Rugby league must grow internationally

MG Burbank Roar Guru

By MG Burbank, MG Burbank is a Roar Guru

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    A few days ago I wrote an article which caused some consternation (and some confusion) among my fellow Roarers.

    I suggested change to the World Club Challenge. Either it be better co-ordinated in order to become a more meaningful game for both teams, or it should be scrapped.

    This moved some of my readers to suggest that I am ‘insular’ and not interested in the growth of our game internationally.

    Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Firstly, I don’t mind seeing the WCC continue, even within its current framework. I just think it can be better and, given a choice, I’d prefer to see our international team playing in England more often than our premiers.

    But let’s return to the question of international growth.

    For those readers who mentioned countries like Italy and Lebanon as centres of growth, please send me links to evidence that there is any real interest in league coming out of those countries.

    Anthony Minichello playing for Italy does not count, unless 10,000 show up to see him play in Rome.

    Instead of worrying about Italy and Lebanon, which will be extremely hard nuts to crack, we should instead be doubling efforts in areas which have greater immediate potential for inroads.

    Scotland, Ireland and Wales are filled with enthusiastic rugby players. We need the main bodies of our game, the NRL, the English RFL and the NZRL, to put together a recruitment fund to help the International Rugby League Federation do its work.

    And that work would be threefold: 1) bolster local competitions through greater recruitment efforts and promotion to grow the game at the junior level; 2) Ensure regular international contests and promotion of those games and 3); Be prepared to pay union players to also play our game and create infrastructure that allows them to learn and prepare for representative games.

    This third part of the overall strategy is pathetically underfunded and under-utilised.

    Right now, we have union players in South Africa, France, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and even the United States who could be playing league if we were prepared to pay and train them to represent their nations.

    Yes, it may seem like money and effort for little return at first. But the only way we can grow the game internationally is to have legitimate international competition that can be broadcast and promoted.

    Citizens from other nations do not care about foreign-born players from thousands of miles away representing their country based on a generational connection forty or fifty years back.

    We must be prepared to commit twenty years of funding and infrastructure to the effort of luring union players to league. It is ridiculous that South Africa does not field a team at least the equal of France, Papua New Guinea or one of the Pacific Islands nations.

    League must also look to continue building a real local competition in the US while also, and this may seem outlandish, pay ex-grid iron players to come down to Australia to play in the feeder competitions.

    This is a no-lose proposition. Having those athletes play league will be enormously entertaining no matter what the outcome while also creating a much more competitive US league team.

    Ex-running backs and wide receivers have the potential to be impact players in the middle as yardage men and also out wide as finishers.

    If Martin Offiah can represent England, some of these college players could play NSW cup with some time and development. Developing good playmakers in key positions will be more difficult but worth the attempt.

    Finally, we must have a yearly Oceania Cup competition, with Tonga, Fiji, Samoa and the Cook Islands battling it out with Papua New Guinea. The winner could play either the Kangaroos or an Australia A side.

    The game is already making huge inroads in those nations and this would consolidate those gains.

    Meaningfully growing the game will take real money and twenty years of consistent work by all the major bodies. It will also mean being realistic about where we stand right now.

    Italy, Lebanon and Russia can wait.

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    The Crowd Says (285)

    • January 15th 2013 @ 8:20am
      Johnno said | January 15th 2013 @ 8:20am | ! Report

      A good article. So true test footy must develop. International league has the potential too.

      The way I see it for now.

      Tier 1:
      Aust/England/NZ

      Tier 2:
      France(have big hopes the french will get up to tier 1, they are producing some good local talent at catalen dragons)
      Fiji
      Samoa
      Tonga
      PNG
      Irleand
      Scotland
      Wales
      Cook Islands

      Tier 3:
      USA
      South Africa
      Lebanon
      Italy
      Russia

      Eligbilty rulesi think should happen:

      Tier 1 countries: You pick you stick. All players can only play for 1 tier 1 country. Once you play 1 game in a tier 1 that’s it, you pick you stick for life, non negotiable. No more Tony Carroll incidents.

      But all tier 1 players can play for a tier 2 or tier 3 for now, . And all tier 1players who can’t make there tier 1 national team either debut or past player, can play for any Tier 2 or tier 3 country.

