominated the tournament winning 7 of 9 matches, and this led, Australian commentators to often deride the competition, citing the British refusal to play the game outside of the UK, the effects of jet lag on Australian teams who often arrive in England only a couple of days before the game and wintry conditions as reasons for Australian teams' poor performances. In addition, the games were being played at the beginning of the new season instead of at the end of the previous season, so the rosters of both sides had normally changed considerably, therefore the teams that took the field were not the ones that won the respective premierships. For these reasons, it was viewed as merely a pre-season warm up game by most Australasian teams and fans.
Since the 2009 tournament, its popularity has increased with stronger crowds and also with Australian teams taking the concept more seriously, Australian teams were arriving earlier to acclimatize the players and often organising warm up games with other super league sides and this created a much stronger showing and improved results. This also led to an increased movement to having the tournament staged in Australia. During this period, the matches were fixtured in late February, still before the commencement National Rugby League season but in the early stages of the new Super League season.
In mid-2012, a working party was established to look into the feasibility of conducting the match in either a neutral or Australian venue and also looking into the possibility of expanding the tournament. In February 2013, the changes to the tournament were gaining momentum with the NRL and Super League agreeing to begin alternating the World Club Challenge tournament between UK and Australia. These changes were finally confirmed in November 2013, with both parties agreeing that the 2014 World Club Challenge would be the first held in Australia since 1994. In addition, commencing in 2015, the tournament will also be expanded to six teams. Details of exactly how and when this tournament will be staged and what format it will take are yet to be decided. The World Club Challenge return to Australia in 2014 was a success with a solid crowd numbers of just over 31,000, with the Sydney Roosters defeating the Wigan Warriors 36-14. During the game, Sydney's Michael Jennings became the first player to score a hat trick of tries in a World Club Challenge.
List of participants
- Excludes pool games from 1997
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
St George Illawarra Dragons
St Helens Saints
Sydney / Eastern Suburbs Roosters
|Year||Date||Winner||Score||Runner-up||Venue||Crowd||Winning Country||Winning Competition|
|1976||29 June||Eastern Suburbs||25–2||St Helens||Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney||26,865||Australia||NSWRL|
|1987||7 October||Wigan||8–2||Manly-Warringah||Central Park, Wigan||36,895||England||RFL|
|1989||4 October||Widnes||30–18||Canberra||Old Trafford, Manchester||30,786||England||RFL|
|1991||2 October||Wigan||21–4||Penrith||Anfield, Liverpool||20,152||England||RFL|
|1992||31 October||Brisbane||22–8||Wigan||Central Park, Wigan||17,460||Australia||NSWRL|
|1994||1 June||Wigan||20–14||Brisbane||ANZ Stadium, Brisbane||54,220||England||RFL|
|1997a[›]||17 October||Brisbane||36–12||Hunter||Ericsson Stadium, Auckland||12,000||Australia||SL Australia|
|2000||22 January||Melbourne||44–6||St Helens||JJB Stadium, Wigan||13,394||Australia||NRL|
|2001||26 January||St Helens||20–18||Brisbane||Reebok Stadium, Bolton||16,041||England||SL|
|2002||25 January||Bradford||41–26||Newcastle||Alfred McAlpine Stadium, Huddersfield||21,113||England||SL|
|2003||14 February||Sydney||38–0||St Helens||Reebok Stadium, Bolton||19,807||Australia||NRL|
|2004||13 February||Bradford||22–4||Penrith||Alfred McAlpine Stadium, Huddersfield||18,962||England||SL|
|2005||4 February||Leeds||39–32||Canterbury-Bankstown||Elland Road, Leeds||37,028||England||SL|
|2006||3 February||Bradford||30–10||Wests Tigers||Galpharm Stadium, Huddersfield||19,207||England||SL|
|2007||23 February||St Helens||18–14||Brisbane||Reebok Stadium, Bolton||23,247||England||SL|
|2008||29 February||Leeds||11–4||Melbourne||Elland Road, Leeds||33,204||England||SL|
|2009||1 March||Manly-Warringah||28–20||Leeds||Elland Road, Leeds||32,569||Australia||NRL|
|2010b[›]||28 February||Melbourne||18–10||Leeds||Elland Road, Leeds||27,697||Australia||NRL|
|2011||27 February||St George Illawarra||21–15||Wigan||DW Stadium, Wigan||24,268||Australia||NRL|
|2012||17 February||Leeds||26-12||Manly-Warringah||Headingley Carnegie Stadium, Leeds||21,062||England||SL|
|2013||22 February||Melbourne||18-14||Leeds||Headingley Carnegie Stadium, Leeds||20,400||Australia||NRL|
|2014||22 February||Sydney||36-14||Wigan||Allianz Stadium, Sydney||31,515||Australia||NRL|
Statistics and records
NOTE: These statistics do NOT include any matches from the 1997 World Club Championship other than the final.
