International rugby league? Be careful what you wish for

Matt Cleary Columnist

By Matt Cleary, Matt Cleary is a Roar Expert

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    The depth of international rugby league will again come under scrutiny in this upcoming World Cup, and you can take that however you like.

    You can let it upset you. You can nod along. You can eat a packet of Doritos.

    For mine, better to just enjoy the footy.

    And acknowledge that international rugby league is better than it was. Maybe better than it’s ever been.

    Twenty years ago, in the middle of the internecine Super League War, Australia had two national rugby league competitions, two ‘Origin’ series and one international match.

    And they were vexed times at Ridgemont High.

    With the ‘establishment’ Australian rugby league laying claim to dinkum State of Origin (Super League came up with a tri-series with New Zealand, which was bad), the rebel Super League opened the purse strings to sign not only many of Australia’s best players but also entire leagues from Britain, New Zealand and the Pacific islands.

    They had no money. Then News Ltd gave the millions. No argument.

    So while the ARL played ‘official’ State of Origin fixtures, it was Super League that laid claim to internationals, such that they were.

    But as Fairfax’s Danny Weidler wrote: “International rugby league has as much credibility as some of Mal Colston’s travel claims. And at this point, so does the ‘Vision’.”

    The ‘Vision’ was rugby league played around the world, run by News Ltd. It was a bold vision indeed, and somewhat fanciful.

    “I’d like to see it like rugby union and played in as many countries,” said Laurie Daley. “I know that won’t happen when I’m a player, but when I retire I’d like to help make that happen.”

    The whole thing sucked.

    No matter that it was the official Australian international jumper, the Super League version of the Kangaroos’ kit did not look right. A splash of Federation Blue clanged against the wattle gold and eucalypt green.

    And the single fat ‘V’ stripe that ran down the front and back of the jersey and outwards onto the sleeves, was a poor imitation of the traditional golden twin-Vs and crest of Australia.

    Throw a big fat Super League logo on the chest, and it never felt like Australia’s jumper.

    Today that first Anzac Test is not listed in the records of the ARL. It is by the NZRL, however, and Kiwis who played in this fixture earned a cap, Australians did not. But the match did happen.

    And you can check it out on the YouTube now. And see this:

    After a less-than-emphatic haka led by Kiwis captain Stephen Kearney, English referee Stuart Cummins whistled time-on and the two tribes went to war.

    And it was scrappy early. Big hits caused turnovers. Ordinary bombs rained.

    A big thumper called Grant Young of New Zealand took a power of stopping. The Kiwis’ fine back-row – Kearney, Tony Iro, Tawera Nikau – ran the edges hard.

    Allan Langer was typically excellent for Australia and debutant Craig Gower kicked well.

    And after 20 minutes it was 0-0.

    And then it was all Australia.

    David Furner went on a dummying, bullocking run to plunge over on debut.

    Within minutes he had a double.

    Matt Adamson then steamed through weak defence and found Wendell Sailor who ran an angle and under the posts, beaming.

    Ryan Girdler missed the conversion, and then kicked off, it was a rule.

    Further strong work by Adamson and Sailor had a double. And at half-time it was 20-0.

    The Kiwis did not give up and came back with tries to Stacey Jones, Robbie Paul, Daryl Halligan and Sean Hoppe. But Darren Smith and Gower crossed for Australia and the Test match never reached anything much above anti-climax.

    Afterwards Glenn Lazarus said: “It was just the same feeling as pulling on the old green and gold jumper. No different.” Rodney Howe declared: “This was the best day of my life.”

    Weidler reported that “there was spirit in the crowd’s support, which said they were either hired or had paid for a ticket. One source told The Sun-Herald that only 3,800 tickets had been sold and a gate attendant reported that he did not have a single genuine ticket come through his gate.

    “Nonetheless, any crowd of 20,000 for a league Test is a good result.

    “One thing was clear, the players were genuine and Australia played very well, especially in the first half.

    “The team that Ken Arthurson labelled a ‘joke’ in last week’s Sun-Herald proved once again that we could send our third or even fourth best sides into an international league event and still come away winners.”

    After Super League’s ‘Test’ and the ARL’s City-Country match, veteran league scribe Ian Heads put together a merit team of players from both camps. There were ten ARL men and seven Super Leaguers.

    “The team was picked with a myth in mind: that Australia next week were facing the challenge of top-class British or New Zealand opponents in a true Test – the way international matches used to be played,” wrote Heads.

    “There’s no doubt that the talent is almost equally shared, and that the fans will continue to be robbed of the best of the best until the opposing camps get together.”

    Vexed days indeed.

    Bring on the Cup.

    Matt Cleary
    Matt Cleary

    Matt Cleary is a sports writer from Sydney. He enjoys golf, footy and Four Pines Pale Ale, and spends as much time as conscience allows at Long Reef GC. Tweet him @journomatcleary, or read him at his website.

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    The Crowd Says (245)

    • October 20th 2017 @ 7:27am
      Jeffrey Dun said | October 20th 2017 @ 7:27am | ! Report

      “For mine, better to just enjoy the footy.”

      I agree Matt. However, I’m not kidding myself that this is truly “international” rugby league. Most of the teams are artificial constructs – merely a sub-division of the NRL and ESL.

      Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to a number of the matches.

      • Roar Guru

        October 20th 2017 @ 9:44am
        spruce moose said | October 20th 2017 @ 9:44am | ! Report

        “Most of the teams are artificial constructs – merely a sub-division of the NRL and ESL.”

        What??

        So the international rugby union teams are each of of 15 men brave and true that have been plucked from all walks of life to have the honour of representing their country?

        Or, much more accurately, are they artificial constructs of Super Rugby and the ERCC?

        All national teams are artificial constructs…

        • October 20th 2017 @ 9:59am
          Fred said | October 20th 2017 @ 9:59am | ! Report

          Even in soccer, the ‘world game’, 90% or international representative players would play in a select few European leagues. (e.g the players representing African countries don’t play in African ‘domestic’ leagues, they play in Europe.)

          • October 20th 2017 @ 10:54am
            terrence said | October 20th 2017 @ 10:54am | ! Report

            You’re right Fred, soccer is the only true world sport, where the World Cup is darn hard to qualify for, let alone win.

            I’m not knocking the RLWC, looking forward to watching it, but if you seriously look at the sports we play in Australia, League, Union, Cricket, Netball, they are primarily sports that are traditionally played in the old “‘British Empire” countries, yes, the French and other nations may have taken a few of these sports to a varying degrees, but the core nations in most of those sports are England, New Zealand, Australia and India (cricket).

            The AFL barely rates a mention outside the southern states of Australia.

            • October 20th 2017 @ 11:05am
              Fred said | October 20th 2017 @ 11:05am | ! Report

              Soccer is the probably the biggest sport, but it is not the ‘true world sport’. No sport is. No country outside Europe or South America has ever won soccer’s world cup, and never will.

              But I’m not really interested in who plays soccer, netball or AFL because I’m not interested in those sports.

              I am a rugby league fan who is interested in rugby league.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 12:27pm
                Benji said | October 20th 2017 @ 12:27pm | ! Report

                No other sport has the flexibility to play for 2 countries in the one year or perhaps one month possibly and then change back again..RU will soon have 5 year residency instead of 3 year whereas learning the national anthem appears to be the hardest criteria for NRL. Cricket is 3 years

              • October 20th 2017 @ 12:35pm
                Fred said | October 20th 2017 @ 12:35pm | ! Report

                League already has 5 year residency.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 12:40pm
                terrence said | October 20th 2017 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

                Fred, “never will” is a long time. Teams from North America and Asia have made the final 4. Teams from every continent have made the final 16 of the soccer world cup, chances are one day a team from outside Europe and South America will win the World Cup

                But I think you missed my point, the sports we play and follow have a strong tie to our colonial heritage.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 1:12pm
                Fred said | October 20th 2017 @ 1:12pm | ! Report

                Let me guess, the team from North America was Mexico? Maybe I should have said Latin America.

                No team outside Europe or Latin America will ever win the soccer world cup.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 3:11pm
                terrence said | October 20th 2017 @ 3:11pm | ! Report

                Fred,
                No it was not Mexico, it was the USA.
                Looks like you are both poor in historical fact and predictions.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 3:31pm
                Fred said | October 20th 2017 @ 3:31pm | ! Report

                Haha, no sorry I didn’t know that the US came third 87 years ago, I had to google it. They’ve achieved nothing of note since then, before the Second World War lol. And that’s the basis of your optimism?