      Rugby league world cup 2013 going to be best ever rugby league world cup ever. A lot of the tier 2 teams will be sprinkled with pro talent. Expect France,irealnd,Wales scotland, Fiji,Samoa to throw a few surprises ,and PNG too.

      • Roar Guru

        January 15th 2013 @ 10:52am
        MG Burbank said | January 15th 2013 @ 10:52am | ! Report

        Good ideas Johnno. I hope you’re right about the lesser teams springing surprises. That would be tremendous for the competition.

      • January 15th 2013 @ 3:33pm
        Dave said | January 15th 2013 @ 3:33pm | ! Report

        Generally sound idea, though your ranking/tier placement may need to be adjusted. For example the USA are on par with Ireland in the rankings (on top of defeating the Irish in 2012) and are ranked higher than Scotland, Tonga and the Cook Islands.

    • January 15th 2013 @ 8:25am
      stu wilsons gloves said | January 15th 2013 @ 8:25am | ! Report

      Here’s a tip for international league growth, don’t try and piggy back of rugby union, like your article asserts.

      • January 15th 2013 @ 8:58am
        Andy said | January 15th 2013 @ 8:58am | ! Report

        .

      • January 15th 2013 @ 9:53am
        Australian Rules said | January 15th 2013 @ 9:53am | ! Report

        Actually stu’s gloves, piggy backing off rugby union is exactly what league should do.

        It’s never going to topple rugby for international relevance, but targetting players from France, Wales etc should be a priority if the RLIF wants to grow.

        • January 16th 2013 @ 6:43am
          Crosscoder said | January 16th 2013 @ 6:43am | ! Report

          The game doesn’t need to poach ru players in France.The code has already a growing junior base.It’s a case of retaining thoem over a long period.
          Rugby league has not needed to grow off the backs of its sister code in Jamaica,Lebanon,Serbia ,Ukraine or even Russia.
          Money is the name of the game,and much of it is is required therefore to expand .

      • Roar Guru

        January 15th 2013 @ 10:49am
        MG Burbank said | January 15th 2013 @ 10:49am | ! Report

        Um… why not, Stu? Union poached Sonny Bill, Craig Gower, Mark Gasnier, Israel Folau, the list goes on… we must do the same with many of Union’s lesser-known players in order to create viable international teams. At some point League may have the chance to develop its own players from the grassroots in minnow countries. Until then, let’s bring those players over to the better game.

        • January 15th 2013 @ 8:31pm
          Greg said | January 15th 2013 @ 8:31pm | ! Report

          Better game, in a small, small minority of people’s opinion.

    • January 15th 2013 @ 8:35am
      siv said | January 15th 2013 @ 8:35am | ! Report

      The key is scheduling

      3 rep weekends in season is required with a Pacific Cup (NZ PNG Fiji and next best) played in parallel to SOO and the Euro Cup

      WCC needs to shift to 3rd Week in Oct

      Then play a end if season 6 nations

      In parallel play 6 nation EMEA and Pacific shields for Tier 2 nations.Where the US should play against Pacific nations

      For Tier 3 nations We should promote the Asia Bowl and Africa Bowl just like the Americas Bowl

    • January 15th 2013 @ 8:35am
      Warren said | January 15th 2013 @ 8:35am | ! Report

      MG – Who is exactly going to fund this expansion plan? The international RL board or what ever it is called is a toothless tiger that does not have any real money to make these things happen. The administration is poor which is shown by their leadership on issues such as the split in the USA. The main body does not even have a web site and is run part time by RL enthusiasts who are good men I am sure but not the ones to take the game forward.

      In terms of the Pacific Islands the AFL puts more money into these areas than does the ARLC. A great nursery of players is there for the taking and there is more recruitment done by Brad Fittler and Andrew Johns on a holiday trip than what any of the governing bodies can put together. I understand in Fiji they have run out of grounds to play RL with teams going from 30 to over 100 in a few years.

      In saying this there has been some good growth in parts of Europe. Norway started from nothing a few years ago and now has a good 12 team competition. Serbia also is making inroads and even now has a junior competition. Despite the problems with the Welsh super league team there has been a 300% increase in participation. England also now has the largest schools knock out competition. London alone now has over 1000 kids playing RL which was unheard of 5 years ago and non existent in the supposed hay days of British RL in the 1960’s. These are not recognised enough and unfortunately expansion attempts are sometimes ridiculed by RL reporters on this site (eg Poland).

