MANLY. Widnes. Eton. The first two names are steeped in rugby league folklore – but the last?
It has certainly been an eventful few days for Leeds Rhinos who play their first Super League game tomorrow – at struggling Widnes Vikings – since overcoming Australian premiers Manly to reclaim the World Club Challenge.
However, their eclectic mix of opponents continues on Monday evening in rather different circumstances when victorious captain Kevin Sinfield will address the famous Eton College’s Sports Society.
The most successful captain in Leeds’s history follows in the footsteps of such luminaries as Sir Bobby Robson, Sir Clive Woodward, Sven Goran Eriksson and Yorkshire cricketing legend Geoffrey Boycott in being invited to speak at the prestigious occasion.
Rugby league is yet to be even played at Eton which has long been at the heart of the English establishment since its formation by Henry VI in 1440.
However, two of Leeds brightest young talents Zak Hardaker and Ben Jones-Bishop will join Sinfield in holding a training session on their playing fields the following day during the ground-breaking trip to Berkshire.
In a clear PR coup for the sport, demonstrating its growing wider appeal in perhaps the last place anyone would expect, Leeds will venture deep into rugby union heartland.
First Wayne Rooney revealed he was a Rhino, then Sinfield gave a motivational talk to the England rugby union side and now Etonians want the West Yorkshire club to show them how to play rugby league.
All this after Leeds prop Jamie Peacock received his MBE from the Queen on Wednesday. Heady days indeed. However, first and foremost, comes Widnes.