              • October 20th 2017 @ 8:03pm
                terrence said | October 20th 2017 @ 8:03pm | ! Report

                Yes Fred, the US came third in 1930 (long history for the soccer world cup hey, true world game!) and South Korea came fourth in 2002.

                What do I base my optimism on?

                Because:

                28 times non South American/European teams have made the round of 16.

                10 times non South American/European teams have made the last 8.

                2 times non South American/European teams have made the last 4

                nations that no one expected to win the European championships like Czechoslovakia in 1976, Denmark in 1992, and Greece 2004 show that in a low-scoring sport with penalty shoot-outs to decide the eventual finalists, let alone winners, means the sport can be a darn lottery sometimes!

                Now Fred,
                go the bed,
                with all those facts about soccer being the the world game,
                that any nation could potentially win,
                are still rolling around your feeble head.

                Note: CCed into other websites TheBoar censors.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 8:28pm
                Terry Tavita said | October 20th 2017 @ 8:28pm | ! Report

                2 times non South American/European teams have made the last 4..

                hmmm..that’s not much for a tournament spanning nearly a hundred years..

              • October 20th 2017 @ 9:47pm
                terrence said | October 20th 2017 @ 9:47pm | ! Report

                TT,

                Think about it…

                Compared to British Empire sports (league/union/netball/cricket) that have had no where near the longevity of soccer world cups (but let times that by four (league/union/netball/cricket) vs soccer world cups) how many times have league/union/netball/cricket had no historic British Empire nations in the top 4?

                League: France twice in 14 world cups
                Union: France twice in 8 world cups, Argentina twice in 8 world cups
                Netball: none in 14 world cups
                Cricket: none in 11 world cups.

                So in a combined 47 world cups, league/union/netball/cricket have had 6 non British Empire nations make the top four (and probably bugger all no of former British Empire teams make the top 8 or 16). Not really world games (though I still enjoy watching the League).

                In soccer, in 20 World Cups, two non European/South America team have made the top 4. But a whole heap of European/South American nations have. It’s a world game! And yes, one day a non-European/South American nation will win the world cup because the sport is played in almost every nation, the vast majority of those nations have professional competitions, and the best players from all nations make there way to more professional leagues in Europe/North America/Asia/South America to be their best and play the best. When a whole bunch of player from more professional leagues get back to their non European/South America teams, they could beat anyone on their day in a low scoring sport

                So TT,
                Go to bed after you pee
                To ensure the bed you do not wee
                And in your dreams remember thee
                That you pathetic arguments are not even the grade of E

                CCed into other webstes boring TheBoar censors.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 9:57pm
                Terry Tavita said | October 20th 2017 @ 9:57pm | ! Report

                it’s misleading to lump other world cups together..and, there’s no need to be rude..you don’t have the last say in sports and the roar..

              • October 20th 2017 @ 11:05pm
                terrence said | October 20th 2017 @ 11:05pm | ! Report

                TT,

                If you type a poor argument and get challenged/corrected, don’t cry for pity because it’s embarrassing and I don’t respect it. Don’t type the poor argument in the first place and then try to back it up with a subsequent poor argument like “it’s misleading…” when I pointed out that many nations globally have won/challenged for the soccer world cup compared to sports traditionally played in Australia that have a deep heritage with the British empire and that the only area where traditionally the top 4 countries have come from within form British Empire countries.

                Think about it,

                In 20 soccer world cups:
                24 different nations (at the time of the event) have made the top four
                12 different nations (at the time of the event) have made the final
                8 different nations (at the time of the event) have won the event
                it’s been hosted by 16 different nations (across 4 continents) at the time of the event, (West Germany 74 and Germany 2006).

                Now TT,
                I’ll give you no more pity,
                If you feel being corrected is rude
                You sound like an insecure dude
                And you’ll most like continue to be…

              • October 20th 2017 @ 11:20pm
                Terry Tavita said | October 20th 2017 @ 11:20pm | ! Report

                one team in 87 years to make it into the last four outside europe and south america is not a poor argument..you’re rude and abrasive because you seem uneducated and insecure..

              • October 20th 2017 @ 11:45pm
                terrence said | October 20th 2017 @ 11:45pm | ! Report

                TT,
                Three times wrong.
                2 (not 1!) none European or South America teams have made the top four in 20 soccer world cups out of the 24 nations in the world that have.
                Get basic facts correct because readers on this forum will view you as lacking an education and your future posts as factually unreliable.

                So TT,
                I’ll keep on correcting thee
                I don’t care if you think I’m abrasive
                Because your posts are not at all persuasive
                And I gather your going to continue to be…

              • October 20th 2017 @ 11:56pm
                Terry Tavita said | October 20th 2017 @ 11:56pm | ! Report

                if the US made it to the top 4 in 1930, that makes just one since (in 87 years), south korea in 2002..you’re not very bright..

              • October 21st 2017 @ 12:45am
                terrence said | October 21st 2017 @ 12:45am | ! Report

                Poor old TT,

                Technically, 2 non European/South American teams made the top 4 in within 72 years (July 1930 to June 2002) .

                And the same 2 non European/South American teams made the top 4 in within the last 87 years and 3 months (July 1930 to October 2017).

                But technically no team could have made the top four since July 2014 when the quarter finals of the last World Cup were decided, so that means the 2 non European/South American teams made the top 4 within 84 years..

                Poor old TT,
                Showing everyone he is nowhere near as smart as me
                He previously tried pity and recently poor maths
                But just keeps on making himself sound like an…
                And the readers of my posts continue to be filled with glee.

              • October 24th 2017 @ 8:01am
                Jeff Morris said | October 24th 2017 @ 8:01am | ! Report

                I agree, to be “the world sport” it would have to be the only sport played (at least the only team sport).

              • November 3rd 2017 @ 3:02pm
                Maestro said | November 3rd 2017 @ 3:02pm | ! Report

                Fred said

                “League already has 5 year residency”

                So James tedesco can play for Italy because of heritage and walk back into Aussie side in the same year because of residency and citizenship but can swap between the two at will. Flag of convenience

            • October 20th 2017 @ 5:19pm
              Wascally Wabbit said | October 20th 2017 @ 5:19pm | ! Report

              Terrence, you mentioned League, Union, Cricket etc are popular here because of our British Empire connection.
              But Soccer is also a B E game. Curious as to why it’s been less popular here (and NZ, Sth Africa ) than the Union Cricket.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 7:43pm
                terrence said | October 20th 2017 @ 7:43pm | ! Report

                WW,

                Yes, soccer was more structured in the mid 1800’s (est 1860s) by the English in the form of written rules and (somewhat) organised competitions. Hence it is played in British Empire countries, the fact it isn’t as big in many of those countries is a great question (I remember talking with the late great Darryl Eastlake about 15 years ago when his grandson and my son played in the same team (before his grandson moved to play league) one sunny Saturday about midday looking around the ground with about 200 players playing at the same time saying… “Why isn’t this the biggest professional sport in Australia?” Good question. Bigger overseas leagues, primarily.

                But soccer is probably the highest participation sport in most British Empire nations (definitely is in Australia, not sure about India or NZ, but I suspect it is the most participated sport in British Empire nations.

                However big point WW:

                The sport of soccer (non written rules / non organised competitions) had history in China (circa 200BC), Greece (written rules, circa 230AD), with also similar style soccer games in Japan, Korea and even Australia (indigenous) prior to the English formalisation in the 1860’s.

                So the game was played in some form in Asia and Europe pre-colonialism, and colonialism (not just English) spread the game across the world from 200BC.

              • October 23rd 2017 @ 12:35pm
                Dan said | October 23rd 2017 @ 12:35pm | ! Report

                Terrance,

                With respect, the argument that people liked to kick a ball around in other countries is no more evidence that those countries had a form of soccer as is the notion that Rugby can be described as having a basis in Roman history given the physical nature of Cacio Storico, or is arguable to have existed in some form in Japanese culture because sumo shares some principles with scrummaging.