      In all until we can get rid of self interest in RL and having a proper International Board that has the funding to take the game further then RL will continue to struggle no matter how hard it tries.

      • Roar Guru

        January 15th 2013 @ 10:52am
        MG Burbank said | January 15th 2013 @ 10:52am | ! Report

        Warren, you’re falling into the fantasy trap: Serbia? Norway?

        You mustn’t have read my article carefully- I said that the major bodies need to fund the IRLF. I’m not sure if your statement about the AFL funding in the Pacific islands is true; if it is, League needs to step up. We certainly have enough money in the NRL now to raise funding in the Pacific Islands.

        Norway and Serbia fall into the Lebanon/Italy basket- a pipe dream for now, with many other countries better marks for development- those that already play Rugby.

        • January 15th 2013 @ 12:59pm
          Warren said | January 15th 2013 @ 12:59pm | ! Report

          What fantasy trap? I simply stated that these countries were taking up the game and the point being is that they really do not have any RU background in which you see as the only way forward for RL.

          You seem to forget that RL has had its chance to make inroads in the past especially places such as Wales where many RU players were bought by the RL clubs in the North of England. The problem then and still remains self interest. RL clubs in the past they have been reluctant to put any money into these areas as it meant less for them (in the case of the ARL).

          Which comes to the next point of what major bodies are you talking about? The only body with any money is the ARLC. Therefore unless they put in any money nothing is going to happen.

          Overall I agree more needs to be done and we should do better. I believe however the inroads made in England by moving to a summer game will be more powerful than any. As stated many southern schools in England are now taking up the game than ever before. Year 7 Howard of Effingham a school in Surrey won at Wembly last year and now due to their success ever year is taking up the sport.

          Yes the AFL has development officers in the Pacific while the ARLC does nothing.

          • January 15th 2013 @ 1:33pm
            oikee said | January 15th 2013 @ 1:33pm | ! Report

            AFL is wasting its time with Pacific islanders, if they have not worked this out yet they deserve to lose loads more money on a already failed Western Sydney push. Islanders are made for the rugbies, even blind freddie can see this.

            Once rugby league sets up the Pacific Island Academies this year it will only be a matter of time before rugby league takes over the whole Pacific.
            PNG has a Population of 7 million, they also run the Pacific island cup. This will develop into the cup of choice for the Islanders.
            Australia is already setting up academies for each island in Australia to propel the growth of rugby league and bring the island nations up to speed with worldclass training and development.
            Any islander that even looks like being a half decent player will be brought through these academies and fed into a Toyota cup side at the age of 16.
            There will be no stone left unturned now we have the resources and 100 thousand volounteers and 10 thousand trainers and staff to make it happen.
            Even the South Africans will get in on the act and have their own development squads right here in Australia.
            Until now we have not had the money or resources to fund such projects, now we do, and sponsers are lining up ready to pump tens of millions into this growth as well.
            Union is as established as it will ever get, they had this sponsers and support all along, now it is our turn to shine.
            Lets see the damage in 5 years time, by next World cup, sponsers and TV stations will be coming to us, not the other way around.
            The biggest show on earth will be right here in Australia. 🙂

            • January 15th 2013 @ 2:08pm
              Bearfax said | January 15th 2013 @ 2:08pm | ! Report

              See Oikee. You and I get away from the Manly-Brisbane issues and there are many areas we agree upon.

              I am one who believes we should be pushing hard to help improve PNG Rugby league (and :Pacific Island and Japan as well) with an eventual admission of one PNG team in the NRL. This is a vast untapped treasure chest of talent (over 6 million people…more than NZ) and the fact that it is the ONLY country in the world that has Rugby League as its sole major sport, we should be giving it all the help we can. I suspect PNG is going to economically grow quickly over the next decade or two and become a significant local power given Chinese and Australian investment.

              I do admire also your parochial stance in respect of who are the best athletes in the world. Some might say its a slight exaggeration but you gets points for promoting.

