Before the switch to summer rugby Boxing Day was derby day! Not since 1995 have we met out old foes from over the hill in the league and after seeing a couple of tweets about Boxing Day rugby, we put it to the fans to see if they’d welcome back a friendly game against Wigan. (I’m going to stick with the term ‘friendly’ because a) that’s what Saints have them listed as on their website and b) I’m from Haydock not Sydney so it’s not a trial game to me)

The last time we played in December was a friendly against the Widnes Vikings in which a relatively inexperienced Saints side succumbed to the Vikings 28-26. The last time we faced Wigan on a Boxing Day was in 2000 when over 11,000 hardy souls watched us lose 40-20 over in Wigan.

Back to our social media followers and the result was overwhelming….


Bert Bridge Any excuse for beer and RL

Jason Sutton Deffo it made Christmas

Lynn Ellison I would love it. I don’t get back to St. Helens too often, but always back at Xmas

Damian Heavey Because introducing younger kids to the game is impractical when home games are on a Friday night, how are we supposed to introduce the next generation when they might already be lost to the game by the time they are old enough to stay up to 11 pm…

Johnny Wright Love to see it back

@b3nsterb3n Why not but have half 1st team and 2nd half the Academies play? Would be good

@mariamazraz Absolutely

@jimmybob19731 Yes definitely

@davidgarvey95 100% this should happen

@pcaswell63 I’d travel for it!!

@d_hart88 bring it back

Graham Shaw Pros – I miss watching Saints; Cons – Rather play someone who will test us

Ally Talbot As a fan I’d love it. But it’s a long season and I feel like the players deserve Christmas Day with their family without thinking about the game of rugby they’re playing the next day. They miss out over the summer, their families deserve them 100% over Christmas

Jason Hartley Used to love this fixture in my youth and looked forward to Boxing day more than Christmas day. The problem now is that most of the overseas players are back home for Christmas with their families and so only half a first team could be put together for this fixture.

Margaret Brown It would be great to bring it back and use some of the ticket money for local Charities in both Towns.

Peter Darbyshire Would be nice, but wouldn’t want any injuries.

Ian Jones a charity match between the greats of the past could be better than injuring first team players.

Darren Anders Should have a vets game for Charidy mate (nice, mate!)

Pete Baynes No

Stuart Wilson No, players aren’t match fit at that time of year so it’s a piss take and opens us up to injuries

Dave Parker You’re also risking clashing with the Boxing Day football programme. This wasn’t an issue years ago when people went to their home towns sports. But now, when competing against the might of PL, are you incurring a mass expense for minimal return?

David Concannon It would just end up with a both teams fielding their Under 19s. It’s completely pointless.

Stephen Smith Done this b4 and both teams put their a team out so pointless really

Gary Burrows I think the players need the off season for recovery.
When the season ran over winter, the boxing day game was a great tradition but now, it would be too big an ask and a foolish move for both teams that could be costly for the following season ( by not allowing players rest and recovery) or would end up being a Reserve game ( those players need their R&R too).

Phil Sephton I used to love Boxing Day games, but the last Saints/Wigan game (friendly) that was planned as the last game at Knowsley Road had to be cancelled due to the bad weather.
With the season starting at the end of January I think the players deserve Christmas with their families

Glenys Sandford I do miss it but that was a different era -players only have a short break so don’t think it’s a good idea to bring it back xx

Stephen Bate No point we play them and beat them so many times in the season already. that I think you would struggle to get a decent crowd on plus you would take people ( stewards catering staff etc.) away from their families for a pointless game on one of their only days off over Christmas!!

Peter Faz Farrell let the lads spend the Christmas period with family and friends .

Brenda Neary We play them too many times in a season for starters. I would also say it’s too early in the preseason as well, some of the players on international duty would have hardly any training under their belt, it would end up as two second string teams so it simply wouldn’t be worthwhile for me.

Krk Archer I’d rather be patient for a further month until the real rugby starts again where it REALLY matters. Leave the players to enjoy Xmas I say. They’ve earned it

Dave Hitchen No ta. All day drinking/betting is better than a glorified training run which deprives the lads who play in the game a few beers with their families on Christmas day.

John Berry No, too many derbies lately in seasons, and I’d rather we sent mix sides to the likes of Leigh, Oldham and Rochdale and have 2-3 friendlies than just one run out.

Neil Ashton I used to love it as a kid, but it seems a bit impractical these days.

Colin Hindmarch Pointless. Too great a risk of injury a month before the season starts and then potential burnout by the end of the season?

John Hodkinson The players are on a break until after New Year, with a lot of them overseas, so it would only be a makeshift side anyway playing a meaningless game. So what would be the point?

Joseph Coy It is a worthless game. Tried it in the past and it was mainly fringe/reserve players. Plus it could be postponed due to weather.

Bev Jonkers I reckon you wouldn’t get the first team out, for the risk of injuries

Adam Griffiths Nah it waters down the derbies in the season. We already play Wigan too many times imo

Mark Thompson No. The season is already far too long

Paul Prescott Waste of time and money.Wont be full team put out and not as competitive as a full blown Derby game during the season.

Lewis Yates You wouldn’t get enough spectators any more to make it a decent friendly

Chris Hensey let everyone be off til new year..deary me

Chris Dunn Na. Play them enough during the regular season

Matty Oakes Played them 5 times i think last year it’s too much it gets boring beating them

@paul_devanney Totally pointless. The last few we had Saints fielded reserves. Saints wanted the close season cash but didn’t put a team out. Everyone says the season is too long anyway so why play a meaningless game? We already play Wigan too many times

@stewwhitfield No thanks. I’d sooner be flat out on the sofa enjoying the second of my two days off rather than stand in the cold and watch the A team.

