Salford to launch Magic Weekend

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Super League newcomers Salford will have the distinction of launching the Magic Weekend in Edinburgh in May.

The City Reds’ fixture against Harlequins will be the first of three at Murrayfield on Saturday 2 May, followed by Bradford versus Wakefield and the derby between Wigan and St Helens.

The expansion of Super League to 14 clubs means a marathon of four games on the Sunday, starting with the other new boys, the Celtic Crusaders, against Huddersfield. That will be followed by Hull versus Castleford and Leeds versus the Catalans, before Warrington and Hull KR wrap up the weekend.

The extra round of matches is being played in Edinburgh for the first time after two years at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium. Among the innovations this time is a ‘family zone’ around Murrayfield, which the League hopes will establish a new atmosphere for the event.

Luke Burgess is to captain a young and inexperienced Leeds side in their Boxing Day friendly against Wakefield. All four French trialists who have been training with the Rhinos are also included.

By contrast, Wakefield will field a starting line-up all but one member of which has first team experience.

The Wildcats have appointed Tony Drury as their first head of youth performance.

Lestyn Harris, the dual-code international who left Bradford at the end of last season, will make his debut for Featherstone against Halifax on Boxing Day. Harris has taken on a double role at Rovers, as a player and as assistant to the head coach, Daryl Powell.

Joe Westerman has been named in Casteford’s squad to play Gateshead the same day, having recovered from the foot injury that cost him his chance to stake a claim for a place in England’s World Cup plans.