Sorry but the Rugby League World Cup is a farce

Cameron Treloar Roar Guru

By Cameron Treloar, Cameron Treloar is a Roar Guru


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    A few weeks ago I wrote of the farce that is the Rugby League World Cup in my “The Week That Was” column. The comments section was colourful to say the least.

    The NRL and more importantly the State of Origin have to wear the blame for the state of international league.

    I wrote then and still maintain that rugby league should be content with what it has, one of the greatest club competitions in the world and a pinnacle event that is the State of Origin.

    The international scene is very much an afterthought, an attempt to give the game some international credibility when compared next to football and rugby.

    The World Cup is an underfunded, under-promoted farce that genuinely does more damage than good to the international game in the eyes of all but the most hardened league fans.

    The eligibility rules are farcical.

    Players should have to nominate their national allegiances and play under those colours forever.

    How can a competition be taken seriously when a player can change countries not only between World Cups but from one year to the next depending if you are selected for Australia or New Zealand.

    How can a player like Junior Paulo be born in New Zealand, represent Samoa at the last Cup and yet this time be playing for the USA?

    In the lead up to the 2008 World Cup, Canberra prop Brett White was named in both the Irish and Australian preliminary training squads at the same time.

    Am I meant to believe that he is fully invested in playing for either country?

    Petero Civoniceva is a perfect example.

    No longer in contention for Australia, he is now offering his services to Fiji which is a great thing.

    However now that his allegiance is with Fiji, his country of birth, it has to be asked; why wasn’t it always there?

    The answer: State of Origin obviously.

    How can someone like Jarryd Hayne pledge himself to play for Fiji last tournament and then with a straight face run out against them just last night?

    How can I take the competition seriously when researching this article I look at the Italian team on the official World Cup website and six of the players have to have generic face outlines next to their names as no-one has bothered to source a picture?

    The same goes for three of the Scottish players. How can I take the competition seriously if those organising the competition don’t?

    I’m sorry rugby league but if you want me to take this joke of a tournament seriously you yourselves have to give the international game more than a passing thought once or twice a year.

    One commenter on my last article asked “Are you trying to tell me that Samoan, Tongan, Fijian, French and Papua New Guinea league players don’t exist?” Well sir I’ll ask you, outside of this four week sham, do they?

    Where are the Tests for Italy, Tonga, Fiji or Papua New Guinea building the game in the years between the World Cup?

    When was the last time Samoa toured Australia in rugby league? Have they ever?

    State of Origin has to shoulder a lot of the blame for the state of the International game.

    It is the major attraction in the sport. A player cannot play in the State of Origin and not be available for Australia. So, either relax the eligibility rules for the State of Origin, or be more serious about the eligibility rules in the international game.

    Of course Hayne, Akuila Uate, Petero Civoniceva and Brett White wanted to play State of Origin.

    But, for all of them to have represented two countries in a short amount of time, being able to flick between the two depending on selection for Australia is making a mockery of the process.

    When the Australian rugby league show countries like Fiji or Ireland that having the best players available for your biggest earner, State of Origin, is more important than a player’s national allegiance.

    What is being to me as a fan, is that the representative pinnacle is State of Origin and I don’t need to tune in to representative football other than those three big Wednesday nights.

    So rugby league the ball is your court. I’ll take the international game seriously when you do.

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    The Crowd Says (298)

    • November 4th 2013 @ 7:08am
      Aaron said | November 4th 2013 @ 7:08am | ! Report

      Sshhh! You might make Patrick upset.

    • November 4th 2013 @ 7:13am
      Paul said | November 4th 2013 @ 7:13am | ! Report

      oh dear, looks like war is about to break out. Its the Unionist on the invasion and the Chippies on the defensive

    • November 4th 2013 @ 7:16am
      Sam said | November 4th 2013 @ 7:16am | ! Report

      I agree! It’s outrageous that someone like Craig Gower can represent Italy!