                The sport of soccer is a very specific and very specifically British sport codified in their schools in much the same way that Rugby and Cricket were. The fact that other countries may have had games involving balls doesn’t have much to do with the British Empire’s success in spreading it (otherwise we ought to play it here in light of the existence of the Aboriginal ball game of Marngrook), nor does not change the fact that it remains a game rooted in British culture and thought.

            • October 23rd 2017 @ 12:27pm
              Dan said | October 23rd 2017 @ 12:27pm | ! Report

              All the big international sports are British exports – the fact that soccer has managed to break free of the “old colonies” to a greater degree is largely an accident of history, but it doesn’t show that it can be done. Although it must be said that rather ironically, soccer – arguably Britain’s most successful ever export – is least popular in its old colonial territories.

              On the international League front, I agree with this article that we should all just get over the fact that our sport is small when compared with behemoth’s like soccer or even Rugby (although it bares mentioning that the NRL is worth more than pretty well any of the individual Union club competitions around the globe).

              We all know the World Cup in League isn’t a tense battle for genuine global prestige, but it does work as a great showcase of the game to audiences that might otherwise not know about the game, and it tends to be a pretty joyous event. I for one loved the last 2 world cups – both of which were very well attended, rated and thoroughly enjoyable to watch.

          • October 22nd 2017 @ 2:11am
            Mitcher said | October 22nd 2017 @ 2:11am | ! Report

            There is no actual reality whereby 90% of international players play in ‘a select few European leagues’.

            So far off the mark.

            If you’d said 90% of the genuine elite international reps have been funnelled into these ‘select few leagues’. Maybe.

            Otherwise. Just off the mark.

        • October 20th 2017 @ 12:07pm
          Jeffrey Dun said | October 20th 2017 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

          “All national teams are artificial constructs.”

          I assume, therefore, that you would have to argue that, say, the All Blacks and the Springboks are just as artificial a construct as, say, the Italian and Lebanese Rugby League teams.

          • October 20th 2017 @ 12:13pm
            Fred said | October 20th 2017 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

            Well the Boks and All Blacks are not drawn from ‘domestic comps’ as league-bashers demand of league, are they? They’re drawn from Super Rugby.

            • October 21st 2017 @ 10:01am
              Jeffrey Dun said | October 21st 2017 @ 10:01am | ! Report

              I understand that they are drawn from their domestic SR franchises.

          • Roar Guru

            October 20th 2017 @ 12:29pm
            spruce moose said | October 20th 2017 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

            Yes Jeffrey.

            Of course.

            I felt that point was rather explicitly made.

            Both the Lebanese rugby league team and the All Blacks are as artificial as they come. Both are composite teams of the best available talent found in the most elite sub-international competitions they play in.

            • October 20th 2017 @ 1:15pm
              Jeffrey Dun said | October 20th 2017 @ 1:15pm | ! Report

              Spruce. I think the thing that makes the ABs a genuine national team and the Lebanon a pretend national team is where the representatives learnt to play their football, or where they play their senior football.

              As far as I’m aware, the bulk of the ABs (if not all) came through the NZ junior pathways and all of them have played senior football with a NZ super rugby franchise. The ABs are truly a product of the NZ Rugby Union systems.

              I’m not aware of the ABs loading their team with players who never played RU in NZ.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 1:19pm
                Fred said | October 20th 2017 @ 1:19pm | ! Report

                Did Ben T’eo learn to play union in England?

                Did Marika Koroibete learn to play union in Australia?

              • Roar Guru

                October 20th 2017 @ 2:24pm
                spruce moose said | October 20th 2017 @ 2:24pm | ! Report

                Oh Jeffrey….

                If the NZRU allowed players to be picked from outside NZ based super rugby teams, they all would have migrated off to Europe in their late teens and early 20’s and have claimed European riches.

                That the NZRU have that rule is merely yet another artificial construct.

                All national teams are artificial – that’s just the way it is.

                It’s a spurious argument at the end of the day. No world cup in any major sport would exist without at least half of the teams being fielded by expats. 70% of the football world cup teams are expat dominated.

                If the rugby union world cup wasn’t allowed to pick expats, they’d be no fiji, no samoa, no tonga, no argentina, and soon no south africa.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 3:02pm
                Benji said | October 20th 2017 @ 3:02pm | ! Report

                Te’o learnt his rugby in NZ and Koribete obviously played RU in Fiji so whats your point . Just because they played RL at some stage RL doesn’t own them and they played other sports.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 3:11pm
                Fred said | October 20th 2017 @ 3:11pm | ! Report

                My point is Te’o now represents ENGLAND in union, Koribete represents AUSTRALIA, which are just two examples of something Jeffrey claimed above that union doesn’t do (who I was replying to, not you)

              • October 20th 2017 @ 4:56pm
                Benji said | October 20th 2017 @ 4:56pm | ! Report

                Koribete and Teo had 3 year residency to qualify for their new nations and if they wish to play for their original countries they would have to spend now 5 years residency to change back. Unlike RL – get it?? By RL criteria the AFL could have a genuine world cup with teams from Croatia, Serbia, Italy, Greece, Lebanon and the many cultures that make up SA< WA and Vic all with heritage players and the token local from those countries but they don't coz people would laugh yet RL are doing the same thing.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 5:02pm
                Not so super said | October 20th 2017 @ 5:02pm | ! Report

                Incorrect Teo is heritage not residency

              • October 20th 2017 @ 5:13pm
                Benji said | October 20th 2017 @ 5:13pm | ! Report

                Te’o therefore has both….

              • October 20th 2017 @ 5:23pm
                Jacko said | October 20th 2017 @ 5:23pm | ! Report

                Fred that GREAT TONGAN Taumalolo was born and raised in NZ and has NEVER enen lived in Tonga….He represented NZ in League THIS YEAR…..Please show ANY EXAMPLE of this EVER happening in Union since Daly Messenger played for the All Blacks as a Guest. League will never be Union Fred….Its played in 4 countries and 3 of those countries are no 1 2 & 3 in Union

              • October 20th 2017 @ 7:24pm
                Fred said | October 20th 2017 @ 7:24pm | ! Report

                Craig Wing playing Union for Japan? He’s Japanese through and through, eh?

                Craig Gower playing Union for Italy? Italian through and through, eh?

                Lol!

              • October 20th 2017 @ 7:40pm
                Terry Tavita said | October 20th 2017 @ 7:40pm | ! Report

                fekitoa playing for all blacks?..naholo playing for all blacks? koroibete playing for the wallabies?..what does an aussie and a kiwi looks like anyway?..or should every player in the japanese team look ethnic japanese?..cities like tokyo like everywhere else in the world is growing in diversity..

              • October 21st 2017 @ 10:13pm
                Benji said | October 21st 2017 @ 10:13pm | ! Report

                Frwd

                Wing and Gower lived 3 years in respective countries to qualify and played Rugby in those countries for 3 years. Do you understand?? BTW I assume you supported the Wallabies win over ABs

            • October 20th 2017 @ 5:22pm
              Jeffrey Dun said | October 20th 2017 @ 5:22pm | ! Report

              Benji – I love your suggestion that the AFL could stage a world cup. Spruce would not think it absurd because he considers all national teams to be artificial constructions.

          • October 20th 2017 @ 5:00pm
            Not so super said | October 20th 2017 @ 5:00pm | ! Report

            How about the Samoan or Tongan teams? Italy probably has more home grown players
            But it’s not cool to say that about the islands

            • October 22nd 2017 @ 7:14am
              Mack said | October 22nd 2017 @ 7:14am | ! Report

              Haha Fred… you can’t be comparing international teams in union and league?! Joke

    • October 20th 2017 @ 7:40am
      Dontcallmeshirley said | October 20th 2017 @ 7:40am | ! Report

      International league has little credibility. It is a sport very much restrictred to the East coast of Australia and a few English villages.
      Why do we bother with a world cup?. Can we not just be satisfied with a vibrant club competition and the SOO?

      • October 20th 2017 @ 8:06am
        nerval said | October 20th 2017 @ 8:06am | ! Report

        PNG isn’t a little English village. It has roughly double the land mass of the UK and a population roughly equivalent to the combined peoples of New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga. What is it about PNG, in particular, that so many Australians – usually, but not always fans of other sports, especially rugby union – love to belittle? Why is their maniacal passion for the game so often banished when, say, Samoa’s passion for union or Fiji’s for union sevens is so often celebrated?

