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(Renamed thread) What RL can learn from the union 6 Nations


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#21 Lobbygobbler

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 11:41 AM

To my mind, the most important thing RL could learn is to not give up on things too soon at international level (and every other level, I guess).

For most of the last decade, Italy were lucky to get a win a season, but they have gradually become a force to be reckoned with - wins over both France and Ireland, unlucky not to get a draw in England. Teams used to put out their second string against them, but now they have to put out a full-strength side or lose. They've also gone from struggling to fill a 20k ground to playing in the second largest in the tournament (not filling it yet, but it won't be long).
Their side used to be full of journeymen foreigners (as their RL side will likely be in the World Cup), but now their side is predominantly 'proper' Italian, with players like Sergio Parisse being amongst the best in the world.

If it was RL, there would have been calls to scrap the whole tournament after the first season Italy joined as it was a farce and an embarassment to the game, and they would never have a chance of competing with the top sides, so why bother playing them?


A city break for the richer union fans in Rome. As I recall it RU was lucky at the time in that tbe six nations started well before austerity and belt tightening. The crowds in Italy were initially massively swelled by away fans

#22 Johnoco

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 11:53 AM

We could hold our breath until Land Rover etc become involved in RL. Or scream until we're sick. That should help.

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#23 Maximus Decimus

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 12:02 PM

Rugby League can learn next to nothing from how a different sport with completely different strengths and weaknesses organises itself.

Whenever these arguments come up, people ignore the obvious Elephants in the room. For instance we just don't have the numbers playing the game in anything like the same way as Union does and there is no overnight or even 5 year fix to this. We have tried to expand from the grassroots but we are generations away from a situation where Ireland, Scotland or even Wales could compete regularly with England. There are probably more people playing the game in Leeds or Hull than all 3 of those countries.

Union doesn't have this problem. There are differences in size but there are well established clubs and leagues. They are often applauded for sticking by Italy but Italy has nearly 80,000 registered players.

Then there is the problem of the game itself, it doesn't lend itself to giant killings or shock. It lends itself to drubbings if one team is substantially better than the other. So when we try to introduce France or Wales into the fold they inevitably get battered rather than beaten which does nothing for the growth of the sport in that region, especially when similar but much higher profile sports don't have that problem.

We have our own problems that we need to find a solution to. I really dislike it when envious eyes look at the Union and then try to argue that we should replicate it. Union and League are totally different sports. IMO, Scotland, Ireland and Wales are not where our focus should be in the medium term. We should be trying to resurrect a successful France first and foremost as they at least have some foundation to be built upon.

#24 WelshpoolMarauder

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 12:08 PM

A city break for the richer union fans in Rome. As I recall it RU was lucky at the time in that tbe six nations started well before austerity and belt tightening. The crowds in Italy were initially massively swelled by away fans


And if they were, so what? The fact of the matter is that playing standards have improved and interest in the game has increased in Italy since they came into the 6 Nations, even though they spent the better part of a decade as the whipping boys. That needs patience, and RL doesn't seem to have it when it comes to the international game.

#25 Northern Sol

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 12:21 PM

To my mind, the most important thing RL could learn is to not give up on things too soon at international level (and every other level, I guess).

For most of the last decade, Italy were lucky to get a win a season, but they have gradually become a force to be reckoned with - wins over both France and Ireland, unlucky not to get a draw in England. Teams used to put out their second string against them, but now they have to put out a full-strength side or lose. They've also gone from struggling to fill a 20k ground to playing in the second largest in the tournament (not filling it yet, but it won't be long).
Their side used to be full of journeymen foreigners (as their RL side will likely be in the World Cup), but now their side is predominantly 'proper' Italian, with players like Sergio Parisse being amongst the best in the world.

If it was RL, there would have been calls to scrap the whole tournament after the first season Italy joined as it was a farce and an embarassment to the game, and they would never have a chance of competing with the top sides, so why bother playing them?


