Thursday 20 October 2016 18:43, UK
The fixtures for the 2017 World Club Series have been announced, with Warrington taking on Brisbane and Wigan hosting Cronulla.
The action kicks off on Saturday, February 18 when the Wolves host Brisbane Broncos at the Halliwell Jones Stadium at 8pm. The Warriors then host Cronulla Sharks at the DW Stadium at 3pm on Sunday, February 19. Both games will once again be shown live on Sky Sports.
Super League general manager Mark Foster says the fixtures represent a good compromise between the tough schedules of both competitions.
"We are pleased to welcome Cronulla and Brisbane to the UK to take part in the 2017 Dacia World Club Series," said Foster."The 2016 World Club Series delivered some great rugby and I believe that the 2017 Series will produce two games that will provide great entertainment for Rugby League fans.
"We have worked hard with the NRL to produce a series that will not only excite fans but one that also allows all clubs in the NRL to have a full pre-season."
"Playing against the very best that the NRL has to offer will offer this squad a big test, but it is one I am confident they will rise to."
Following extensive work and discussion between Super League and the NRL, the World Club Series was reduced from six to four competing teams in 2017. This is due in a small part to the unique nature of a World Cup year but also to accommodate the need for each club in the NRL to have a full pre-season fixture list prior to the start of their season.
"The Super League and its clubs have always been very supportive of international club rugby and the benefits it brings," Foster continued.
"If we are to continue to grow the sport to reach new audiences then we all need to work together to continue to produce these wonderful occasions.
"Cronulla and Brisbane have shown their commitment to doing this and the value that they place in taking part in the series and we are excited to welcome them to these shores in February."
Shaun Wane, who coached the Warriors to a Grand Final win in October, is looking forward to the challenge presented by the NRL champions.
"We are excited to welcome the Cronulla Sharks to the DW Stadium in February. They are a quality side who have shown that when under pressure they can come up with their very best rugby," he said.
"Playing against the very best that the NRL has to offer will offer this squad a big test, but it is one I am confident they will rise to. We came very close to beating the Brisbane Broncos two years ago and the squad are very motivated to do well against Cronulla and hopefully win the World Club Challenge for the fourth time ever next year."
Shane Flanagan, Cronulla Sharks Head Coach, echoed Wane's excitement, saying "To have the chance to play over in the UK, for a World Club Championship, is a great opportunity and one the coaching staff and the playing group is really looking forward to.
"Then add to that the challenge of playing Wigan, one of the strongest and most famous clubs in the Super League and it will definitely be an outstanding experience."