Wigan Warriors clash with Catalans Dragons will go down in history says Kris Radlinski
Kris Radlinski believes today’s historic showdown will go down in Wigan’s history alongside their cross-code challenge with Bath and their epic win in Brisbane.
Fans old enough to remember those events in the mid-90s - as well as their friendly with Warrington in Milwaukee, USA - still speak fondly of the times when Wigan did something radically different.
And he believes their match at Barcelona’s Nou Camp against Catalans will be talked about for years.
“When we first heard about playing in Barcelona, I thought it was fantastic,” said the Warriors’ executive director. “They didn’t tell us it was the Nou Camp, I just thought it was a dodgy stadium on the edge of the town!
“But everyone is talking about it, it’s a real coup to play at the Nou Camp. People talk about Milwaukee and Brisbane in ‘94 and the games with Bath... this is one of those games you’ll look back on and say, ‘I was there’.
“This is one they will talk about for years to come. This is an amazing honour... you don’t expect rugby league to be played at the home of Barcelona.”
Wigan trained at the University of Barcelona yesterday morning and then after lunch headed into the city centre for a fans event only slightly dampened by the easing rain.
Catalans moved this game from Perpignan after receiving an invitation from Barca following their Challenge Cup win last August.
They invited the Warriors, who themselves have moved home matches to London and even Wollongong, Australia, in recent seasons.
Asked whether he would like more clubs to take matches on the road, Radlinski (inset) said: “It’s good for the game - you have to be brave and know you won’t please everyone - but if we’re serious about growing you have to push the boundaries.
“We should be proud of the fact we’re innovative and take it away. Games like this can only help the profile.
“It’s difficult - when we first did it we had season ticket holders who complained and I understand why. But I also have fans asking, ‘Where are we going next?’ - they plan their trips around it.
“We pushed the boundaries with Wollongong and it’s spreading the brand and we’re showing fans will come with us.
“There are 26 senior officials including the president coming to the game, and hopefully it’s a spectacle of the game and people of this region can fall in love with our sport.”