Rugby international Martin Offiah MBE welcomes rugby league to the Olympic stadium

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- Credit: Archant

International rugby league is coming to Newham and being from East London, I can’t wait.

Rugby has been my life, from watching it, to playing it professionally in London, across the UK and internationally. It is a fast, furious and tough sport that is great to play and amazing to watch, with fast tries and hard tackles.

On Saturday, November 7, England’s rugby league team take on New Zealand at the former Olympic Stadium, as part of a three match test series against the Kiwis, who are the best in the world at the moment.

This will be the first ever rugby league game in the home of the 2012 Olympic Games. England players will be inspired to compete in the stadium where Jess Ennis-Hill, Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford were roared on to Gold medal success at

2012.

Facing New Zealand in the former Olympic Stadium tops a huge year for English rugby and a great day out for sports fans of all ages. rugby league is a fast, fun, family sport and with an afternoon kick off and good value tickets you can expect thrilling sport and a brilliant atmosphere.

I often get asked about the difference between rugby union and league and my answer is that if you like rugby you’ll love watching both. League has uncontested scrums and doesn’t have line-outs so play tends to be faster and more fluid with more tries and dramatic tackles and fewer breaks in the action.

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It is really easy to understand and comes down to raw speed and strength of the players and ball handling skills.

I hope hosting this match will give a boost to the Newham Dockers team, an east London club on the rise.

Rugby league gave an east Londoner like me the chance to play the sport I love professionally. Now it’s giving our current international stars the chance to play at the former Olympic Stadium and experience the home support and atmosphere that the 2012 Olympic legends felt.

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