Old boys return for openers

Noble back at Wigan while Long takes on Saints

Last Updated: 18/11/09 7:32pm

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Noble: return to Wigan

Noble: return to Wigan

Sky Bet

Wigan and St Helens will launch their 2010 engage Super League campaigns by welcoming back familiar faces.

Round one of next year's competition will see Wigan host former coach Brian Noble's Crusaders side while St Helens legend Sean Long returns to his old club with Hull FC.

The games are among the standout fixtures on the opening weekend of February 5-7, although by then Crusaders and three other clubs will actually already have played.

As happened this year, the Welsh side have had a game against Leeds brought forward to before the season officially starts due to the champions' involvement in the World Club Challenge.

Harlequins also play Wakefield on the last weekend of January in order to free up space for the Londoners to face Leeds' world club opponents Melbourne Storm in a friendly.

When the season begins in earnest on Friday, February 5, attention will fall on the DW Stadium as Noble returns to the club he served for three-and-a-half years.

Noble guided the Warriors to within a game of the Grand Final three times but his contract was not renewed when the 2009 campaign ended.

Wigan have since appointed Australian Michael Maguire while Noble decided to take up the challenge of leading Crusaders in their second Super League season.

The Saturday of the opening weekend will then see Long, who left St Helens after 12 mostly glorious years last month, back at the GPW Recruitment Stadium.

The 33-year-old scrum-half won Super League four times with Saints but has moved to Hull on a two-year deal as he comes towards the end of his career.

Flying

Elsewhere in the first week Huddersfield take on Bradford, Hull KR host Salford, Warrington face Harlequins and Catalans Dragons travel to Wakefield.

Leeds tackle Castleford and then take to four the number of games they play before the Storm clash at Elland Road on February 28 by facing Wakefield away and Salford at home.

Catalans, who ended last season with a run of four away games, will also be flying to England for their first two fixtures of 2010.

After their trip to Belle Vue on February 7, they will then travel to Harlequins the following week.

In years gone by Super League has opened with rematches of the previous season's Grand Final but that idea has long since been abandoned.

Next year Leeds will not play the side they have beaten in the last three Old Trafford showpieces, St Helens, until they travel to Merseyside in round 12 on April 24.

Traditional derbies will be played across Maundy Thursday and Good Friday (April 1-2), while all 14 teams will be in action on Easter Monday.

Some aspects of the fixture list are still to be finalised, most notably the venues for Crusaders home games.

Crusaders' opener against Leeds on January 29 will be played at Wrexham's Racecourse Ground but beyond that there is no confirmation.

The other major gap concerns the fixtures for the Magic Weekend in Edinburgh on May 1-2. They will be determined by a draw on Wednesday.

Opening games

Friday Feb 5: Wigan v Crusaders, Huddersfield v Bradford, Leeds v Castleford (all 8pm kick-off)

Saturday Feb 6: St Helens v Hull FC (6pm), Hull KR v Salford (3pm)

Sunday Feb 7: Wakefield v Catalans (3.30pm), Warrington v Harlequins (3pm)

Click HERE for the full 2010 fixture list

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