      • November 4th 2013 @ 10:53am
        Muzz said | November 4th 2013 @ 10:53am | ! Report

        Craig cooks a great Spag Bol

        • November 4th 2013 @ 10:57am
          mick h said | November 4th 2013 @ 10:57am | ! Report

          craig wing represented japan in rugby against the abs

          • November 4th 2013 @ 11:11am
            In Brief said | November 4th 2013 @ 11:11am | ! Report

            After living in Japan for 3 years where he plays in a professional, Japanese rugby competition.

            • November 4th 2013 @ 11:54am
              eagleJack said | November 4th 2013 @ 11:54am | ! Report

              The point is that while League eligibility rules are quite lax (based primarily on the fact you have to start somewhere), it’s not as though rugby haven’t had issues in the past. Or present.

              Look at the Henry Speight saga. There is literally a countdown timer at ARU headquarters so that the second he is eligible they will throw him a Wallaby jersey, and a big cheque so he turns his back on his native Fiji who he played for at Junior level.

              And with more non-Australians joining Super rugby teams (the Rebels and Force are looking more and more like Barbarians outfits taking on any ex-pat Kiwi/Saffer/Welshman/etc they can) then we are going to continue to see Wallabies picked on the back of this 3 year residency rule.

              A little embarrassing for a so called Top tier nation. And I say this as a massive fan of rugby.

              • Roar Guru

                November 4th 2013 @ 12:09pm
                Cameron Treloar said | November 4th 2013 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

                Very much agreed. Henry Speight should be playing for Fiji end of story. I by no means begrudge him the $ he will earn through the playing with the Wallabies but the ARU’s attitude on this has been very disappointing. I know it will sound hypocritical but in the same breath I have absolutely no problem with Craig Wing representing Japan having earned his residency. He has not played for Rugby for any other nation and if he can help a developing nation then why not. Weakening a developing nation like Fiji is an article for another day.

              • November 4th 2013 @ 12:15pm
                jonesy said | November 4th 2013 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

                +1 eaglejack.

              • November 4th 2013 @ 12:17pm
                rl4eva said | November 4th 2013 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

                Both codes have their fair share of joke representations. It’s a bit hypocrtical for union fans to get on their high horse about it.

              • November 4th 2013 @ 9:15pm
                deanp said | November 4th 2013 @ 9:15pm | ! Report

                If the eligiblity rules allow that Speight play for the Wallabies, then he can. If selected of course. It is up to him to decide, and no one else, just as Wing can play for Japan if eligible. That some would have a problem with the former but not the latter speaks more to their own prejudice and hypocrisy than the merits of the eligibility rules.

              • November 5th 2013 @ 3:52pm
                Jagman said | November 5th 2013 @ 3:52pm | ! Report

                Yes but 3 years is actually a long time in the career of a contact footballer; approximately 1/4.

                Mentioning Henry Speight is actually laughable considering he is no longer eligible because he did three months in NZ. That’s how strict the Union rules are. He now needs to find out whether he has to start the 3 year wait again or if his eligibility is only pushed back the three months he was away. In any case it has stopped him from representing Australia this month as he would have.

                Ruardry Murphy from the Brumbies lived in Australia for more than a decade as a child but neither he nor his parents were born here. He has an Aus passport but it makes no difference, he is a development player who only becomes eligible for Aus next year.

                Alex Rokobaro from the Rebels was told he was playing for the Fiji U20s team but actually took to field for the Fiji A team which makes him permanently Fijian in the eyes of the IRB even though he was lied to. He has been selected for Fiji this month I believe.

                And that is where the strong contrast is. Since the pro era you step on the field for either the National team, the national A team, or the national 7s team and there is no turning back. It sounds like things are quite different in League.