        Leeds, home of the Super League champions, isn’t a little English village either. It’s England’s third most populous city.

        The players representing France will often be from small villages and bigger towns such as Perpignan – although how the size of the village affects one’s appreciation of a rugby league team or its players differs from one person to another, I suppose.

        Here’s a splendid article on Lebanon’s World Cup representatives in the Guardian today:

        https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/20/lebanons-world-cup-is-about-more-than-simply-rugby-league

        • October 20th 2017 @ 8:34am
          Terry Tavita said | October 20th 2017 @ 8:34am | ! Report

          because 90 percent of png’s population are not urbanized..they live in remote villages and enclaves and probably don’t play any sports we know of..

          • October 20th 2017 @ 8:43am
            nerval said | October 20th 2017 @ 8:43am | ! Report

            Port Moresby, a city of over 400,000, will play passionate host to some of the most eagerly-awaited games of the entire competition.

            And, I must admit, I think of something other than a seething metropolis whenever I envision Samoa, Fiji or Tonga. And yet, nonetheless, their passion for rugby union is acknowledged and celebrated.

            • October 20th 2017 @ 10:16am
              Terry Tavita said | October 20th 2017 @ 10:16am | ! Report

              samoans have a passion for all sports samoans are good at..union, league, boxing, weightlifting, american football (if it’s available)..same as nz and other countries..if the tall blacks or black ferns are winning, people will go watch it..

              • October 20th 2017 @ 6:01pm
                nerval said | October 20th 2017 @ 6:01pm | ! Report

                Which, Terry, has absolutely nothing to do with anything I’ve argued.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 6:40pm
                Terry Tavita said | October 20th 2017 @ 6:40pm | ! Report

                it does..toa samoa is big in the islands..and all samoans i know in auckland are going to hamilton for the kiwi clash and a week later in north harbour to watch the tongan smash..wouldn’t be surprised if those two matches will be sold out

              • October 20th 2017 @ 6:44pm
                nerval said | October 20th 2017 @ 6:44pm | ! Report

                Ah, I get your point now Terry. I’m just not sure to whom you were directing it.

              • October 22nd 2017 @ 2:15am
                Mitcher said | October 22nd 2017 @ 2:15am | ! Report

                Tezza. Your positions on PNG and Samoa seem in direct contradiction.

          • October 20th 2017 @ 9:14am
            Fred said | October 20th 2017 @ 9:14am | ! Report

            What’s urbanization got to do with anything? Do you have to live in a city to play sport?

            I’d take a footy player from PNG’s Highlands over a footy player from Surry Hills any day.

            • Roar Guru

              October 20th 2017 @ 9:27am
              The Barry said | October 20th 2017 @ 9:27am | ! Report

              Hahaha…geez it would be good to watch the two clash though Fred!

            • October 20th 2017 @ 10:18am
              Terry Tavita said | October 20th 2017 @ 10:18am | ! Report

              doubt there’d be many footy pitches up those mountains..

              • October 20th 2017 @ 10:26am
                Fred said | October 20th 2017 @ 10:26am | ! Report

                Well, they mightn’t have Suncorp Stadiums up there, but they still play.

                Rugby league is part of the school curriculum, so every school in PNG plays.

          • October 20th 2017 @ 1:35pm
            Aidan said | October 20th 2017 @ 1:35pm | ! Report

            How much do you know about islander villages? I can only speak for Fiji as I spent a few weeks in one of the poorer villages on one of the smaller islands. They most definitely know what rugby league and Union is, they play it/iterations of the game from when they are 5/6. They had taped the 2012 grand final of the NRL and watched it most days.

        • October 20th 2017 @ 8:41am
          Dontcallmeshirley said | October 20th 2017 @ 8:41am | ! Report

          With all due respect to PNG, you prove my point. Is it the peak of a Kangaroos player’s career to win a match against PNG or Leads?

          • October 20th 2017 @ 8:44am
            nerval said | October 20th 2017 @ 8:44am | ! Report

            With all due respect, your point was disproved: ” It is a sport very much restrictred to the East coast of Australia and a few English villages.”

            And Leeds won’t be playing in the World Cup. They’re a club side.

          • October 20th 2017 @ 8:58am
            Fred said | October 20th 2017 @ 8:58am | ! Report

            If you can’t spell ‘Leeds’ you shouldn’t be commenting on geography.

            • October 20th 2017 @ 9:48am
              Dontcallmeshirley said | October 20th 2017 @ 9:48am | ! Report

              Please accept my apologies for misspelling Leeds.
              Clearly I was not commenting on geography. I was trying to say that we should just enjoy our NRL and SOO without trying to pretend we have a “World” cup. I find watching the Kangaroos belting Kiribati cringeworthy.

              • Roar Guru

                October 20th 2017 @ 9:59am
                Sleiman Azizi said | October 20th 2017 @ 9:59am | ! Report

                But we do have a World Cup.

                And you can enjoy the NRL and Origin if you want.

                And there are many who find the adulation of Origin cringe worthy.

                So why is it then that your “just enjoy our NRL and SOO without trying to pretend we have World Cup” get preference.

                At least the World Cup view allows your for your preferences…

              • October 20th 2017 @ 10:07am
                Fred said | October 20th 2017 @ 10:07am | ! Report

                Good for you, I find matches involving teams like France, Fiji and PNG enthralling. This years Pacific Tests were more enjoyable to me than most NRL matches this year.

                PS I didn’t know Kiribati were playing at the world cup? Or is that just you having a back-hand at the Island nations who ARE playing, as being somehow insignificant? I’d like to see you actually say that to the face of the players.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 5:28pm
                Jacko said | October 20th 2017 @ 5:28pm | ! Report

                Fred how many of the Island team personel are from the Islands? Is there even a League comp in any of the Island nations….NO

              • October 20th 2017 @ 6:38pm
                Justin Kearney said | October 20th 2017 @ 6:38pm | ! Report

                Yes jacko. There are league comps on each of the islands.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 6:04pm
                nerval said | October 20th 2017 @ 6:04pm | ! Report

                No, Dontcallmeshirley, your spelling of Leeds is immaterial. It’s just that Leeds is neither a small English village nor on Australia’s seaboard. PNG is an altogether different place. Do you get it?

              • October 22nd 2017 @ 12:29pm
                TingoTango said | October 22nd 2017 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

                but we need to start somewhere.

                The RLWC is progressing with each event. For example the USA team which did not have many local players last time this time the majority are from the domestic competition.

                The Italian side has many locals including one player who played 89 test for the RU side.

                Jarryd Hayne said that when he went to Fiji before the 2008 RLWC no one knew them, this time they were mobbed in the street.

                PNG will be hosting matches for the first time and they are improving especially since coming into the Intrust cup in Qld.

                Lebanon has 5 domestic players up from none in 2000.

                There are other good stories however my point is that we need to keep building the international game. Just because it is not as good as the FIFA World Cup or the RU world cup that does not matter.

                In the end not so many sports have a great world cup set up outside of these 2 sports so we should be looking to the future to make sure it builds from there

              • Roar Guru

                October 22nd 2017 @ 9:45pm
                Sleiman Azizi said | October 22nd 2017 @ 9:45pm | ! Report

                I enjoyed reading this comment.

                Thanks.

        • October 20th 2017 @ 10:31am
          bbt said | October 20th 2017 @ 10:31am | ! Report

          What a great article. Says what the RLWC is all about and what it means to countries like Lebanon.

        • October 20th 2017 @ 11:12am
          RandyM said | October 20th 2017 @ 11:12am | ! Report

          nerval, the general narrative is that you are not suppose to talk about rugby league or mention anything positive about it. This is highly offensive and threatening to fans of certain other sports and by that I mean mostly Union and to a lesser extent AFL.

      • October 20th 2017 @ 8:07am
        Not so super said | October 20th 2017 @ 8:07am | ! Report

        We can still play legitimate international games. Leeds is not a village

        • October 20th 2017 @ 9:18am
          Kieran said | October 20th 2017 @ 9:18am | ! Report

          Check the crowds for the QRL grand final in Port Moresby and tell me no one likes league. Compare that to some of the first round NRL finals games

      • Roar Rookie

        October 20th 2017 @ 9:06am
        Matthew Pearce said | October 20th 2017 @ 9:06am | ! Report

        You might be satisfied with that, but many of us aren’t. Many of us would love to see the game grow and expand, and see genuine international competition. The game will be better for it.

