Ireland’s Rugby League World Cup campaign has begun in earnest with a visit to the University of Central Lancashire in Preston, where the squad will train during the competition.
As the countdown to the World Cup continues, the university welcomed Ireland’s head coach Mark Aston, general manager Gordon Matthews and player/coach Ged Corcoran to UCLan Sports Arena, which has been selected as the team’s official training venue.
The squad will use the arena’s rugby pitches and strength and conditioning suite, whilst the university’s recently-refurbished Westleigh Conference Centre will be available to the team as an area for relaxation.
Aston was delighted with the reception and said: “We’ve had a warm welcome from UCLan.
“The facilities at the arena are fantastic and I’m looking forward to bringing the full squad back with me in October.
“The first game is against Fiji in Rochdale on October 28 and the facilities at UCLan will enable us to be fully prepared going into that game. I hope our presence will boost interest in rugby league within the local community.
“We want to give something back to Preston by linking up with local schools and clubs during our stay.”
UCLan is the only location in Lancashire to be chosen as a host venue for the 14-nation tournament.
Academic director of sport at UCLan Dr Adrian Ibbetson said: “We are proud to host the Irish squad.”
Leyland Warriors RLFC coach Phil Roberts also met the Irish delegation and said: “I’m sure with Preston playing such a big part, it will provide a lasting legacy for rugby league in this area.”