Castleford centre Channing sets sights on World Cup

Michael Channing tries to get clear during his Castleford Tigers debut against Warrington Wolves. Picture: IAN HARBER

Michael Channing tries to get clear during his Castleford Tigers debut against Warrington Wolves. Picture: IAN HARBER

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Castleford Tigers centre Michael Channing admits that playing a part in the opening day of Rugby League World Cup 2013 would represent a dream come true.

The Wales international is currently on loan at Castleford from parent club London and scored a try for the Tigers in their narrow victory over Widnes on Sunday - in his second game in a Cas shirt.

He is hoping to be part of the Wales squad for the forthcoming World Cup with the Welsh looking to make a winning start to their campaign at the Millennium Stadium on October 26, where they will face Italy, following England’s showdown with Australia under the same roof.

“I’ve never been fortunate enough to play at the Millennium Stadium, but hopefully I can realise that ambition this year,” said Channing.

“I’ve watched a few union games there as a youngster so I know how fantastic the venue is, and I knew right from the start that I always wanted to play there.

“It doesn’t get much bigger than being a part of an Opening Ceremony for such an important tournament. It’d be mad if I was able to take that chance.

“I can’t really imagine what it’d feel like, but I know that I want to be a part of it.”

The day is shaping up to be a truly memorable sporting occasion, with an opening ceremony ahead of the two matches set to signal the start of RLWC2013.

Grand Visionary Solutions has been appointed to lead the initial stage of the official dance programme for the tournament, and they will work alongside pre-match specialists Event360 in delivering a truly memorable experience for supporters this autumn.

The programme is being funded by the Arts Council England, Wooden Spoon, Welsh Government and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, and experienced dancers are being sought to take part in the on-field extravaganza.

Meanwhile, Channing is hoping that on the field the Dragons can earn the victories they need against Italy, USA and Cook Islands in the group stages to progress to the last eight.

“I rate our chances of progression to the next stage of the competition,” he said.

“I’m not for a second suggesting that our group stage opponents won’t be competitive because they’ll be fired up, but I think we’ve got a great side together.

“We just want to win our group, but beyond that I think it’s difficult to speak too much about targets. We can’t get too carried away with what’s in the long term, and risk ignoring what’s in front of us.”