@kebabfromgenos I don’t like friendlies. I understand one or two need to be played but a Boxing day game can’t help preparation.

@jimmybob19731 Fair enough from a players view. But from a clubs view point a boxing day friendly is a money spinner. That is running your club better surely?

@joecoybutterfly You wouldn’t get me out to watch a meaningless game on Boxing Day. Also due to the weather the game may be cancelled, so all the money spent on preparation is wasted. Is that running your club better?

@monkman79 I’ve said many times I miss the Boxing day derby but I’d only want it back if the SL season started on Boxing day obviously with the GF early September? Otherwise leave it I’d say..

@thephilwheeler @WiganWarriorsRL haven’t turned up for the last few proper games, why would they bother turning up for a friendly?

@robertpilk13 Too cold … can’t be bothered … etc.

@fylo590 Nope. There’s too many fixtures as there is.

@danders134 No as chances of injuries for both teams as it’s never a friendly between the two of them.

@guybrush2304 No, it ends up an academy game. If you want to sell it that way for enough.

@thestuchy13 Too risky for me

@morg66133522 Boring Day.

@davidbeeston We play each other enough with playoffs etc.

@karlthejarl1 No. This fixture is played far too much as it is. Plus, I would prefer it if the player’s had more rest time; as the season is too long.

@badwanger Not for me. Boxing day games are from a bygone era. Why risk losing a player to injury in a nothing game on a boggy pitch in cold conditions?

@julie_devanney Not unless we were moving back to Winter rugby (which would never happen). Used to love the excitement of a Boxing Day derby but we have moved on, let the players enjoy some time with family and friends.

@kimbo134 Used to love the boxing day match, but the game has evolved to summer rugby. The good Friday match is the big one now. Plus, boxing day is with the Christmas period, let the players spend time with their friends and family

@mccormackmartin Over the last years of its existence it became a nothing game with few 1st team players taking party. Not an ideal team to play a friendly.

@neilsimm I suppose it’s a chance to get out into the fresh air but anything other than tick rugby is probably a risk too far.

@lbar886 No for me give them enough beatings during season don’t need embarrassing them just after Xmas as well

@rkourass Personally I wouldn’t. Too close to the season starting and always a chance key players could pick up injuries

@woolybear43 Every time we played them in a friendly they wanted knock heads off, don’t mind hard play but this was different. Nothing to gain from it.

@pauldiki1989 Nah. The derby has lost its edge as it is. Would only ruin it more. Personally I wish we could just play you once at home once away. Would make it a big occasion again

@alileonard Let the players have Xmas off with their families.

@justbro69934531 Not for me.. I don’t get friendlies. Ok having one warm up just before season starts, but say Saints v Wigan as a friendly. Pointless..

@saintseabass No. There’s enough Wigan saints games in the season so we don’t need another meaningless game. Need to look after the players

@matty31123042 It’s never a full strength side put out by both teams so I’d say no but if they ever was to why not New Years Day?

@adyaos Not for me, home & away with the odd cup game thrown in, keep the magic of this game, the magic of the ‘derby’ has been diluted far too much already

@adamharmon91 Wigan’s just a light training session, I wouldn’t be against a decent run out in a competitive game to blow off a few cobwebs

@trylineblog No. There’s already some overkill with Saints vs. Wigan fixtures as it is. We also hear complaints about the season being too long, but then some play fixtures on Boxing Day! In 2017, some of our players’ last match was on 2 December!

@garyormiston1 Had its day, when we moved to summer you guys used always send kids to CP and lost it novelty factor, clubs would only rip fans off if it came back

@saintdavid2911 I don’t think so. We play them 3 or 4 times a year now anyway. I do miss those days at KR but it is time to move on

@coopermanrazz 100% should not happen. It used to be my favourite day in the calendar…better than Xmas day when I was a lad. Then became a poor quality friendly with nothing on the line – it’s a no from me

@davedillon2 Player welfare’ neither team are gonna hold back even in a so called friendly. Although it would be a great game its just much of a risk. So its a NO from me

@knowsleyrude No not for me. When the game changed to ‘summer’ there was a natural phasing out of boxing day. We play the Pies enough during the regular season to keep it really meaningful. Let the players enjoy Christmas and welcome in what hopefully will be another stella Saints year

@leahdan1 Surely preseason games are to get you match fit. Not sure a match 5 weeks before the season starts really helps with that. Also a Derby is always a little bit feisty. Don’t need injuries or suspensions that early


Redvee Opinion: We can’t get caught up in nostalgia and need to look forward. What’s more important for St. Helens as a club? The answer to that is winning trophies and, in my opinion, asking players who might only just be back into pre-season to play in a meaningless game is too big of a risk. It’s also a risk to throw Academy/Reserve players in to such a game when you might need them in the first couple of weeks of a season. The Boxing Day game doesn’t fit the calendar anymore.

The club has to look after its players welfare and wellbeing. It’s not a multi-billion pound sport at the moment, last year we played pretty much every week – starting in January and ending in October. In fact we’ll leave the final opinion to Saints cult hero Nick Fozzard…

@fozzythebear1 Me? Personally as a player – I had ZERO interest in playing at Christmas. It’s a money spinner and a gimmick Clubs need money to pay my wages?? Then run your clubs better. If given a choice I would choose not to play for a club that puts their players through that ordeal

I’d much rather play the Easter programme of two games in 3 days than play half fit in a pointless at Christmas. You want to keep at the top of Super League?? Give the boys a break.

And Nick certainly agreed with the majority of our responses…

@fozzythebear Interesting how the Saints fans think. Intelligent club. Intelligent leadership. Intelligent fans xx Well done the mighty Saints

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