        This regressionist attitude does nothing but hurt the game.

      • Roar Guru

        October 20th 2017 @ 9:36am
        Sleiman Azizi said | October 20th 2017 @ 9:36am | ! Report

        Rugby league DOES exists internationally, with varying standards, of course.

        Why then shouldn’t World Cups and other international tournaments be staged, promoted and supported?

        Why should people believe the lie that league only exists on ‘the east coast of Australia and a few English villages’?

        Why shouldn’t people see the bigger picture and enjoy the potential of their code being realised?

        I’ll tell you why. The village mind.

        Ouch.

        • October 20th 2017 @ 10:08am
          clipper said | October 20th 2017 @ 10:08am | ! Report

          All sports, in this global age, exist to varying degrees internationally. Kabbadi is big in Asia, but is played all over the world and has a growing world cup. Even AFL is played all over the world, with teams in Denmark, England, Canada etc.

          • October 20th 2017 @ 4:33pm
            matth said | October 20th 2017 @ 4:33pm | ! Report

            I give you the Qidditch World Cup.

            Let’s be honest, if to have a World Cup you need to have a large number of countries from every area of the globe each having an elite professional club competition to choose players from then you have:

            – Athletics but only since the 60’s when the Africans arrived. Before that it was primarily Europe and the USA
            – Football but only since the 80’s when the Asians arrived. Before that it was primarily Europe and South America
            – Basketball, but only since the 80’s when the game in Europe and South America became more professional
            – Rugby Union, but only if you accept that Mainland Europe only consists of France and recently Italy and Asia only consists of Japan.

            So the upshot of all that is who cares? Does it matter to the guy running out to represent Lebanon, the USA or PNG this month? Not one bit.

            OK, so let’s forget about spread and talk population instead. Any global sport simply has to include China and India or it is a dwarf in the population stakes. That excludes basketball and ahtletics (because of India) and Rubgy Union (both). And football is now only legitimate since the 200’s or maybe the 90’s, because before that India was hockey and China was badminton.

          • October 20th 2017 @ 6:40pm
            Justin Kearney said | October 20th 2017 @ 6:40pm | ! Report

            Clipper the afl fanboy strikes again!

          • October 22nd 2017 @ 2:20am
            Mitcher said | October 22nd 2017 @ 2:20am | ! Report

            Lifelong Aussie rules fan. My whole family from Adelaide.
            But your comment is utter rubbish. All over the world. Gold.

            • November 3rd 2017 @ 3:10pm
              Maestro said | November 3rd 2017 @ 3:10pm | ! Report

              There are 100 counties that play Union of varying standards. They enter teams in RUWC qualifiers and the majority of players live or were bought up in their country. Eg Russia in 2011 RUWC had 29 Russian domiciled players? and one Aussie of Russian heritage. That’s a World Cup. AFL could have World Cup of a couple of locals and heritage players from Croatia, Serbia, Greece, Lebanon Ireland, England, Scotland, USA, the Pacific Islands etc but doesn’t because that would be laughable. As is the RLWC…

              • November 3rd 2017 @ 3:34pm
                Justin Kearney said | November 3rd 2017 @ 3:34pm | ! Report

                Then dont watch it maestro. Simples.

      • Roar Pro

        October 20th 2017 @ 11:04am
        Alexander Clough said | October 20th 2017 @ 11:04am | ! Report

        Yeah, and now Canada’s most populous city, as well as New York. The international game is growing, and long may it continue!

        • October 20th 2017 @ 4:35pm
          matth said | October 20th 2017 @ 4:35pm | ! Report

          And kudos to the English Super League for taking this expansionary route in letting these clubs come on board. Australia have played their part as well. Who knows where NZ rugby league would now if the Warriors had not been included, and the QRL have included PNG, to great effect.

    • October 20th 2017 @ 8:09am
      Not so super said | October 20th 2017 @ 8:09am | ! Report

      I think you should have found a better reference than Danny weidler
      Actually his quote would have made more sense if it was ” has as much credibility as my journalism “

      • October 20th 2017 @ 9:09am
        Oingo Boingo said | October 20th 2017 @ 9:09am | ! Report

        BOO YEAH !

      • October 20th 2017 @ 8:35pm
        Hard ship said | October 20th 2017 @ 8:35pm | ! Report

        Or “name one reader who values my opinion anywhere in the English speaking universe”..

    • October 20th 2017 @ 8:22am
      republican said | October 20th 2017 @ 8:22am | ! Report

      ……an analogy with Union is often made, boasting a greater international status than League.
      That said there are only two nations that would win the Union WC these days and thats England & NZ, so in that respect, Unions status is highly inflated.
      In regards to League, there are three nations that can realistically win the WC and they are NZ, England & Australia.
      Leagues status is looking quite competitive in that context………..

      • October 20th 2017 @ 9:52am
        Fred said | October 20th 2017 @ 9:52am | ! Report

        True. And if we’re to use the language of the league-bashers league is not played in ‘England’ it’s played in ‘southern England’.

        Rugby union is disintegrating in two of its traditional powerhouses – Australia and South Africa. International union is DOMINATED by a single country that is smaller than Sydney. The All Blacks will win the next union world cup without question.

        • October 20th 2017 @ 10:02am
          Rob9 said | October 20th 2017 @ 10:02am | ! Report

          Again, couldn’t be spoken by someone with a more unrealistic view of rugby. Stick to league Fred. These sorts of comparisons and comments do little for the credibility of the comments you make regarding leagues ‘internationalism’. They come off as petty and from someone who is clutching at straws in their argument.

        • October 20th 2017 @ 10:22am
          rugby365 said | October 20th 2017 @ 10:22am | ! Report

          The All blacks have always gone into the world cups as favourites but it wasn’t until 2011 they won their second world cup. They have a young team and are building nicely come world cup but all it takes is one bad game in the finals and they are out. England are on a good run, so is Ireland who have won against the abs last year and England this year. Scotland too won against australia. South Africa push the abs close, but they face political issues due to their quoter system but show no sign of “disintegrating” same with australia. Japan and the island teams can also cause an upset. So your theory on a 2 horse race is incorrect.

          • October 20th 2017 @ 10:33am
            Fred said | October 20th 2017 @ 10:33am | ! Report

            How many consecutive Bledisloe cups has Australia now lost to the All Blacks? Every time Australia and South Africa lose to the All Blacks, they’re described as ‘getting closer’. Well they’ve been getting closer for a very long time!

            Rugby Union is collapsing in South Africa (in fairness, not its own fault, more to do with that country’s racial politics). It is collapsing in Australia, where it couldn’t even sustain 5 professional teams.

            Just because a Scottish or ‘Japanese’ team can fluke wins against those poor sides doesn’t disprove the All Blacks dominance.

            And surely you don’t really believe Japan or the Island teams could cause an upset against the All Blacks?

            • October 20th 2017 @ 10:40am
              Rob9 said | October 20th 2017 @ 10:40am | ! Report

              Sure the health of rugby in SA and Australia isn’t good. But the reality is, they’re probably closer (at least no further away) to the current world champions than the Kiwis or England are to leagues equivalent (the Kangaroos). By the by, rugby couldn’t sustain 5 professional teams in Super Rugby. There’s a difference.

            • October 20th 2017 @ 10:49am
              rugby365 said | October 20th 2017 @ 10:49am | ! Report

              dont think japan or the islands can do that to the abs but no doubt one of the top 10 teams can as proven in past world cups. Not denying the abs dominance at all but to suggest they are a shoe in to win the next world cup is laughable. Any real rugby fan will know this

              • October 20th 2017 @ 11:07am
                Fred said | October 20th 2017 @ 11:07am | ! Report

                Every Bledisloe Cup since 2,000BC has seen commentary from ‘real rugby fans’ that THIS TIME we’ll beat the All Blacks.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 11:12am
                Rob9 said | October 20th 2017 @ 11:12am | ! Report

                Fred, last time we beat the All Blacks was 2015. Ironically the same year the Kiwis last beat the Kangaroos.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 11:40am
                Fred said | October 20th 2017 @ 11:40am | ! Report

                The Bledisloe is best of 3, one game is not good enough I’m afraid. How many consecutive Bledisloes have the All Blacks won against Australia?

