The sixth annual University Rugby League Origin game takes place on Sunday, February 6, 3pm kick-off at Loughborough University, returning after a year’s absence owing to the global pandemic in 2021.
The South will take on the North in the annual clash, with a place in the England Universities squad at stake.
The teams have been selected from players who competed in the Inter-Regional Games in November and is the last phase in the selection process for the England Universities team, with Head Coach Richard Tate tasked with selecting 26 players for the national team.
Richard Tate, England Universities Head Coach said: “The Origin Coaches Adam Houston, Jack Howieson (North) and Ben Whincup and Mark Sloan (South) have worked hard over the last three weeks to prepare the squads ahead of the game and once again their commitment to the Universities representative programme has been superb.
“Special mentions should also go to Chris Chatten (North) and Ryan Cousins (South) who, as team managers, have handled a lot of the organisation and allowed their coaches to focus on preparation for the game.”
University Rugby League Origin Game 🏴
— England Universities Rugby League 🏴🏉 (@EnglandUnisRL) February 1, 2022
Both sides feature a large number of fresh faces, which is to be expected given the year’s absence owing to the Pandemic.
Tate will be familiar with at least two faces in the South squad, Ben Foskett and Michael Holden, who were selected for the 2020 England squad but was unable to pull on the jersey owing to lockdown and the suspension of the programme.
Similarly, the North features Ben Gray and Sean Croston, both of whom have played for England for multiple seasons and Ben Bradshaw who was a pick for the 2020 squad. Both sides have plenty of talent to draw from with players from the professional game taking part alongside regular BUCS players.
Tate added: “Myself and Kevin Deighton (Assistant Coach) are looking forward to the game and seeing how all the players perform in the game and I am sure they will give us plenty of selection headaches to take away over the coming week.”
You can follow updates from the game live @EnglandUnisRL on Twitter and facebook.com/universityrl.