Rugby in pubs 'just grips you' says rugby league legend Kevin Sinfield

By Liam Coleman

- Last updated on GMT

Icon: Kevin Sinfield has more points than any other player in Super League history
Icon: Kevin Sinfield has more points than any other player in Super League history
With the most exciting Super League season in years now under way, rugby league legend and Sky Sports pundit Kevin Sinfield tells us who he predicts will finish the season as champions and why the place to see the action unfold is in the pub.

In September, as the previous Super League season drew to a close, only three points separated the top four teams. It was billed by many as the most exciting Rugby League season ever seen.

Yet the man who has made more appearances in Super League and scored more points in the competition than anyone else in its history believes this season is set to even top what was seen in 2016.

"I'm really looking forward to this season, with the competition going from strength to strength. If you go into any game slightly off, you will get beat and that shows the quality of the competition," Leeds Rhinos legend Kevin Sinfield says.

"Warrington's form last season was outstanding and they were unlucky not to win the trophy; Wigan, as always, will be consistent; Hull won the Challenge Cup last season; St Helens and Leeds will also both be challenging; and Castleford have made steady progress in the past few years so don't rule out them coming from nowhere."

But is Sinfield making a prediction for which team will triumph? He is reluctant, but eventually concedes he has a gut feeling that: "Wigan or Warrington will win the league, but Castleford could be a massive threat and will be there or thereabouts".

Good-natured rivalry key

Whichever way such an unpredictable season does turn, Sinfield has little doubt that the place to be experiencing it will be in the pub and that licensees providing a superb atmosphere is key for the growth of the sport.

"It's a really big attraction for people in pubs," he says. "Especially when you get the big screens out and there's a good atmosphere from the good-natured rivalry between teams."

This season sees TV coverage for the matches take place on a Thursday and Friday night – meaning that the games are on at a prime time for a phenomenal atmosphere in the pub.

"To watch the game with friends on the big screen is a really good way to spend Thursday or Friday evening," Sinfield says.

He also feels that, for this reason, pubs are the key place for the sport growing out of its heartlands across the north of England and being popular across the whole country.

"As people spread around the country and move with jobs, they take the game with them. They will then invite friends, and the friends become hooked because it's one of those sports that just grips you."

In a season as unpredictable as this one, it is very difficult to call who will triumph on the pitch. However, it sounds like off the pitch, pubs are in for a triumphant year of coverage.

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