              • October 20th 2017 @ 12:02pm
                Rob9 said | October 20th 2017 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

                Does it really matter what order the wins come in? When comparing the gap between 2 teams across two codes, looking at the individual records is the most accurate reflection. Over the last 40 tests which takes us back to the early 2000’s (just following a dominant period of Australian rugby which helps leagues case in this regard), the Kiwis have beaten the Kangaroos 8 times and the Wallabies have beaten the All Blacks 6. Each of the lesser national team recorded their last win against their more dominant neighbor in 2015. I’d say the gap in the trans Tasman rivalry is quite comparable. The only difference is, the Wallabies lose more often outside of these trans Tasman fixtures than the Kiwis do because it’s a more competitive landscape in union, giving off the illusion that the gap is closer between these ANZAC nations in league.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 1:46pm
                Aidan said | October 20th 2017 @ 1:46pm | ! Report

                You seem to forget that until 2015 the kiwis had won the world cup and tri series before it.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 12:17pm
                Fred said | October 20th 2017 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

                Yes it matters, because if the All Blacks have won every single Bledisloe for 16 years, it suggests that the All Blacks are just as dominant in their sport – more so in fact – than the Kangaroos are in RL.

                Australia is one of the best RU nations in the world. If they can’t beat the All Blacks in a series, despite trying every year for 16 years, then it shows international RU is not competitive. It’s NZ tier 1, and everyone else is a tier 2 country.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 12:24pm
                Rob9 said | October 20th 2017 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

                Fred the Wallabies won the 2015 Rugby Championship (of course involving the AB’s). But individual records IS all that matters and the fact remains the Kiwis and the Wallabies is comparable over the worlds best in their respective codes.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 5:36pm
                Jacko said | October 20th 2017 @ 5:36pm | ! Report

                Fred get those facts rigght please….in 2015 there was TWO Bledisloe matches and Aus won 1…..Also you start from 2003 yet Aus held the Cup from 1998-2002…..Also of the 4 nations where league has a reasonable comp 3 are at the top in Union with NZ no 1, England no 2 and Aus no 3 so even in those great League nations they have greater Union sides

            • October 21st 2017 @ 1:20pm
              republican said | October 21st 2017 @ 1:20pm | ! Report

              …..sock it to them Fred!

        • October 21st 2017 @ 1:14pm
          republican said | October 21st 2017 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

          ……I concur with you mostly Fred however, wasn’t League hatched in the north of England?
          I dont believe Australia were ever a power house at Union but we certainly punched above our weight at various times throughout.
          Unions status has always been niche in this country and is only regressing as we evolve more diverse, truth be told…………

          • October 21st 2017 @ 7:23pm
            Rob9 said | October 21st 2017 @ 7:23pm | ! Report

            ”I concur with you mostly Fred”

            That’s your first, second and third mistake right there.

            ”I dont believe Australia were ever a power house at Union”

            Of course you would believe that, cause its clear as day you don’t know what you’re talking about as far as rugby union is concerned.

      • October 20th 2017 @ 9:58am
        Rob9 said | October 20th 2017 @ 9:58am | ! Report

        This comment is well off reality. If you can see England and New Zealand realistically winning the rugby league World Cup, anyone with even a passing interest in Union would say they could at least Australia, Ireland and South Africa winning the rugby World Cup. And that’s being ‘realistic’. Given how long it’s been since England has beaten the Kangaroos, you could probably throw France in rugby’s ‘realistic’ potential champions too.

        • Roar Guru

          October 20th 2017 @ 10:12am
          Sleiman Azizi said | October 20th 2017 @ 10:12am | ! Report

          England and New Zealand are more than capable of winning the World Cup.

          Of course, they’ll need to play the way that they are capable of do it.

          Hopefully England will win it this time.

          If not, at least there will be another World Cup.

          Touch wood.

          • October 20th 2017 @ 10:17am
            Rob9 said | October 20th 2017 @ 10:17am | ! Report

            Im not saying they’re not capable. But if they’re the yardstick of possessing the capabilities to win the RLWC, there’s plenty more than just the AB’s and England who are capable of winning the RWC.

            • Roar Guru

              October 20th 2017 @ 10:26am
              Sleiman Azizi said | October 20th 2017 @ 10:26am | ! Report

              Sure.

              But the number of teams/nations capable or realistically able to win a World Cup is not an indication of the legitimacy of a World Cup.

              Good luck to Australia for being the best.

              And good luck to the other nations as they compete with each other.

              It’s all good.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 10:33am
                Rob9 said | October 20th 2017 @ 10:33am | ! Report

                Nor am I saying the number of competitive nations at a World Cup provides an indication of its ‘legitimacy’. The only question of legitimacy there is around here is the unfortunately flawed comments from those that feel compelled to make inaccurate comparisons between the RLWC and RWC.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 4:39pm
                matth said | October 20th 2017 @ 4:39pm | ! Report

                I’d imagine the basketball world cup is a waste of time. But it is one of the most played sports in the world and has one of the highest numbers of professional leagues.

            • October 20th 2017 @ 10:28am
              Fred said | October 20th 2017 @ 10:28am | ! Report

              NZ won the rugby LEAGUE world cup in 2008, so yes they’re very capable of doing it.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 10:36am
                Rob9 said | October 20th 2017 @ 10:36am | ! Report

                I’m not saying they’re not. But you’ve even started to prove your own point wrong with this statement. SA won the RWC in 2007 (not to mention got within a point and some poor refereeing of the AB’s a few weeks ago). Are they not then ‘capable’ of winning the RWC?

              • October 20th 2017 @ 12:17pm
                Andy said | October 20th 2017 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

                Ian that you Michael Cheika??

              • October 20th 2017 @ 10:59am
                Fred said | October 20th 2017 @ 10:59am | ! Report

                Rob9 yes I do know, and I’m not trying to exaggerate the poor state of union. I know it has a presence in certain countries that league does not (most credibly, Argentina and South Africa) I wouldn’t be drawn into commenting on union if league-bashers didn’t swarm over every article on international league.

                I have never in my life made a derogatory comment about the health of union on a union article. But when league-bashers come onto league articles, I can’t help but respond.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 11:09am
                Rob9 said | October 20th 2017 @ 11:09am | ! Report

                Fred, take a look at the comment from republican and your post. Nobody was pumping up union at leagues expense. Both these original comments are so uninformed and just plain wrong it’s not funny. It does nothing for your cause.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 11:10am
                Terry Tavita said | October 20th 2017 @ 11:10am | ! Report

                union is not just popular in south africa..it is popular all over africa, esp. the southern african states plus kenya up north..rugby is not just popular in argentina, it is also somewhat widely played in chile, uruguay and recently, brazil..that regionalism keeps the sport, or any sport, going

              • October 20th 2017 @ 11:13am
                Fred said | October 20th 2017 @ 11:13am | ! Report

                If union is so big all over Africa, how come little old Namibia is the only other African country to ever play at the world cup? And they get flogged by 100 points every time.

              • October 21st 2017 @ 9:24am
                Rakavi Fan said | October 21st 2017 @ 9:24am | ! Report

                Fred, soccer is big in Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore etc but they never get into the soccer world cup. But it is still popular in these countries. Rugby is (I found this out, to my surprise, when I worked there from 2005-2007) quite big in Sri Lanka (they even contract Fijians to play for and coach teams) but it may never get into the RWC. Being popular in country does not mean the country will get into the world cup. I’m a rugby fan but this is not a league-bashing comment, but a response to Fred’s comment.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 11:21am
                Terry Tavita said | October 20th 2017 @ 11:21am | ! Report

                maybe they’re just not good at it..or at least play at a level to beat other countries..rugby is the national sport of madagasca and they’ve never qualified for a rugby world cup nor won the african rugby cup..in saying that, i’ve been to zimbabwe, mozambique and botswana and rugby union has a noticeable presence there..

              • October 20th 2017 @ 1:05pm
                RandyM said | October 20th 2017 @ 1:05pm | ! Report

                do the locals of madagacar know that rugby is their national sport?

