12 Oct 2022
Ireland’s King brothers ready to fulfil World Cup destiny
George and Toby King prepare to take the world by storm in England.
By Josh Graham
He is not the only new King in town but Ireland captain George thanked the luck of the Irish for being reunited with his brother Toby in their Rugby League World Cup squad.
The King brothers from Huddersfield are fiercely proud of their Irish heritage on their mother’s side with Hull KR prop George, 27, racking up 10 caps and representing his country at the 2017 World Cup.
Centre Toby, 26, made a try-scoring debut in 2016 alongside his older brother in the convincing win over Russia that booked Ireland’s spot at the last World Cup, but he has not been seen since in the Emerald jersey.
Injury scuppered Toby’s hopes of joining George down under five years ago and the new Wigan Warriors loanee at one stage looked to be heading for Shaun Wane’s squad at this tournament having impressed with Warrington and the England Knights before injury and the pandemic intervened.
“It’s really good to have Toby in the squad, it’s always nice having your brother by your side,” explained George.
“Thanks to the luck of the Irish he’s playing for us and I’m really looking forward to it.
“When he made his debut for Ireland against Russia that was my second game and it really brought home that we could both play in a World Cup together and now we’ve got to that stage.”
Couple of Kings
Ready to represent our nation @TobyKing96 x @georgeking9876 #IrelandRL • #RLWC2021 pic.twitter.com/RvpmSVXpei
— Rugby League Ireland (@Irelandrl) October 6, 2022
Ireland Rugby League’s royal family are a tight knit bunch with George and Toby separated by just 16 months and first experiencing life as teammates at local side Meltham All Blacks when they were still at primary school.
The duo can also call upon elder brother Adam – who George previously dubbed ‘the smart one’ and plays his rugby league for amateur side London Chargers - for support along with their proud parents as they prepare to run out together against Jamaica at Headingley on Sunday.
And while much has been made about eligibility with several top NRL stars turning their back on Australia and New Zealand to represent Pacific Island nations, George has no doubts about where Toby’s allegiance lies.
“People normally like a story where we bicker at each other but we're far from it,” explained George.
“We really get on and give ourselves positives and negatives every game where we can both improve.
“I've been fortunate to play with my brother in junior and senior ranks and even at Huddersfield and at Warrington as well.
Ready to take on the world! #IrelandRL • #RLWC2021 pic.twitter.com/BNSouskQEq
— Rugby League Ireland (@Irelandrl) October 11, 2022
“I love that I'm playing for this country, I try and visit at least two or three times a year, I just love it to bits.
“I can't wait to represent the whole nation and put on the shirt. With the way rugby league is and the dynamics, some players flip between nations and whether you agree with it or not, that's the case.
“But what I can tell you is that my brother is raring to go and just as passionate about Rugby League Ireland.”
With the likes of three-time NRL champion Luke Keary and Leeds Rhinos’ beaten Super League Grand Finalists Richie Myler and James Bentley in the squad, Ireland have reason to be optimistic about their chances of progressing from Group C - with games against Lebanon and New Zealand to follow this weekend’s opener - and making the quarter-finals as they did in 2000 and 2008.
Leading them into those matches is Ged Corcoran, the national side’s first Ireland-born coach who served as assistant in 2013 and 2017 having played in 2008 before graduating through the staff ranks and replacing Stuart Littler in April.
“What Ged's done for Rugby League Ireland is unbelievable,” said George.
“Everything from being the water boy, physio - he's done it all. It's rightly so that he gets the job going into the World Cup.
“Ged’s managerial skills and his ability to bring players together is really good. We've had a good few days training and we're really ready now for the first test."
The Rugby League World Cup promises to be the biggest, best and most inclusive event in the sport’s 127-year history with men’s, women’s and wheelchair teams competing in 61 games across 21 venues throughout England. Tickets are available via rlwc2021.com/tickets