          • January 15th 2013 @ 4:58pm
            Dayer said | January 15th 2013 @ 4:58pm | ! Report

            Warren, Good response and I agree with you

        • January 15th 2013 @ 2:52pm
          Australian Rules said | January 15th 2013 @ 2:52pm | ! Report

          I doubt the AFL spends more than the ARLC in the Pacific Islands, but it has certainly set up a number competitions and programmes to encourage junior participation (though rugby remains the clear favourite of the region, with the exception of PNG):

          AFL Tonga
          http://tafa.pacificoperations.net/

          AFL Samoa
          http://www.sportingpulse.com/assoc_page.cgi?c=2-3651-0-0-0

          AFL PNG
          http://www.afl-png.com/

          AFL Nauru
          http://www.australianrulesfootball.com.au/pages/aflnoc

          AFL Fiji
          http://www.australianrulesfootball.com.au/pages/aflfijioc

          • January 15th 2013 @ 3:59pm
            oikee said | January 15th 2013 @ 3:59pm | ! Report

            http://www.sportingpulse.com/assoc_page.cgi?c=1-2168-0-0-0&sID=16845&news_task=DETAIL&articleID=19823091

            This is for Tonga alone without including the amount of work done in 2 of the largest Tonga communites outside Tonga, Western Sydney and Logan Brisbane.

            Each and everyone of those islands has to have a domestic comp to be able to enter the world cup.
            Samoa played their first international against NZ in 2010.
            Lets not forget that NZ are the World Cup winners, so for a small island nation…..
            Fiji made a quarter final in the world cup for the first time ever in 2008.

            The USA are a very powerful team on the rise. Dont be surprised to see them rattle a few cages come world cup.
            They might not win a game, but they wont be disgraced.

          • January 16th 2013 @ 6:47am
            Crosscoder said | January 16th 2013 @ 6:47am | ! Report

            PR alert.

            • January 16th 2013 @ 8:25am
              Australian Rules said | January 16th 2013 @ 8:25am | ! Report

              Noted.

              Just assisting with a comment about AFL funding in the Pac Islands. As I said, I’m confident the AFL wouldn’t outspend the NRL.

              • January 16th 2013 @ 1:19pm
                Crosscoder said | January 16th 2013 @ 1:19pm | ! Report

                Wouldn’t matter what money is spent.
                It’s not the money that is expended,but how it is done.The RLEF has shown the way with minimal fundng,but wait, it appears many non leaguies, have no idea of its work.

              • January 16th 2013 @ 3:28pm
                Australian Rules said | January 16th 2013 @ 3:28pm | ! Report

                That comment doesn’t make sense.

                no matter..

              • January 16th 2013 @ 6:15pm
                Crosscoder said | January 16th 2013 @ 6:15pm | ! Report

                I will type it slowly,so it will make sense.

                Simply you can have all the money such as happened in SL with the PI and it was wasted.The RLEF with lesser funding is doing a decent job in Europe.Boots on the ground,who are committed such as volunteers and D/Os are more effective.
                Can’t be any plainer than that.

              • January 20th 2013 @ 3:58pm
                Westy The Real Rugby Fan said | January 20th 2013 @ 3:58pm | ! Report

                You can’t said superleague would have fail in Europe or in the Pacific Islands because it didn’t have a chance to grow before peace was reach. Superleague would have given rugby league a higher profile than it is now but thank to the little thinking of the Australian rugby league to keep the game in Australia it took a massive step back before it can take off again.

              • January 20th 2013 @ 4:13pm
                Crosscoder said | January 20th 2013 @ 4:13pm | ! Report

                Super league money was wasted,there is no argument from me on that point Westy.And thee Island s and indeed France were affected.
                .But 16 years later,there is a lot more activity in those areas,and Europe in partiuclar has more countries and more people playing the game,tha at any time in its history.

                if super league had worked with teh ARL,instead of trying to tkae over,they would have got a lot more done years ago.The code had to start from scrath in 1998.
                The RLEF is achieving a hell of a lot,with a limited budget,and has been recognised by the European Union for doing so.

        • January 15th 2013 @ 4:57pm
          Dayer said | January 15th 2013 @ 4:57pm | ! Report

          MG … i do not agree with you on with re: Serbia and Norway … Man, i believe these two countries are genuinely into LEAGUE, and we must support them instead of your negative “pipe dream” response.