|Bradford||3 (2002, 2004, 2006)||–||100%|
|Sydney / Eastern Suburbs||3 (1976, 2003, 2014)||–||100%|
|Leeds||3 (2005, 2008, 2012)||3 (2009, 2010, 2013)||50%|
|Wigan||3 (1987, 1991, 1994)||3 (1992, 2011, 2014)||50%|
|Brisbane||2 (1992, 1997)||3 (1994, 2001, 2007)||40%|
|St Helens||2 (2001, 2007)||3 (1976, 2000, 2003)||40%|
|Manly-Warringah||1 (2009)||2 (1987, 2012)||33%|
|St George Illawarra||1 (2011)||-||100%|
|Penrith||–||2 (1991, 2004)||0%|
|Wests Tigers||–||1 (2006)||0%|
Greatest winning margin
Most points in a game by a winning side
Most points in a game by a losing side
Highest scoring match
Lowest scoring match
|Points||Name (club/s)||Appearances||Tries||Goals||Drop Goals|
|36||Kevin Sinfield (Leeds)||6||0||17||2|
|24||Frano Botica (Wigan)||3||0||12||0|
|23||Paul Deacon (Bradford)||2||0||11||1|
|22||Craig Fitzgibbon (Sydney)||1||1||9||0|
Most Points in a Game
|22||Craig Fitzgibbon (Sydney)||1||9||St. Helens||14 February 2003|
Total Tries (2 or more)
|4||Ryan Hall (Leeds)|
|3||Marcus Bai (Melbourne / Bradford)
Michael Hancock (Brisbane)
Michael Jennings (Sydney)
Jamie Jones-Buchanan (Leeds)
Danny McGuire (Leeds)
Darren Smith (Brisbane)
Brett Stewart (Manly-Warringah)
|2||George Carmont (Wigan)
Josh Charnley (Wigan)
Hazem El Masri (Canterbury-Bankstown)
Stuart Fielden (Bradford)
Ade Gardner (St Helens)
Scott Hill (Melbourne)
Andrew Johns (Newcastle)
Jamahl Lolesi (Canterbury-Bankstown, Wests Tigers)
Brett Morris (St George Illawarra)
Martin Offiah (Widnes)
Julian O'Neill (Brisbane)
Robbie Paul (Bradford)
Robbie Ross (Melbourne)
Paul Sculthorpe (St Helens)
Lesley Vainikolo (Bradford)
Anthony Watmough (Manly-Warringah)
Michael Withers (Bradford)
Nick Zisti (Hunter)
Most Tries in a Game
|3||Michael Jennings (Sydney)||Wigan||22 February 2014|
|17||Kevin Sinfield (Leeds)|
|12||Frano Botica (Wigan)|
|11||Paul Deacon (Bradford / Wigan)|
|9||Craig Fitzgibbon (Sydney)|
|8||Cameron Smith (Melbourne)|
Long (St Helens)
Sculthorpe (St Helens)
Soward (St George Illawarra)
|Venue||City||Number of Games||Highest Crowd||Lowest Crowd|
|Alfred McAlpine Stadium / Galpharm Stadium||Huddersfield||3||21,113||18,962|
|JJB Stadium / DW Stadium||Wigan||2||24,268||13,394|
|Sydney Cricket Ground||Sydney||1||26,865||26,865|
- Sky Sports (2009-03-02). "RFL cool on bigger Challenge". BSkyB. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
- Wilson, Andy (3 October 2010). "Wigan prepare to slay Dragons after crushing St Helens in Grand Final". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 24 July 2011.
- Townsend, David (27 September 1992). "Just a Touch of the Old Dart". The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia: Fairfax Media). p. 47. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
- Hadfield, Dave (1998-09-23). "League proposes show in S Africa". The Independent (UK: independent.co.uk). Retrieved 2010-04-24.
- Phil Gould (2006-02-05). "Humbling highlights Tigers' reliance on Benji". SMH. Retrieved 2009-05-16.
- Langdon, Mark (2005-02-04). "Deadly Danny can get St Helens off to a flyer". The Racing Post (London, England: MGN LTD). Retrieved 2009-10-05.
- rleague.com (2012-05-20). "World Club Challenge Expansion Working Party Group". rleague.com. Retrieved 2013-02-05.
- nrl.com (2013-11-18). "World Club Challenge confirmed for Aust". nrl.com. Retrieved 2013-02-05.
- Steve Mascord (2013-02-14). "World Club Challenge to be held in Australia". Canberra Times. Retrieved 2013-02-14.
- NRL.com (2011-05-11). "Final Report: Storm Salary Cap investigation". NRL. Retrieved 2011-10-21.
- "World Club Challenge Statistics". Rugby League Project. 2013-05-16.
- "1997 World Club Challenge Final Statistics". Rugby League Project. 2013-05-16.
- Gallaway, Jack (2001). The Brisbane Broncos: The Team To Beat. University of Queensland Press. ISBN 0-7022-3342-0.
- Rugby Super League website
- telegraph.co.uk website
- RLIF.ORG – Rugby League International Federation
- World Club Challenge Preview
- World Club Challenge Review
- World Club Challenge at 188-rugby-league.co.uk