The World Cup Was a Success…..Now Let’s Build On It

 

Packed stadiums, national media coverage, competitive games and rugby league in the public eye. This is what international sport should be about.

4 years is far too long to wait for another international competition, we have to have something before that.

In general the group stages worked well as the majority of the games were competitive, entertaining, played at grounds with the right size stadium and the fans turned out to support the teams. Playing at a 15,000 capacity stadium with a 10,000 crowd generates a lot more atmosphere than 10,000 people in a 40,000 capacity stadium. Why not use these group stages as the basis for a competition in two years time?

Each group could have three or four teams:

  • England, Australia, New Zealand
  • France, PNG, Scotland, Australia A
  • England A, Italy, Samoa
  • USA, Ireland, Wales, New Zealand A

The games would be the Rugby League equivalent  of the rugby union Autumn Internationals and a good way to round the season off, especially if the Super League does have fewer games in the future. But in order to show the game to a wider audience and attract new fans the games must be shown on terrestrial/free to air television. The game won’t attract new fans if the matches are shown on channels that people usually wouldn’t watch, or have to pay extra for.

One of the main reasons why nations, other than Australia and New Zealand, struggle on the international stage is because their players are not used to playing competitive games week after week. Even the English players suffer from this to some extent. Having some a ranking/seeding system will help each nation improve their game across the board. Having games with scores of 80-0 does nothing other than re-write the record books, it probably does more harm than good.

As was said on the BBC yesterday, it’s the international games which help bring the money into the sport (just look at rugby union). It’s time for rugby league to take action and build on the fantastic world cup and show the world how good our sport is!

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