              • November 11th 2013 @ 5:44pm
                Nomad said | November 11th 2013 @ 5:44pm | ! Report

                Yes Aussie Ahmad was rushed thru because we needed a spinner…

            • November 9th 2013 @ 9:17pm
              david said | November 9th 2013 @ 9:17pm | ! Report

              doesnt really make it any more legitimate In Brief LOL, and before you comment back on on Leagues eligibility, i do agree its a farce, but Craig Wing being able to play for Japan is just as farcical.

    • November 4th 2013 @ 7:17am
      Crosscoder said | November 4th 2013 @ 7:17am | ! Report

      One point or a penalty goal take your pick.Its like going over the trailings of an alluvial gold diggers ite,looking for scraps.

    • November 4th 2013 @ 7:21am
      Football United said | November 4th 2013 @ 7:21am | ! Report

      your right about origin, it basically has ruined the international game of any chance to get forward. players who have lived in Australia for a significant time should be able to play for their state without the requirement to play for Australia.

    • Roar Guru

      November 4th 2013 @ 7:26am
      Renegade said | November 4th 2013 @ 7:26am | ! Report

      Do you seriously think this is doing more damage than good for the game?

      All for opinion, but this is clearly an uneducated one.
      The tournament has been anything but a farce.

      You make a good point in regards to the impact of state of origin and eligibility – that’s about it.

      This article seems like an attempt to get more hits and comments than you usually do…. and you certainly will get more attention with the RLWC article than you do with your regular RU rubbish that no one seems to want to read or care about.

      • Roar Guru

        November 4th 2013 @ 7:34am
        Cameron Treloar said | November 4th 2013 @ 7:34am | ! Report

        @ Renegade… Just calling it how I see it. Thanks for the extra hit and comment.

        • Roar Guru

          November 4th 2013 @ 9:54am
          Renegade said | November 4th 2013 @ 9:54am | ! Report

          Are you calling it how see it after watching the games or as you see it through RU code war glasses?

          I notice you’ve evaded my question…. Do you seriously think this is doing more damage than good for the game?
          I can’t see how that is true in any possible manner.

          By the way, i’m just calling it how i see it as well….. you’ve got two extra hits and comments now 😉

          • Roar Guru

            November 4th 2013 @ 10:14am
            Cameron Treloar said | November 4th 2013 @ 10:14am | ! Report

            I’ve been watching the games when I can. I said in another post that that line of the article may have got the better of me. I’m a genuine league fan and would love a super strong international game. I just think you build the nations then the world cup, not the other way round. I’d agree it was a way forward for international rugby league if anyone other than the Aussie’s, Kiwi’s and Brits had actually moved forward since last world cup. If any of the small nations had been given any games of meaning since the last world cup then I could agree that it’s the way forward for international Rugby League. As it stands the last time I saw Samoa or Fiji was the last world cup. if it’s meant to be a step forward, these steps have to happen more often than every 4 years.

            • Roar Guru

              November 4th 2013 @ 10:43am
              Renegade said | November 4th 2013 @ 10:43am | ! Report

              Well that’s a fair post and it’s hard to argue with any of it. There’s no doubt the eligibility rules need to be fixed up but you have to start somewhere and the other nations have actually played since the last World Cup although you may not have seen it.

              The pacific nations are competing against each other a lot more regularly now. They have the Pacific Cup, Fiji and PNG played each other in a test series a few times. Samoa and Tonga had a test match this year televised on Fox Sports which will now be held annually. The European nations (Scotland, Ireland, France, Italy, Wales) are competing against each other for the European Cup and Shield and have test matches each year involving the likes of Lebanon, Russia and Serbia. The USA have played in tests each year against Canada, Ireland and now Jamaica.

              So the game is growing although it’s not at the level that it is in Aus, Eng and NZ however all the other teams have moved forward and are getting better and better each time. The World Cup provides all these nations a goal to aim for – qualifying and competing on the big stage and giving the game exposure in the relative countries… that’s exactly why the game has grown at international level since 2008 and will grow even further after this one.

