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.