- Team Name: Wolfhounds
- First Appearance: 2000
- RLWC2013 Group: Group A
- RLWC2013 Opponents: Australia, England, Fiji
- Tournament best: Quarter Final (most recent 2008)
Ones to Watch: Pat Richards, Liam Finn and Kyle Amor.
Read more about these great players and why they are ones to watch during RLWC2013.
Wigan points machine Richards played a key role for the Wolfhounds at Rugby League World Cup 2008, and his accomplished goal-kicking and knack for try-scoring should again stand Ireland in good stead.
Richards’ top level experience on both sides of the world, and appearances in Challenge Cup, Super League and NRL Grand Finals, will prove invaluable, and his sheer presence in the squad will provide a confidence boost to Ireland’s younger players.
Richards was named Super League Man of Steel in 2010 and remains one of the competition’s most feared wingers.
Half-back Finn will captain Ireland at Rugby League World Cup 2013, and much of the team’s creativity will flow through him.
Finn plies his trade at club level with Kingstone Championship outfit Featherstone Rovers and has been a mainstay of the national team since making his debut in 2008, and the experience he has gained since the last tournament makes him a genuine threat for Mark Aston’s side.
An organiser and an excellent passer of the ball, the 29-year-old’s form this Autumn could make or break Ireland’s hopes.
Amor enjoyed his finest season to date in 2012 following his loan move to Wakefield from parent club Leeds Rhinos.
The prop forward made the switch permanent ahead of the 2013 season and has taken his strong form with him into Super League XVIII.
An agile runner with a great ability to offload, Amor’s presence in midfield will provide a real boost to the Wolfhounds, who face the prospect of taking on the packs of Fiji, Australia and England in Group A.
A Bit of History
The green shoots of Rugby League have been growing in the Emerald Isle since the formation of the Dublin Blues club side in 1989.
Since then, the Irish game has gone from strength to strength, with 20 clubs now taking part in the all-Ireland summer season.
Rugby League Ireland hopes to enter a team in Super League within the next five years – and a successful World Cup campaign would provide a real shot in the arm.
The Irish made their international Rugby League debut in 1995, beating the USA 24-22 in a St Patrick’s Day thriller in Washington DC.
Drawing on talent from Super League and the NRL, the Wolfhounds qualified for the 2000 World Cup and defeated Samoa, Scotland and New Zealand Maoris to reach the last eight, before losing 26-16 to England.
In 2008 the Irish, bookies’ favourites to finish bottom of their group, once again finished top thanks to a stunning victory over Samoa. The Wolfhounds found themselves just one away from becoming the first Irish team to reach the semi-final of a major international competition, but a place in the record books was denied them by the brilliant Fijians.
This time around, the Wolfhounds will entertain Australia at Thomond Park in Limerick, where an encouraging 3,100 people recently saw their team lose 34-16 to France.
With England and Fiji also in their group, the Irish will once again start as wooden spoon favourites. But the underdogs tag will mean nothing to coach Mark Aston – as any Wigan fan will attest.