          • January 16th 2013 @ 6:48am
            Crosscoder said | January 16th 2013 @ 6:48am | ! Report

            +1

          • January 17th 2013 @ 1:55pm
            Renegade said | January 17th 2013 @ 1:55pm | ! Report

            Well said Dayer!

    • January 15th 2013 @ 8:51am
      Will Sinclair said | January 15th 2013 @ 8:51am | ! Report

      I think international rugby league faces huge (probably insurmountable) odds in growing the game in some of these areas, and it’s mainly because of the massive growth of it’s main rival – international rugby union.

      I say this for two main reasons:

      1) Rugby union is about to become an Olympic sport (albeit at Sevens level), and this is an ENORMOUS attraction to amateur and semi-amateur players. In fact, the idea that a former US football player would choose to play in the NSW Cup over having a shot at the Olympics is laughable; and

      2) The growth of the RWC as an international event should not be underestimated. In New Zealand two years ago we saw hugely competitive and encouraging performances from the likes of the US, Canada, Tonga, Japan, Georgia, Romania and Samoa. These countries are building all the time and, with success on the field, comes more investment and interest off the field.

      These two behemoths of the international rugby season means there is a realistic target for smaller nations every two years (and that’s without mentioning the full time rugby Sevens circuit, which will only grow with the Olympic involvement).

      So, unfortunately, I think the mountain for international rugby league to climb is getting bigger, and not smaller.

      • January 15th 2013 @ 9:29am
        oikee said | January 15th 2013 @ 9:29am | ! Report

        There will always be a market for Interantional rugby league. Same as there is a market for Commonwealth and Olympic games.
        The Gold coast is spending 2 billion for the Commonwealth games in 2018.
        Rugby league has plenty of opportunity to sell there product to potential bidders. It might not be on the same scale as union, but who really cares. Over the next 100 years it will provide growth.

        One thing rugby league is not going to do ,is go away. The NRL has a 1.3 billion game deal, this is only the start of massive growth not only in NZ and Australia, but also the pacific and PNG.
        We have a Origin series second to none.
        We have a World Cup older than rugby union.
        Rugby league is not going away because you and others wish it to go away. We will be growing and continue to chip away at growth worldwide and have as much right as any code to do so.
        We will be playing a World Cup in Australia and NZ in 2017, every fan and person can attend these games.
        The rugby league nines is trying to be included in the commonwealth games. They will chip away at this, even now nines is pushing to be a permenent fixture in Auckland program each year. Rugby league has a full calender already in Australia. The only option now is for growth outside our Australia, which will be happening.

        • January 15th 2013 @ 11:00am
          Will Sinclair said | January 15th 2013 @ 11:00am | ! Report

          Oikee,

          1) I’m not denying there will always be a market for rugby league – even international rugby league. My post was simply pointing out how much harder it’s going to be given the growth of international rugby union, which is completing for many of the same international markets, and now holds a couple of aces (one of them marked with the Olympic rings); and

          2) What on Earth makes you think I want rugby league to go away? I am a paid up, card carrying Member of an NRL Club! I love my league. But I am realistic about it at an international level, where I think it will shrink rather than grow.

          • Roar Guru

            January 15th 2013 @ 11:19am
            MG Burbank said | January 15th 2013 @ 11:19am | ! Report

            Fair enough, Will. We need more members like you in our game.

            • January 15th 2013 @ 11:39am
              Will Sinclair said | January 15th 2013 @ 11:39am | ! Report

              I reckon everyone should love both codes MG.

              League for club and inter-state, rugby for international (including international provinces).

              There is a simple and beautiful synergy there!

            • January 15th 2013 @ 5:32pm
              Tiger said | January 15th 2013 @ 5:32pm | ! Report

              Will, why will rugby league shrink at an international level in the future? The last 10 years has seen the sport grow internationally more than ever before, and without any genuine funding or effort from major bodies. You are severely misinformed about a sport you supposedly follow.

            • January 20th 2013 @ 4:01pm
              Westy The Real Rugby Fan said | January 20th 2013 @ 4:01pm | ! Report

              The same can be said about rugby union in Australia but we are constantly been told is dying.

