Is international Rugby League ready for a World Cup?

Discussion in 'Super League / Northern Hemisphere' started by snoopy snoopy dog dog, Nov 12, 2007.

  1. Has international rugby league progressed enough since the debacle in 2000 to warrant another World Cup? I'm not sure it has.

    Jon Wilkin had some interesting thoughts on the subject:
    Link: Wilkin expresses World Cup fears

    I'll certainly watch Ireland's games against Tonga and Samoa/Lebanon. However I will find it hard to be as passionate about the League team as the Union team for one simple reason; it's hard to get over the fact that lots of the Irish side are only playing for us because they aren't good enough to play for England. I guess it's fair to say that lots of Scotland players will be playing for them for the same reason. The same could be said about Lebanon (filled with Lebanese-Australians) and Samoa (the Kiwi B's). While I've no doubt that these players will play their hearts out, the tournament will have a credibility problem with many people for this reason.

    How do you tap into new fans (and help create more worldwide appeal) in a country like Ireland where Union is the undisputed king of the codes? This may sound defeatist but (for example) it may make sense to try align RLI more closely with the IRFU. It's a formula which is run, albeit at a much smaller level, in (I think) Estonia where the sports are run under the same governing body.

    Even if League grows exponentially, it's unlikely to ever become as popular as Union in Ireland. Maybe trying to piggyback on Union's success is the way to go. Already we see Union clubs fielding League teams (for example, Kildare Dragons are an offshoot of the North Kildare Union club). A more formal alignment could have benefits for both codes. League would benefit from an increased profile, more funding and potentially a lot more home grown players. Union would have another outlet for it's talented players who don't fit in the 15 man game and could see the benefits of different coaching techniques on it's players. Wilkin said in that story that he'd like to see investment at grassroots level in the non traditional countries. An alignment of the governing bodies would fast track that development. Down the road it could be possible for an Irish based Super League franchise to be established - at present it isn't realistic due to the RLI's relatively small influence and the IRFU representing a different code.

    I hope this isn't coming across as bashing League and the World Cup for that isn't the intention. Great strides are being made to bring PNG and France into the fold. Internationals featuring lesser teams are becoming more regular occurences. Adding Les Catalans to Super League and France joining England, New Zealand and Australia in an expanded 4 Nations (from 2009 I think) is a big step in the right direction. Celtic Crusaders are breathing life into the sport in Wales and could be rewarded with a Super League franchise in a 2009.

    Maybe instead of a World Cup, the RLIF should be looking to bring PNG and France into the Tri Nations at the same time. The other nations play amongst themselves while also having the odd game against the bigger teams to ready themselves for inclusion into a future World Cup. By not forcing the smaller nations to stock up on English, Aussies and New Zealanders to fill their ranks as the World Cup is doing, allowing the game grow more organically and thus having more home grown players would give a future World Cup (say 5-10 years down the line) far more credibility.
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  3. Brodizzle

    Brodizzle Guest

    I think Rugby League is a LOOOOOONG way from having a legitimate world cup, they need to focus in getting the game out of the traditional strongholds of Queensland, West NSW and Northern England to even think of having more then a Mickey Mouse tournament....should be a laugh
  4. Yes i tend to agree.....ill watch it i think that Australia has held it since 1975 if you need any sign that is a bit of a joke. :blink:
  5. DonBilly

    DonBilly Guest

    This is the big failure of Rugby league, they never developped.

    The first Rugby League World Cup was held in France in 1954, there were then four countries involved: Australia, France, Great-Britain and New-Zealand.

    France is far from being as competitive as at that time and I don't think they'll be able to get back among the very best Rugby League powers.
  6. I'm going to bite my tongue about reasons why it didn't develop.

    On the original subject, this world cup is too soon. It's an experiment.
  7. esoj

    esoj Guest

    there is proabbly only 3 teams that have any real chance of actually winning it. barring any miracles australia england and New Zealand will be fighting it out for the world cup the rest will be simply also rans and expect to see some huge scores posted too. France will proabbly be the most competitive out of the other teams but they are a bit off the pace compared to the other big 3 teams.
  8. wigan_rlfc

    wigan_rlfc Guest

    We were ready 30 odd years before you lot.
  9. Of that there is no argument. League as a professional sport has a longer history of holding World Cups than Union (12 championships versus 6). Like you state, history shows League has it's 1st World Cup well before the 15 man game in 1954. However it, like all six tournaments until Wales' inclusion in 1975 (due to Great Britain splitting into Wales and England teams), was contested by just four teams. Only 5 teams had contested World Cups until 1995 (PNG being the 5th) by which point Union had 16 participants in it's competition.

