Time For The RFL To Draw A Line Under London?

 

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33 Years.

That’s how long the RFL have persevered with the idea of Rugby League in London. Who can blame them really? With the population of London and the status of the city on the world stage, if Rugby League was to take off in London it would do wonders for the game.

But 33 years?¬†Would a business continue making a product for this long if it clearly wasn’t selling? After all sport is a business.

In all those years they’ve had two good years – Super League runners-up in 1997 and Challenge Cup runners-up in 1999. But this season really has been an embarrassment. The 70-0 hiding against Wigan in the Challenge Cup Semi Final, aired on national TV, probably did more harm than good for Rugby in the capital. The game against Leeds on Thursday seemed close, but I got the feeling that Leeds went there just to do enough.

Nearly every week London are on the end of another cricket score and their club captain wants to leave because he is fed up of loosing – who can blame him? The attendances are abysmal no matter which ground they play at and the support only seems to be getting worse.

Bringing in ‘big name’ players to play for the club is pointless in my opinion, no-one in London knows who they are so it’s hardly going to encourage them to come and watch the team.

The powers that be keep telling us about how the game is developing so well at grass-roots level – in 33 years there should have been a whole team of London-based players come through the ranks.

 

Can rugby in London continue?

Simple, put them into a lower league where they have a chance of competing against the opposition. They might not be able to attract the bigger name players to the club, but let’s be honest, they aren’t really performing at the moment any way. They will then be able to showcase all the London-born players that they keep telling us about. If the club did start to win games, or at least be competitive, more people may come down to watch – the attendances can hardly get any worse.

It’s very much a case of back-to-basics. Success breeds success, which is why the likes of Wigan, St Helens and Leeds have done so well over the last few years. As soon as a first choice player is injured/leaves there is someone just as good waiting to take their place. Who had heard of Sam Tomkins this time 5 years ago?

At the moment London are failing and everyone can see it. They clearly can’t compete in the Super League so put them into the 1st Division to re-build from the ground up. It will also give another club a chance to test themselves in the Super League, which they will have been working towards for years.

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