Rugby League: New fixtures fitted with student help

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The Independent Online
THE fixture chaos that plagued the game last season has been tackled with the help of mathematicians from the Student Rugby League, writes Dave Hadfield.

With academic assistance, the League has drawn up a fixture formula for next season which it hopes will avoid the criticism of last season when clubs found themselves with long periods without home games and clusters of matches against the same opponents.

The lists, released this week, stick closely to the ideal of an alternate home-and-away pattern, with clubs playing each other once in the first half of the season and again in the second half.

Televised Friday night matches have also been scheduled until the end of March, following complaints from clubs and supporters. The first BSkyB match, and the first competitive match of the season, will be between Castleford and Leeds on 27 August, with Wigan beginning the defence of their Stones Bitter Championship at home to Hull two days later.

The major change in an international calendar is that France will not play a Test in Britain. The French will host a Test against Britain and will travel to Wales for a match in February.