Celtic rivals begin World Cup build-up
Scotland and Ireland begin their preparations for the 2013 World Cup this weekend when they kick off the Alitalia European Cup.
The Celtic rivals meet at Meggetland, Edinburgh, on Sunday afternoon with both nations using the tournament as a key indicator in their build-up to next year's World Cup. Both teams also play England Knights at home.
"This now biennial tournament is an integral part of the RLEF's calendar and promises to extend the thrills of the 2010 competition, which served up two one-point margins of victory and excitement until the final whistle," said new Rugby League European Federation chairman Maurice Watkins.
"It is also heartening to see the international game expand into new areas with Edinburgh and Belfast staging matches.
"The support from those cities and hosting clubs is truly appreciated as rugby league continues to raise its visibility and profile at a time when international competition is very much on the agenda.