              • January 20th 2013 @ 4:44pm
                Crosscoder said | January 20th 2013 @ 4:44pm | ! Report

                We were supposed to be dead decades ago ,when ru went professional,according to some ru pundits.

      • January 15th 2013 @ 9:36am
        clipper said | January 15th 2013 @ 9:36am | ! Report

        Completely agree with your points Will, although I would add that the growth of Football in league strongholds in England has contributed to the decline there. England and France had strong teams 40-50 years ago, but now England hasn’t won a series or league world cup in 40 years and France are 250-1 to win the next world cup.

        • January 15th 2013 @ 10:21am
          matt h said | January 15th 2013 @ 10:21am | ! Report

          All true, but nowere does it say that Rugby League cannot work to expand at all becasue Union is already there. Union will always be bigger than league internationally by a fair way and the Olympics will cement that, but that does not mean league cannot product viable competitions around the world. Just becasue AFL is massive in Victoria did not stop the Rebels and Storm franchises from being set up.

          The same holds true elsewhere. There is always a niche – just the size of the niche varies. I don;t think anyone in Rugby League World seriously expects the game to become a massive international juggernaut. It would just be great to see more teams play is all. Cricket only has between 6 and 10 top tier nations but there are another 200 or so who play the game. Rugby is similar, although the top tier looks set to expand further, at least at sevens level. So League can hope to get to 6-10 top tier teams, with maybe Ireland, Wales, France, PNG moving up to join the existing three.

          • January 15th 2013 @ 10:49am
            clipper said | January 15th 2013 @ 10:49am | ! Report

            Nothing wrong hoping for expansion, but as Will points out, it is a lot harder when the sport has been going backwards to what it was 50 years ago to gain any sort of momentum – the upside is league fans can be happy that in Australia they’re always going to see the best players in the world play every week in the NRL.

          • January 15th 2013 @ 11:22am
            Jz said | January 15th 2013 @ 11:22am | ! Report

            To true Matt H the rugby league in Melbourne, all those doubters that said it would never work and even after they won their second premiership still called for them to be relocated to the gold coast, its all way the narrow minded that hold league back. we need visionary and to get rid of the old way of thinking.

        • January 16th 2013 @ 7:21am
          Crosscoder said | January 16th 2013 @ 7:21am | ! Report

          That would be a surprise,seeing Clipper agreeing with a poster,who bags rl growing internationally.Bit like the inevtitability of the sunset.

          You know the French rl story from 1941? Please spell it out to all the “viewers”.They would be all ëars”.afraid it might undermine some of your musings.

          And 8 rugby nations were interested enough to watch the RWC is any numbers.In fact 97% of the total.And player numbers for rugby have dropped substantially in England(the home of the game).

          And there will be a RLWC this year, so you will have to grin and bear it..

          • January 17th 2013 @ 5:28pm
            Dragoon said | January 17th 2013 @ 5:28pm | ! Report

            Australian adult player NRL player numbers have halved since 1994.(ARLD annual report 2006)..so what..You dont have a link for English RU numbers do you….

            Please stop blaming Vichy French – they are all dead or have been executed…

            • January 18th 2013 @ 7:45am
              Crosscoder said | January 18th 2013 @ 7:45am | ! Report

              Check latest figures rather than those of 2006.
              Go to RFL website.
              Also as an indication:-

              http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/rugby-league/13881329

              I don’t blame Vichy French per se ,just French ru officials who did the lobbying to have rugby league banned..

              So are Hitler,Mussolini,Goering dead,one should never ignore history and its repurcussions.Unless they are in denial.

              • January 20th 2013 @ 4:12pm
                Westy The Real Rugby Fan said | January 20th 2013 @ 4:12pm | ! Report

                What happen to over 200,000 rugby league players we were told were in England a couple of years ago by league fans? Did the FRU also lobby to ban tennis and other professional sports? This league poster on a league forum pretty much sums up the French situation which also reflects the game in Australia and England………Quote:
                I often wonder if the game was taken to areas which were not staunch union territory like Bourgogne, Picardie, Lille, Pays de la Loire etc and given real support, or if they never tried this at all?
                That something I had often wonder too. There have been a few clubs in some unsual places, but never a real will to grow the game in new territories. French RL has always been more about hjacking RU, than setting a new sport in his own right, focusing more their efforts on taking over RU ressources than setting up their own business.