              • October 20th 2017 @ 11:25am
                Rob9 said | October 20th 2017 @ 11:25am | ! Report

                They lost 58-14 when they played the eventual champions in the pool stage at the last RWC. Not exactly a 100-point thrashing is it? Again Fred, stick to league. These sorts of comments do nothing for your credibility including in those areas of sport that you claim to know something.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 11:36am
                Terry Tavita said | October 20th 2017 @ 11:36am | ! Report

                namibia has a solid scrum, a couple of good loosies but lack inventive backs..they also play slow-plodding rugby and need to speed up their game..

              • October 20th 2017 @ 11:44am
                Fred said | October 20th 2017 @ 11:44am | ! Report

                Union may have noticeable in Zimbabwe, BEFORE Mugabe drove out anyone with white skin.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 11:45am
                Fred said | October 20th 2017 @ 11:45am | ! Report

                Ok, I repent, I repent, Namibia and Madagascar have champion rugby union sides that could well knock off the All Blacks.

              • October 21st 2017 @ 9:28am
                Rakavi Fan said | October 21st 2017 @ 9:28am | ! Report

                Fred, no one is saying that they can beat the ABs. The point is that these countries have credible rugby competitions and the sport is popular.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 12:53pm
                clipper said | October 20th 2017 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

                What Fred fails to note is that Namibia only just lost to Georgia (where Rugby is the national sport) 17-16 and did OK against Tonga 35-21.
                58-14 isn’t that terrible against the All Blacks.
                We can’t compare the 21st ranked team vs the no. 1 ranked team in league as they’ve never played one another, but Lebanon lost 64-0 against NZ,
                The 7th placed team, Ireland lost 50-0 against Australia, The 4th placed team Scotland, mostly featuring players based on their love of deep fried mars bars, lost to Australia 54-12 in 2016, which is about the same score as the All Blacks and Namibia – which shows the difference of depth i.e. the 4th place league team is equal to the 21st placed Rugby team.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 1:15pm
                Fred said | October 20th 2017 @ 1:15pm | ! Report

                Haha I’m sorry for not knowing Namibia did well against Georgia. Good on them.

                I’m sure Georgia will join Madagascar and Namibia in threatening the All Blacks.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 1:49pm
                Rob9 said | October 20th 2017 @ 1:49pm | ! Report

                For someone who’s intent on pushing the cart of international rugby league, your tone on all things international rugby is truly laughable.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 3:32pm
                Fred said | October 20th 2017 @ 3:32pm | ! Report

                Rob9 I don’t comment on union articles, because I’m not a union fan. I comment on league articles.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 3:55pm
                Rob9 said | October 20th 2017 @ 3:55pm | ! Report

                Yet you comment about union on league articles Anyone can see you’re not a union fan from the misinformed content of your comments where unions concerned.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 3:57pm
                Fred said | October 20th 2017 @ 3:57pm | ! Report

                In response to the same old ‘international league is a joke’ union types who can’t help coming to these articles…

              • October 20th 2017 @ 4:08pm
                Rob9 said | October 20th 2017 @ 4:08pm | ! Report

                No. It started here by you backing up and adding to the uninformed tripe spun by republican. By all means, celebrate and enjoy the gains you feel international rugby league is making. But why do it at another codes expense? You’re not exactly coming from a position of strength when throwing rocks as an international league fan.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 4:15pm
                Fred said | October 20th 2017 @ 4:15pm | ! Report

                Maybe because every single time there’s an article on international rugby league it’s swarmed by people who hate the code and I’m sick of it. It’s happened to every single Roar article on the world cup this month. Fans of other codes bombard them with ‘my code’s so much better because it’s way more international’ type comments.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 4:53pm
                Rob9 said | October 20th 2017 @ 4:53pm | ! Report

                As said, there’s next to no substance in any of the evaluations or comparisons you’ve attempted to make where international rugby is concerned. It comes off as petty and damages your opinion on matters where you might some value to add.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 5:22pm
                Benji said | October 20th 2017 @ 5:22pm | ! Report

                RL are closer games than RU because no matter what you get the ball for 6 tackles and the ref has greater impact with penalties (30-40 yards for touch then 6 tackles) where 40% of penalties end in tries. This is its downfall as the rest of the week they whinge about the reffing. BTW is the RLWC draw loaded up to prevent whitewashes like it was last time which explains the relative lack of whitewashes in international RL. Not only is the selection criteria lopsided but the last and earlier RLWC draws were fixed so Australia didn’t play Lebanon or the like..

              • October 20th 2017 @ 5:41pm
                Jacko said | October 20th 2017 @ 5:41pm | ! Report

                I have never in my life made a derogatory comment about the health of union on a union article. But when league-bashers come onto league articles, I can’t help but respond.

                Sooooooo funny when all we are doing is reacting to your rubbish anti union comments…..I love both and follow both…why are you not capable of that?….And you dont know much about union as you dont follow it so unfortunately you get so much wrong when you have a go at anyone who likes union….league doesnt even compete with AFL in Aus so just enjoy your choice of sport and stop bagging any one elses

              • October 20th 2017 @ 9:05pm
                Fred said | October 20th 2017 @ 9:05pm | ! Report

                Jacko, stick to your sport, and I’ll stick to league. We both know you don’t love both codes. I don’t either, but then I’m on the league site.

              • October 21st 2017 @ 12:39am
                Bakkies said | October 21st 2017 @ 12:39am | ! Report

                ‘If union is so big all over Africa, how come little old Namibia is the only other African country to ever play at the world cup? And they get flogged by 100 points every time.’

                South Africa, Namibia, Ivory Coast and Zimbabwe are the African nations that have played in the Rugby World Cup.

              • October 21st 2017 @ 11:02am
                Jacko said | October 21st 2017 @ 11:02am | ! Report

                Fred I follow League probably closer than you do but thanks for pointing out to me that I dont…..Now I can not bother with the 6 or 7 games I watch every weekend during the season…now I can stop watching closley the progress of the Warriors and Tigers which I have followed since 1985 for the Tigers and from the Warriors inclusion. I am so glad you know everything about what I like and I am so glad you have such a strong desire to inform me constantly what it is I like and what I dont…..It will save me $$$$$ on my fox subscription from now on….Tosser

        • October 21st 2017 @ 1:15pm
          republican said | October 21st 2017 @ 1:15pm | ! Report

          …….NZ until very recently were ranked number one in League and are currently # 2, while NZ are far more competitive v Australia in League than we are v them in Union.
          Unions status is inflated here courtesy of all the expat Kiwis who give the code exclusive O2………….

          • October 21st 2017 @ 7:26pm
            Rob9 said | October 21st 2017 @ 7:26pm | ! Report

            ”NZ are far more competitive v Australia in League than we are v them in Union.”

            Read the thread. This myth has well and truly been debunked.

            Excellent stance on who the constitution should recognise as our head of state, clueless insights on rugby union.

            • October 21st 2017 @ 10:50pm
              Terry Tavita said | October 21st 2017 @ 10:50pm | ! Report

              wallabies just beat the ABs 23-18…duh?

              • October 21st 2017 @ 11:03pm
                Rob9 said | October 21st 2017 @ 11:03pm | ! Report

                I’m not sure why you’ve aimed this at me. But yes, it further renders the misinformed commentary from Fred and republican irrelevant.

      • October 20th 2017 @ 10:04am
        clipper said | October 20th 2017 @ 10:04am | ! Report

        republican – the big difference is the competitiveness.
        In Rugby there are quite a few nations that can, and do, beat each other. Japan even beat South Africa. No one outside the top 3 has beaten a top 3 side for ages and ages in league. England hasn’t beaten Australia for over 10 years.
        The odds of Australia winning the RLWC are $1.20 – the next closest is $8 – that’s very, very short odd and reflects the lack of competitiveness. Compare that to the RWC where the All Blacks are $2.10 and England $5 – quite a different story.
        I also disagree with your assessment. Sth Africa ($8), Ireland($8) or Australia ($9) could win, but it’s very unlikely – like NZ and England could win the RLWC, but that also is unlikeley

        • October 20th 2017 @ 4:43pm
          matth said | October 20th 2017 @ 4:43pm | ! Report

          Scotland did draw with NZ recently in league, so that was close. There is an expectation that Tonga might knock over the Kiwis this time as well, mainly due to the Kiwis doing a very good interpretation of a rabble at the moment.

