Dual code superstar Jason Robinson will be proud to represent his family roots when he links up with the Jamaica Rugby League squad for the first time ahead of next Sunday’s international against the England Knights at Emerald Headingley.
Robinson, whose father is Jamaican, accepted a position as Joint Operations Manager after the Reggae Warriors secured a place in the 2021 Rugby League World Cup with a famous win against the United States last autumn.
The game against the England Knights has been arranged as part of their preparations for the World Cup – both to provide a high-quality fixture for the team, and also to begin the process of engaging with Jamaican communities in the North of England and beyond.
“Not many people associate Jamaica with Rugby League, but this could be a great story for the 2021 World Cup,” said Robinson – who is to present the Harry Sunderland Award to the man of the match in Saturday’s Betfred Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford, having won the award in the first Grand Final playing for Wigan against Leeds in 1998.
“The game has been played in Jamaica for a number of years now, and there are a lot of players in England who are proud of representing their Jamaican heritage – as they showed with their performances in qualifying for the World Cup last year.
“This game against the Knights is a great opportunity for the team to play in England, and there has already been a lot of work in terms of introducing the Jamaica Rugby League team to the many people with Jamaican heritage in England.”
Jamaica’s head coach Romeo Monteith and his assistant Jermaine Coleman have named a 20-man squad which includes one high-profile new recruit to the cause in Michael Lawrence, the long-serving Huddersfield Giants forward.
Lawrence’s Giants team-mate Jordan Turner has also pledged his support to the Reggae Warriors in the build-up to 2021, although he is ruled out of the Knights fixture by injury.
The squad also includes Ashton Golding, who was man of the match in the World Cup qualifier and ended the 2019 season playing for Featherstone Rovers on dual registration from Leeds; Ben Jones-Bishop of Wakefield Trinity; and James Woodburn-Hall, the former Leeds University student who starred for Halifax in their run to the semi finals of the Coral Challenge Cup.
There are two players from Duhaney Park Red Sharks, the Kingston club who have been Jamaica’s domestic champions for the last seven years – Khamisi Mckain and Jenson Morris.
Paul Anderson, the England Knights head coach, will name a 19-man squad next Tuesday.
Mo Agoro (Newcastle Thunder)
Jordan Andrade (Dewsbury Rams)
Alex Brown (Dewsbury Rams)
Joe Brown (Newcastle Thunder)
Omari Caro (London Skolars)
Mason Caton-Brown (unattached)
Jymel Coleman (London Skolars)
Joel Farrell (Sheffield Eagles)
Ashton Golding (Leeds Rhinos)
Greg Johnson (Salford Red Devils)
Ben Jones-Bishop (Wakefield Trinity)
Michael Lawrence (Huddersfield Giants)
Khamisi Mckain (Duhaney Park Red Sharks)
Jon Magrin (Bradford Bulls)
Jenson Morris (Duhaney Park Red Sharks)
Ross Peltier (Bradford Bulls)
Jodie Sherrife (Dewsbury Rams)
Keenan Tomlinson (Batley Bulldogs)
Danny Thomas (Dewsbury Celtic)
James Woodburn-Hall (Halifax)