              • January 20th 2013 @ 4:32pm
                Crosscoder said | January 20th 2013 @ 4:32pm | ! Report

                200,000 not from me Westy.And I want you to realise both rugby codes faced a decline.Keep that in mind.
                I want to make one point on the numbers which relate to 2011 for the Sport England cut,not 2012.

                This from Rugby bLeague world current edition by journalist Matt Anniss.

                “For clarity it should be pointed that the way Sport England calculates participation levels has changed.
                For starters ,their focus is now on 16-25year olds,rather than 14-25 year olds.The official figures also take into account how many of these adults play a particular sport regularly(usually three times a week or more).So although the drop in participation in Rugby League looks dramatic,it is likely that over the last four years more people than ever before are playing around the country ,sadly thsese figures do not count towards the”whole sport plan.”

                Which is the very point the RFL has been trying to make.they admit,having to get more people playing more often.

                the Vichy Govt banned a couple of other pro sports because of their professional nature,but the FRU officials prodded the sport Commission to have rl banned as it was consoidered a threat to them..The Govt report states so FHS.Nowwhere has teh report suggeste ru tried to have other sports banned
                .
                No australian poster on rugby league in this country has supplanted the findings of the French commission.How can anyoone ignore official findings”?
                The French position is now one of growth,there are no impediments inflicted by Govt,such as lack of recognition.

      • Roar Guru

        January 15th 2013 @ 10:44am
        MG Burbank said | January 15th 2013 @ 10:44am | ! Report

        And what of the players who don’t qualify for the US Sevens, Will? Why wouldn’t they want to play for money in Australia? Give me one good reason why a guy who no longer has a chance of playing in the NFL wouldn’t want to earn cash learning and playing a sport in one of the world’s most beautiful countries.
        The fact that Union will be played in the Olympics should make it easier for League- it will raise the profile of a Rugby code- and in turn open people up to an even better version.
        League used to poach Union players all the time. There’s no reason why we can’t do it again in the US or any other nation with good athletes.

        • January 15th 2013 @ 11:03am
          Will Sinclair said | January 15th 2013 @ 11:03am | ! Report

          It’s a pretty specific case MG!

          You’re now talking about using former NFL players who are interested in playing a rugby code, and who are not good enough to play for the US Rugby Team… It’s not the most encouraging group on which to build a code.

          (And I’d imagine that anyone who played NFL for any amount of time is likely to be set up for life, and won’t be interested in running around Henson Park on a Sunday morning for a few hundred bucks.)

          I do agree with you that having rugby at the Olympics could be good for both rugby codes. But ultimately it is a MASSIVE shot in the arm for rugby union, particularly in developing nations. I really cannot over-state how big it will be.

          • Roar Guru

            January 15th 2013 @ 11:21am
            MG Burbank said | January 15th 2013 @ 11:21am | ! Report

            It will be a shot in the arm- and that annoys me considering we have the better product, although maybe not at sevens level.
            I was focusing on ex-college grid iron players. You’re right- pros don’t need to come down here to earn money.

            • January 15th 2013 @ 1:46pm
              Jz said | January 15th 2013 @ 1:46pm | ! Report

              only 1% of collage players get the chance to play in the NFL that’s 99% to pick through, surly that’s great odds.
              considering California has a greater economy then all of Australia a small slice of that pies not bad either

              • January 15th 2013 @ 1:53pm
                Bolo said | January 15th 2013 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

                Market it as the game of Ironmen.

                (Ironmen for the uninitiated is the NFL term for players who play offense & defence in the same game)

                Get Robert Downey Jr & Russell Crowe as part of the marketing campaign. And go grand with the ads.

                Then host a RL world cup in America, get prime time coverage on the sports channel, and thump the USA team back to the stone age. Then the private funding into USA RL will blow your mind. No USA billionaire likes seeing the USA humiliated on the world stage on primetime. Just look at the USA soccer team after the world cup there.

