Rugby League: Irish call-up for Sheffield Eagles new boy

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SHEFFIELD Eagles new signing Colton Roche is in line to make his debut for Ireland.

Mark Aston, who coaches Eagles and Ireland, has included back row forward Roche in a 30-man squad for the autumn internationals.

Eagles hooker Pat Smith and winger Tim Bergin join Roche, who signed from Leeds Rhinos this week, in the build up to Alitalia European Cup.

The call-up for Bergin is a boost for a player who made only one appearance for the Eagles last season because of injury.

Aston includes 13 uncapped players including seven from Ireland’s domestic competition

He said: “I am looking forward to this year’s Alitalia Cup as we are bringing through some new faces who will get their chance to showcase their skills in a good tournament.”

Four Eagles players are in the Scotland squad, hooker Andrew Henderson, back rower Alex Szostak and props Jack Howieson and Mitchell Stringer.

Scotland and Ireland face each other in the opening game of the Euro Cup in Edinburgh on Sunday 14 October. Prior to that the squads will be cut down to 24 players.

Meanwhile, Eagles chairman Ian Swire has confirmed the Championship Grand Final winners are contemplating putting forward an application for a Super League licence.

“We’re looking seriously at doing it because Sunday’s win has given us a huge amount of credibility,” he said.

“We’ve got the team on the field who we feel can compete in the Super League but we need to build a fan base.”