Exclusive: Martin Offiah feels London 2012 Olympic legacy lives on

Martin Offiah

Rugby League legend Martin Offiah MBE, one of England’s most successful players, joined amateur Newham Dockers in the first Rugby League training session on the Olympic Stadium pitch.

The team won their first London League Grand Final in 2013, and with the support of a team of volunteers they have created senior and junior teams, giving young people in east London from under-12 upwards the chance to play rugby for the first time.

On Saturday, November 7, a huge year for rugby in England continues as the they take on New Zealand in the first League game ever to be played in the Olympic Stadium.


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Offiah said he was looking ahead to the New Zealand clash: "The London 2012 Olympic legacy lives on. It's all happening in the stadium where the England players will hope to be inspired by the way Mo Farah, Jess Ennis-Hill and Greg Rutherford beat the best in the world to win Gold."

Offiah spoke about the huge boost the Rugby World Cup has given rugby and how London and the Olympic Stadium are hosting fantastic games in a fantastic tournament.

"I'm delighted to publicise the first international rugby fixture to be played in this part of the world. I'm a Hackney-born lad myself and I will be here in November to cheer on England against a formidable New Zealand team.

Offiah encourages big attendance

Former England winger Offiah was born in east London and ended his career as the third highest Rugby League try scorer of all time with 501, and jointly holds the record for tries scored in an England game.

The 48-year-old believes the Olympic Stadium is the perfect way to encourage more interest in rugby: "I will be here to watch England play New Zealand on November 7 and I would encourage everyone to come along.

"This is a great way to be inspired and sign up to play rugby. Newham Council and Rugby League are working closely together and we can expect to see more and more youngsters playing the sport in the years to come."

On the Rugby World Cup, Offiah added: "It's been a fantastic World Cup. Japan lit the touch paper with their immense victory over South Africa. The tier two nations have played fantastic rugby and really closed the gap on the rest of the big countries.

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Pressure now on England

"It's disappointing that England did not do as well as we would have liked and the exit has put a lot of pressure on the coaching team and governing body as a whole.

"I hope this stadium will be full in November for the fixture against New Zealand. I hope fans will back the team, feed into the occasion and take something positive away from the experience."

England face New Zealand in the Olympic Stadium on November 7 in the second of a three-match test series, which starts at the KC Stadium in Hull on Sunday November 1 and concludes at the DW Stadium in Wigan on Saturday November 14.

Tickets to England v New Zealand at the Olympic Stadium on November 7 cost £22 for adults and £10 for concessions and are available at www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk or via the Rugby League Ticket Hotline on 0844 856 1113.

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