England v S.L. All stars
Posted 05 January 2011 - 09:08 AM
The RFL are set to announce a new fixture for the rugby league calendar during the summer, which will involve England taking on a Super League All Stars team consisting of overseas players selected by spectators.
The move which Rugby League Today understands has almost been finalised, must be agreed on by all 14 Super League competing in 2011.
The RFL has urged all teams to work together and revive the old Other Nationalities XIII to provide tougher mid-season oppositions, a fixture that would ultimately test the England International side more then what France have in recent years
In an added twist, fans could be invited fans to vote for which overseas players they’d like to see represent the Super League All Stars team.
A similar concept has already proven a huge success in the NRL, where thousands of supporters cast votes to select National Rugby League and Indigenous All Stars teams that faced each other in a high‑profile launch to the 2010 season on the Gold Coast in Queensland last February, a match that is scheduled and highly anticipated again for 2011.
Restricting the final selection to one player from each club would have the additional benefit of easing the fears of the leading clubs that they would be disproportionately affected by the fixture, as an open selection would almost certainly lead to more of their expensive imports playing in the game – and risking injury.
Some of the most successful overseas players in the Super League, including the past two Men of Steel – Wigan’s goalkicking wing Pat Richards and Brett Hodgson, the full-back who has joined Warrington after two outstanding seasons with Huddersfield – have already voiced their support for the concept.
They could be joined in an All Stars side by some of the new Australian signings who are due to play in England this season, such as Willie Mason (Hull KR) and Joel Monaghan (Warrington), and if supporters are invited to consider all players who are not eligible for England, leading names from France and Wales such as Thomas Bosc (Catalans) and Gareth Thomas (Crusaders) may also prove attractive.
There are numerous contenders to coach the All Stars team, as nine Super League clubs have Australians in charge. Michael Maguire, who led Wigan to their first title for 12 years last October, would be one obvious candidate, but if he is preoccupied with the World Club Challenge against St George Illawarra Dragons at the end of February, Huddersfield’s Nathan Brown or Hull KR’s Justin Morgan would be highly credible alternatives, and Warrington’s Tony Smith could even be tempted having advocated the introduction of an All Stars fixture when he was coaching England.
The Other Nationalities team played around 30 times between 1904 – when they provided the opposition to England in the first Northern Union international at Wigan’s Central Park – and 1975, when they were beaten by Lancashire in the old County Championship. Their most regular fixtures came between 1949 and 1953 when they faced England, Wales and France in a European Championship, beating all three countries with a team including such great names as Lionel Cooper and Brian Bevan.
Meanwhile one great of the modern era who has already been selected for the NRL All Stars, Darren Lockyer, has declared his intention to make one last trip to Europe for the Four Nations series in October and November. The Brisbane Broncos stand‑off, who will turn 34 in March, had been expected to retire from representative rugby after Australia’s defeat by New Zealand in last year’s Four Nations final. But after relishing Brisbane’s training regime ahead of his 17th season with the Broncos, Lockyer said that he hopes to retain his place both for Australia, and for Queensland in the State of Origin series.
“At this stage I’m set for another full schedule of representative football,” said Lockyer, who needs one more Test cap to equal the world record of 55 held by New Zealand’s Ruben Wiki.
Possible All Stars team Webb (Leeds); Thomas (Crusaders), Ah Van (Bradford), J Monaghan (Warrington), Richards (Wigan); Chase (Castleford), Bosc (Catalans); O’Meley (Hull), Randall (Harlequins), Perry (St Helens), Mason (Hull KR), O’Donnell (Huddersfield), Holdsworth (Salford).
More for sky to broadcast
Posted 05 January 2011 - 03:21 PM
Posted 05 January 2011 - 03:59 PM
In that case Andy i am all for it
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