Rugby league World Cup: Serge Ibaka enjoyed his first taste of a new sport

Last Updated: 05/08/13 3:30pm

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Ben Jones-Bishop, Serge Ibaka and Ryan McGoldrick in action (photo NBAE/Mansour)

Ben Jones-Bishop, Serge Ibaka and Ryan McGoldrick in action (photo NBAE/Mansour)

Sky Bet

NBA superstar Serge Ibaka will be keeping an eye out on the rugby league World Cup later this year after being given a crash course in the sport by two of Super League's finest.

Leeds Rhinos winger Ben Jones-Bishop and Salford City Reds veteran Ryan McGoldrick met up with the Oklahoma City Thunder ace in Manchester to show the Spain international the ropes.

Ibaka has a far greater understanding of sports such as American football, however, the 23-year-old enjoying trying his hand at something different.

The mouth-watering World Cup tournament kicks off in October as Australia and England meet at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

"I hadn't played any Rugby League before, and I think it showed, but it was good fun to get a lesson from Ben and Ryan," said Ibaka, who led the NBA in blocks per game last year.

"I kept on wanting the throw the ball like an American football! The boys tried a bit of basketball too and I don't know what needs more work - their basketball or my Rugby League.

"It was great to try a new sport though and I'll have to keep an eye out for how they both do at Rugby League World Cup 2013."

Great fun

"I kept on wanting the throw the ball like an American football! The boys tried a bit of basketball too and I don't know what needs more work - their basketball or my Rugby League."
Serge Ibaka

Jones-Bishop missed the first half of the season following six months out with a blood clot on his lung and he has assured his future remains in rugby league after giving basketball a try.

The 24-year-old is hoping to be in Steve McNamara's England squad come October and he enjoyed being on the same court as Congo-born Ibaka.

"Training with Serge was great fun and it was great to see him in action. He can rest assured that my future very much lies in rugby league though as my on-court skills weren't quite there," said Jones-Bishop.

Ibaka will return to the UK ahead of the World Cup ahead of the Thunder's game against the Philadelphia 76ers and USA international McGoldrick cannot wait for the tournament to get underway.

"With Rugby League World Cup 2013 kicking off on October 26 and Serge coming back for his game just before, there's such an appetite for sport in this city," said McGoldrick.

"Our sports are quite similar as the strengths lie in the speed and agility of the players, but as Ben says Serge can sleep safe with the knowledge that there no room for us on the basketball court."

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