Rhinos travel to Australia for World Club Challenge
The world's best rugby league team will be decided in the 2018 World Club Challenge which will take place in Australia for only the third time in it's history.
The Betfred Super League 2017 Champions Leeds Rhinos will travel to take on NRL Premiers Melbourne Storm in a match on Friday 16th February 2018 at AAMI Park at 8pm. It will mark the fourth time that these two clubs have met for the title; the first three occasions coming in 2008, 2010 and 2013 with Leeds Rhinos only winning the first time they met which was played at Elland Road in 2008.
It's the first time that the Rhinos will have played the World Club Challenge outside of the UK and they will be hoping to claim a fourth world title, their last of which came in 2014 when they defeated the Manly Sea Eagles. In similar fashion the Storm will be aiming to capture a fourth world championship too their last victory in 2013.
Rugby Football League Chief Commercial Officer and Super League Executive, Roger Draper, said: “The World Club Challenge is long established as one of the biggest clashes in club Rugby League and we are excited that Leeds Rhinos are travelling to Melbourne to represent the Betfred Super League and to take on the current NRL champions at their home ground.
“Super League (Europe) Ltd and the NRL have worked closely with both clubs to ensure that the 2018 World Club Challenge takes place and we are hopeful that this will be one of the biggest and best ever held. Both clubs were worthy champions and I am sure they will provide fantastic entertainment in Melbourne in February.”
Leeds Rhinos Chief Executive Gary Hetherington had spoken publicly about his confidence that the showdown would go ahead said: "Winning the World Club Challenge is the ultimate achievement for all Super League and NRL teams and we are excited to be coming to Melbourne to take on the best club team I have seen.
“Leeds Rhinos and Melbourne Storm have been rugby league’s two most successful teams over the past 20 years and it's fitting for us to come together for the fourth time in the World Club Challenge. Each of the other three games in Leeds have been terrific contests and coming to Melbourne represents our biggest ever challenge. A victory would be the pinnacle in our Club’s 128 year history. We hope all the English living in Melbourne come along to support the Rhinos and our fans who visit the City will have a memorable experience.”
The week before the World Club Challenge the Super League will play it's first ever game outside of Europe when Wigan Warriors take on Hull FC at WIN Stadium in Wollongong Saturday 10th February 2018. The week of the world title decider Wigan take on South Sydney and Hull face St George Illawarra in a double-header at Allianz Stadium. Leeds Rhinos are the third Super League side to go over to Australia at the start of the 2018 season, with their game against Melbourne Storm to decide the world champions.