New Zealander Hall, the Doncaster RLFC chief executive, was confirmed in the position by the Rugby Football League yesterday ahead of the All Stars game with England at Warrington’s Halliwell Jones Stadium on June 25.
He will work with coach Tim Sheens, the legendary former Australia World Cup winning chief who has led Hull KR, Salford Red Devils and Widnes Vikings here, and assistant Andrew Henderson, another Australian who initially endeared himself to people in the Broad Acres as a no-nonsense, skilled hooker at Castleford Tigers and Sheffield Eagles.
However, while that duo have become familiar faces in the British game, Hall’s history here goes back much farther. He first came to the UK as a talented winger/centre in the Junior Kiwis squad that toured in 1987. Hall joined Doncaster a year later and essentially never went home.
He became a legend at the South Yorkshire club in three different spells as a player interspersed with stints at Hull KR, Bradford Northern, Leeds Rhinos, Featherstone Rovers and York.
Now aged 51, he is an ideal person to help assemble and bring together the All Stars squad – which replaces the Exiles last seen in 2013 – while facilitating matters so they are in a position to give England a genuine and much-needed test ahead of the home World Cup at the end of the season.
Amiable, knowledgeable and embracing, Hall has helped numerous fellow Kiwis and Pacific Islanders when they have moved to these shores to play rugby league, helping them settle in a foreign country and always being on hand for help and support.
Those are just the sort of characteristics the All Stars might need as they look to quickly and efficiently put together a squad from scratch to face Shaun Wane’s England with minimal preparation time.
Hall, who has helped Doncaster secure three games at the RLWC2021, knows just how to make things happen off the field and, no doubt, he will be working hard to ensure things run smoothly for Sheens squad.
His contacts and player knowledge are excellent and he has recently just completed 18 months’ proud service as the RFL’s vice-president alongside former England football captain Tony Adams MBE and Clare Balding OBE.
And if Sheens does pick some French players in his squad, Hall can even regale tales of his rugby union playing days with Stade Francais in Paris in 1999...
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