          • October 20th 2017 @ 5:11pm
            Benji said | October 20th 2017 @ 5:11pm | ! Report

            Scotland, made up entirely of players born in England, and none who had ever lived or played in Scotland played the game in northern England when they could have gone 50 miles north and played in Scotland but they didn’t. Not one player from the fledgling Scottish RL. Its like Croatian AFL playing Australia AFL with heritage players…BTW is the RLWC draw loaded up to prevent whitewashes like it was last time.

            • October 20th 2017 @ 5:59pm
              Terry Tavita said | October 20th 2017 @ 5:59pm | ! Report

              is league professional in scotland?

              • October 20th 2017 @ 6:14pm
                nerval said | October 20th 2017 @ 6:14pm | ! Report

                Were union’s World cups featuring professional teams since its inception? If the answer is no – and it is – does this then de-legitimise them?

              • October 20th 2017 @ 6:24pm
                Terry Tavita said | October 20th 2017 @ 6:24pm | ! Report

                ok..so you want scottish amateurs to play against aussie pros? i’m sure scotland wants to win too..

              • October 20th 2017 @ 6:30pm
                nerval said | October 20th 2017 @ 6:30pm | ! Report

                No, Terry, I have no interest as to whether they’re amateurs or professionals. You posed the question. I answered it.

              • October 20th 2017 @ 6:45pm
                Terry Tavita said | October 20th 2017 @ 6:45pm | ! Report

                sorry..was responding to benji who obviously wants the scotland league team to be made up entirely of part-time footy players in glasgow..

              • October 21st 2017 @ 10:22pm
                Benji said | October 21st 2017 @ 10:22pm | ! Report

                No I would like them to have some credibility for the nation they are repsenting and take the opportunity to play in their own country, Ireland RL played in Munster? 300 miles away so why didn’t Scotland???

            • October 21st 2017 @ 10:26pm
              Benji said | October 21st 2017 @ 10:26pm | ! Report

              IN RU WC the teams have a majority of locals or players that have resided there for 3 years and actually played Rugby in that country with a small number of heritage players eg Russia in 2011 RUWC. had one non local Russian . In comparison RL has lots of flag of convenience heritage players who change countries at willl.. How do you attract legit sponsors???

        • October 20th 2017 @ 6:13pm
          nerval said | October 20th 2017 @ 6:13pm | ! Report

          Japan lost by 145-17 (that’s one hundred and forty five to seventeen ) versus NZ in the 1995 union World Cup.

          They beat South Africa 20 years later.

          It’s the kind of example that rugby league needs to follow. I’m sure that there were fans of both union and league who scoffed at the former result but the game’s authorities stuck to their guns and gained their reward.

          • October 20th 2017 @ 6:25pm
            Terry Tavita said | October 20th 2017 @ 6:25pm | ! Report

            japanese rugby has come a long way…good on them..

        • October 21st 2017 @ 1:18pm
          republican said | October 21st 2017 @ 1:18pm | ! Report

          …..clipper, I place NO creedence on odds mate, thats a mugs game truth be told………..

        • October 21st 2017 @ 1:29pm
          republican said | October 21st 2017 @ 1:29pm | ! Report

          ………the strength of Kiwi League is compelling when you consider over 30% of NRL players now hail from NZ, while NRL clubs are recruiting more & more Kiwis in preference to scouting our local GR with ensuing seasons.
          This speaks volumes for the game in NZ as well as their competitivness at the international tier, which is far more impressive than what our Wallabies have achieved.
          Do Aussies actually tune into the Bledisloe these days?

          • October 21st 2017 @ 7:35pm
            Rob9 said | October 21st 2017 @ 7:35pm | ! Report

            Do you have a link to back up that 30% stat?

            There was a stat floating around a few years ago that 30% of the NRL is now made up of players with Maori and Pacific Islander heritage.

            Note the difference between this and what you’re quoting. Many of these were obviously born and bred in Australia.

            NRL clubs aren’t turning their backs on our systems and locally produced talent. They’re just now casting the net further than ever before. And I’d suggest to you a significant number of these are playing rugby exclusively in NZ before being picked up.

            • October 23rd 2017 @ 7:19pm
              republican said | October 23rd 2017 @ 7:19pm | ! Report

              …..when I watch League, which is not often I have to admit and usually when I’m visiting my in laws in FNQ, the number of Kiwis represented at the highest tier of our domestic comp, whether they be Maoris or otherwise, is clearly more dominant with the passing seasons.
              I dont believe Im imagining this while mates in Sydney who have supported and played League most of their lives, tell me the GR is in trouble in Sydney, which is evidenced by those NRL clubs ‘casting the net further’, to NZ and PI nations, more and more.
              Many of our young people prefer Soccer and the Australian code to the Rugby codes which is partially due to the diversity and ever changing immigration diaspora today. This will only increase the pressure on these two codes especially, to remain relevant here, in my opinion.

              • October 24th 2017 @ 12:07pm
                Rob9 said | October 24th 2017 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

                ‘Do you have a link to back up that 30% stat?’

                So the answer to that question is no?

                You can’t make these sorts of judgements from just ‘looking’ at a team and taking note of the racial make-up of the players. The reality is, a good chunk (I’d dare say the majority) of this 30% of Maori/PI ‘looking players’ were actually born and raised in Australia- at levels from U7’s to the NRL. And really, what would you expect from one of the most multicultural countries on the planet.

                Contact sport is feeling the pinch in participation not just in Australia but in New Zealand and the States too. Yes there are now other popular options for physical activity that have gained traction in the heartland markets of the rugby codes, but nothing has hurt them more than parents wanting to take every precaution to protect their children. That issue is going nowhere and as I said, it’s not one unique to Australia.

                Casting the net wider isn’t evidence of stagnant participation or lack of talent coming through. It’s not exactly a new phenomenon either. It’s simply a result of the game becoming more professional and exploring places beyond our shores where rugby code(s) dominate the landscape.

                Again, don’t fall into the trap of believing that a muscular kid with a darker complexion wasn’t born in Australia and didn’t develop through our system (which has never been stronger than it is now). More often than not, they did just that.

    • October 20th 2017 @ 9:09am
      Fred said | October 20th 2017 @ 9:09am | ! Report

      Harold Holt was kidnapped in a Chinese midget submarine.
      Climate change is a conspiracy.
      Smoking’s good for you – it fumigates your lungs.
      Rugby league is only played in eastern Australia, Auckland and northern England.

      • October 20th 2017 @ 9:10am
        Oingo Boingo said | October 20th 2017 @ 9:10am | ! Report

        3 outta 4 .
        Replace your climate change example,with.
        Malcolm Turnball is a human , and your a winner.

        • October 20th 2017 @ 9:25am
          Fred said | October 20th 2017 @ 9:25am | ! Report

          At least I kept religion out of it!

          • October 20th 2017 @ 10:38am
            Oingo Boingo said | October 20th 2017 @ 10:38am | ! Report

            There’s only one of them immune from criticism, and it’s the one needing the most , so knock ya self out.

            • October 20th 2017 @ 12:14pm
              Crank Yanker said | October 20th 2017 @ 12:14pm | ! Report

              Does it start with a J Oingo?

              • October 20th 2017 @ 10:04pm
                Oingo Boingo said | October 20th 2017 @ 10:04pm | ! Report

                I , actually.

      • October 20th 2017 @ 5:44pm
        Jacko said | October 20th 2017 @ 5:44pm | ! Report

        How do you know that HH wasnt picked up by a chinese sub?????? Have you seen his body????

    • October 20th 2017 @ 9:34am
      Paul said | October 20th 2017 @ 9:34am | ! Report

      This is a very strange article.

      What has a Test played in the Super League era got to do with the current state of international Rugby League? I don’t care what happened 20 plus years ago, but I’m really keen to see how the teams outside Australia, New Zealand and England go, with so many players from the NRL in their sides.

      Hopefully guys will play with passion because they’re representing their country. If so, we could watch some really good football.

      • October 20th 2017 @ 4:44pm
        matth said | October 20th 2017 @ 4:44pm | ! Report

        I think he was saying, if you think our international league is not great, at least it has made great strides since 1997.

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