Date: 4/10/16

Ireland are preparing for their up-and-coming 2017 Rugby League World Cup European Pool B Qualifiers against Russia and Spain by arranging home games with Malta and Jamaica.

Rugby League Ireland has recently announced a move to include more players from the domestic competition and those games against the Matlese on 8 October and the Reggae Warriors on 21st, both in Bray, will offer the chance for squad members to get up to speed ahead of the qualifiers.

Ireland played Malta last year and came away with a narrow win and the visitors are hoping to include star man Jarrod Sammut for the return encounter.

RLI director Richard Egan said: “Having more international games against other developing nations is a big part of the growth of the game for us and something we welcome. Ideally, we will see our U16s and U19s also play to make the days into festivals.

“There is a buzz throughout the country because of the announcement of greater opportunity for our domestic players and the games themselves. The local and national media have taken the stories on board and been following up with interviews, which is giving us much needed exposure.”

Egan added: “On top of this, we are excited to host the RLEF annual congress where delegates from across the federation will visit Bray for the board meeting and workshops and watch the World Cup qualifier against Russia. RLIF CEO David Collier will also be in attendance, allowing us to showcase the good work being delivered by volunteers across Ireland.”