            • November 4th 2013 @ 11:02am
              mick h said | November 4th 2013 @ 11:02am | ! Report

              Cameron if you were a true rl fan you would have to acknowledge that the French have improved since the last world cup I watched them at Penrith and they were woeful at best yes they were flogged by the kiwis but they had a go. maybe next year Cameron you could get out to Penrith and watch samoa v tonga in a true test match like april this year and what a game it was in front of over 10,000 fans

            • November 4th 2013 @ 11:07am
              Dayer said | November 4th 2013 @ 11:07am | ! Report

              Cameron, I agree in principle re: last 5 years where no test matches were played between the Paciific and png with the current 2013 WC players to help them build coordination, culture … etc. in that regard the build=up to the 2013 WC for the other nations beside the top 3 is then a FARCE.

              but in saying that, overall the WC 2013 is a success and hopefully in the next 4 years the international league have a better international plan using the current players that are now representing in all nations in the WC to play test matches and for those who play SOO should not be penalised.

              Yes, I agree SOO is killing the International game.
              have a nice day

            • November 4th 2013 @ 1:21pm
              Boz said | November 4th 2013 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

              Didn’t Tonga and Samoa play at Penrith this year – with Tonga winning in an upset? You say you haven’t seen Samoa since the last world cup. I would say you’re not looking very hard!

        • November 4th 2013 @ 3:57pm
          Von Neumann said | November 4th 2013 @ 3:57pm | ! Report

          Cameron, when people say “calling it how I see it”, thats just another way of saying “with all due respect…..” In other words its lip service followed by saying whatever you very well like.

          It was not a great article. Its like saying because some girl has a mole on the inside of her leg, it like totally ruins her face.

          I am enjoying the RLWC, but to say its a total joke is just not on. It could well improve – but sure, this WC has more attention and crowds than many before it.

          I am calling it a success – and saying ‘although, the job is not done yet.’ in regards to international league.

          It could benefit from a non volantary full time professional-dedicated group running the WC and international league, including a marketing manager.

      • November 4th 2013 @ 7:42am
        Patrick said | November 4th 2013 @ 7:42am | ! Report


        Hard to take anyone seriously who calls soccer football but I will leave only one comment. If Wayne Rooney was available for selection for selection for Australia at the next soccer World Cup, we would take him in a heartbeat. If Italy can get Anthony Minichello, they should thank their lucky stars and celebrate the fact whether they are rugby union followers or not, that they can get a genuinely world class player representing them(probably the first in either code). To do otherwise is just churlish.

        • November 4th 2013 @ 8:15am
          Aaron said | November 4th 2013 @ 8:15am | ! Report

          Hard to take anyone seriously who calls football soccer.

          • November 4th 2013 @ 10:32am
            dingo said | November 4th 2013 @ 10:32am | ! Report

            Soccer is the original term for the sport, used by the upper classes when they were the only ones permitted to play. once the sport leached into the working classes, the term football took hold, and of course, football or soccer being a more working class sport, the term football became the ordinary. Only the ignorant bemoan the term soccer, for reasons that make no sense. Call it kicky kicky feetsie ball, the sport remains the same.

            • November 4th 2013 @ 1:06pm
              Col Quinn said | November 4th 2013 @ 1:06pm | ! Report

              The name is derived from Association Football. Soccer was came from the soc in association. It was the London Cockneys who developed the name Soccer. I dont know if that fits the class theory.

        • November 4th 2013 @ 11:03am
          Muzz said | November 4th 2013 @ 11:03am | ! Report

          I think around 4 billion people call soccer football.Just saying : )

          • November 6th 2013 @ 5:03am
            Bob Anderson said | November 6th 2013 @ 5:03am | ! Report

            I don’t think 4 billion people even speak English, so I really don’t get this argument. Where are you getting this number?

            A majority of the world’s native English speakers actually call it soccer. As far as non-native speakers, there are probably less than two billion who have a reasonable working knowledge of the language.