              • January 15th 2013 @ 2:15pm
                Bearfax said | January 15th 2013 @ 2:15pm | ! Report

                Thinking along the right lines there Bolo. Its one of many options that need to be considered and pushed

              • January 15th 2013 @ 2:17pm
                Bearfax said | January 15th 2013 @ 2:17pm | ! Report

                Er California has a larger economy than all but about 5 or 6 nations Jz

          • January 15th 2013 @ 5:06pm
            Dayer said | January 15th 2013 @ 5:06pm | ! Report

            who cares … RL must fight on to build the game not worry worry about the other boring game.

            • January 20th 2013 @ 4:26pm
              Westy The Real Rugby Fan said | January 20th 2013 @ 4:26pm | ! Report

              No game is boring son, their only sports that is supported by many or a few around the world. Which one do you support?

              • January 20th 2013 @ 4:42pm
                Crosscoder said | January 20th 2013 @ 4:42pm | ! Report

                Do you actually find time to post on ru threads? You certainly love rl threads.Fatal attraction?

      • January 16th 2013 @ 6:57am
        Crosscoder said | January 16th 2013 @ 6:57am | ! Report

        Will
        I partially agree,however don’t fall into the usual trap of ignoring the fact, with only a fraction of funding avalable rugby league as made great strides in many new countries such as Ukraine,Norway,Lebanon,Serbia ,Jamaica,with govt official backing with the likes of Ukraine,Serbia and Lebanon.

        Rugby league has already secured 3rd tier entry into the Commonwealth Games,because of the growth in Commnwealth countries and plans for the future.At this very moment,the code is growing the game in Ghana with new coaches being inducted locally.
        The growing number of Fijians plying their trade in the NRL,provides further incentive for youngsters.And the growth of playing numbers in NZ shows,having a competing code with WC s and 7s in the OPs ,has not diminished the ability of rugby league to grow the game.

        The OP is 7s not the full standard 15 a side .Once every 4 years.

        As far as your last para is concerned Will,the work of the RLEF has made that point look rather silly.

        • January 20th 2013 @ 4:31pm
          Westy The Real Rugby Fan said | January 20th 2013 @ 4:31pm | ! Report

          Who said the OP 7’s or RWC is going to stop other sports growing? The Olympic 7’s might be every four years but every year there are sevens tournaments and 7’s academies, funds, regional games and developments in the name of the Olympics.

          • January 20th 2013 @ 4:40pm
            Crosscoder said | January 20th 2013 @ 4:40pm | ! Report

            Well the hell did you get that notion from Westy?.Never mentioned it would prevent other sports growing.

            I stated and you do not understand that despite 7s being in the OPs and being wanted by ru players,it will not stop the rugby league from growing the game in Fiji.

            You have 7 players not 15 ,not 13.So the numbers by the very nature of the game is limited.The game is 7s ,7 players ,the pick.Therefore there are plenty of other Fijian kids who can sttill get an opportunity in rl or AFL or deep sea diving.

            You have succeeded by making more(many negatives) posts on this thread,than I have ever made in a ru one,since I have been on these boards..

    • January 15th 2013 @ 8:52am
      Rugby League Nut said | January 15th 2013 @ 8:52am | ! Report

      Some good idea’s MG.

      I have been following the international game for some time now and I have to say that it is moving in the right direction. There is no quick solution to grow that game outside the big three. It will just take time. The RLIF/RLEF have been pretty active these last 5 years. There has been much work happening around the Pacific and Europe.

      Programs are in place that are empowering the locals through coaching courses etc. Places like Jamaica and Lebanon are leading the way on many fronts and require more support not less.

      One stumbling block for the international game has always been the eligibility rules. It favours the strong (Australia, England and New Zealand) and hurts the 2nd teir nations like (Wales, France, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji and PNG).

      The 2nd stumbling block is funding. The international game at present doesn’t generate loads of money to pour back into the emerging nations. Everything is done on a shoe string budget. In many ways it show’s what a good game rugby league is that it’s come so far as it has.

      2013 is a big year for rugby league with the World Cup. Already I would have to say this is the most organised world cup to date and we are still just under a year out from the event.

      On Italy and Russia they have much potential Italy have two RL bodies running the game over there and Russia have had some issues but seem to be turning the boat around. Russia have played games against the USA in front of 20,000 + fans in previous years.

      So yes we do need to focus on particular nations but we must not let all the hard work done so far with smaller nations go to waste.

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