    In the 50 plus years since League's initial global competition, the sport hasn't really grown a great deal beyond it's traditional strongholds of Australia, the north of England and New Zealand. I'd love to see that change. It would be fantastic if Lebanon were able to grow as a force in their homeland as a result of the influence of their Aussie-Lebanese players. Hopefully David Niu's ambitious plans for the game's growth in the USA come to fruition. Wales could come good if the Celtic Crusaders win a franchise in Super League in 2009. Russia and Georgia have also shown signs of coming good (although both are long term projects). None of those seemingly progressive nations will benefit next year in the World Cup because they failed to qualify in a flawed system. Instead there'll be an Irish side made up of English ex-pats, a similar story with the Scots and Samoa made up of guys who've already played for New Zealand but are no longer good enough.

    If the World Cup is a financial success, which I hope to be the case, my reservations will prove unfounded. The money it generates can go towards developing the game in smaller nations (like those I've mentioned above) thus increasing the player base in those countries. If that is what happens, then League is ready for another world cup. If the competition is a financial loss maker, I fear it could be quite a long time until the next tournament is held.
  10. All very good point, SSDD.
  11. jeffb

    jeffb Guest

    We can only dream of a World Cup like the Union WC with 16+ teams.
  12. We could probably get the 16 teams Jeff - it's just that 8 of them would be total jokers.
  13. Brodizzle

    Brodizzle Guest

    But it begs the question, where would these 8 legitimate teams come from?
  14. melon

    melon Guest

    But it begs the question, where would these 8 legitimate teams come from? [/b][/quote]
    Well I suppose the 8 would be made up of the 4 real teams:
    • Australia
    • New Zealand
    • Great Britian
    • France
    and then the 4 other teams:
    • Lebanon
    • Papua New Guinea
    • Tonga
    • Fiji
    The problem is, those last 4 teams is that they are so far away from the top 4 in terms of development. France is half way between the bottom ranked teams and the super 3.

    I'll be looking forward to watching this next year, but unfortunately I can already pick the semi-finals and most likely the final.
  15. But it begs the question, where would these 8 legitimate teams come from? [/b][/quote]
    • Papua New Guinea

    Its a tragedy that PNG is behind because its it national sport. :(
  16. Brodizzle

    Brodizzle Guest

    But it begs the question, where would these 8 legitimate teams come from? [/b][/quote]
    • Papua New Guinea

    Its a tragedy that PNG is behind because its it national sport. :(
    I think PNG has too many problems of serious nature to spend much time developing sporting games...
  17. O'Rothlain

    O'Rothlain Guest

    But it begs the question, where would these 8 legitimate teams come from? [/b][/quote]
    • Papua New Guinea

    Its a tragedy that PNG is behind because its it national sport. :(
    I think PNG has too many problems of serious nature to spend much time developing sporting games... [/b][/quote]
    Yes, like picking berries and fishing with spears. Maybe the International Governing Body of Rugby League could get them a sewage system and electricity...then we'll see the sport grow.
    *All comments were tounge in cheek. Please, if you are a native or resident of PNG take no offense, and also please explain how you are using the internet...that must be like magic for you.
  18. jeffb

    jeffb Guest

    You've a fair point there, Dan. Its a pity though isn't for League, that the international side of things is shite.
  19. Yes i tend to agree. <_<

    I think PNG has the internet o'roth. :lol:
  20. No point IMO..

    League is hotter in around NSW/QLD and thats about much as i hate to admit it..

    Although union isn't helping itself with tryless games, at this rate, League has the potential to overtake Union within the next 10 years..

    IMO League is failing because Australia is far above the rest of the world, their grade B team without the world's best player in Thurston was able to trounce NZ
  21. We'll see how good Australia are or aren't in a year.
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