You make good points but remember that Italy defeated the reigning 5N grand slam champions in their first game (by quite a margin too). It would be the equivalent of France or PNG beating a full-strength Aussie team. The RL minnows are much, much further behind the pace than their RU equivalent.

Italy beat Ireland for the first time in the 6N but before they joined the 6N, they had 3 consecutive wins over them. Which international RL team has had three consecutive wins over a recognised RL nation?

Edited by Northern Sol, 17 March 2013 - 12:48 PM.


#26 l'angelo mysterioso

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 12:41 PM

And if they were, so what? The fact of the matter is that playing standards have improved and interest in the game has increased in Italy since they came into the 6 Nations, even though they spent the better part of a decade as the whipping boys. That needs patience, and RL doesn't seem to have it when it comes to the international game.

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#27 thirteenthman

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 02:45 PM

To my mind, the most important thing RL could learn is to not give up on things too soon at international level (and every other level, I guess).

For most of the last decade, Italy were lucky to get a win a season, but they have gradually become a force to be reckoned with - wins over both France and Ireland, unlucky not to get a draw in England. Teams used to put out their second string against them, but now they have to put out a full-strength side or lose. They've also gone from struggling to fill a 20k ground to playing in the second largest in the tournament (not filling it yet, but it won't be long).
Their side used to be full of journeymen foreigners (as their RL side will likely be in the World Cup), but now their side is predominantly 'proper' Italian, with players like Sergio Parisse being amongst the best in the world.

If it was RL, there would have been calls to scrap the whole tournament after the first season Italy joined as it was a farce and an embarassment to the game, and they would never have a chance of competing with the top sides, so why bother playing them?


But its not just a question of putting nation sides into tournaments and then keeping them in. It's the whole matter of developing the game in that country, something RL always seems very handy at wanting to skip. We have teams like Ireland and Scotland who to be frank, if it wasn't for the 'heritage' players, wouldn't be anywhere near a World Cup. Have they got the resources domestically and a strong player base to back up the national side? No. We introduce teams like these into big tournaments, wheel out a skip load of SL and NRL players with the relevant link in the family tree, but in between tournaments little actually happens. You could include Italy in every single RL WC and 4N tournament for the next 15 years, but if back in Italy it's just a few amateur teams running round, it won't make a blind bit of difference.

#28 Wiltshire Rhino

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 04:11 PM

A good start would be Rugby League fans supporting International Rugby League - doing everything they can to attend the game instead of finding a reason to moan and belittle it. How can we built it if we don't support it?

#29 Maximus Decimus

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 04:28 PM

But its not just a question of putting nation sides into tournaments and then keeping them in. It's the whole matter of developing the game in that country, something RL always seems very handy at wanting to skip. We have teams like Ireland and Scotland who to be frank, if it wasn't for the 'heritage' players, wouldn't be anywhere near a World Cup. Have they got the resources domestically and a strong player base to back up the national side? No. We introduce teams like these into big tournaments, wheel out a skip load of SL and NRL players with the relevant link in the family tree, but in between tournaments little actually happens. You could include Italy in every single RL WC and 4N tournament for the next 15 years, but if back in Italy it's just a few amateur teams running round, it won't make a blind bit of difference.


Spot on.

Italy RU has 80,000 registered players, more than Scotland. Trying to incorporate them was not a risk really, especially when you know you have the finances to continue it long term.

#30 deluded pom?

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 04:30 PM

And just FYI the lure of SoO for Int'l players is gone as you need to have lived in QLD/NSW by the age of 13 to be eligible.




Not before time.

Blaming the NRL for Europe's problems is avoiding the issue.


I'm not solely blaming the NRL but the NRL and the RFL but at least we can see some tangible effort from the RFL/RLEF. Hopefully the NRL IC can see just how important the international game is to driving the sport forward. If they don't then we'll be having this same discussion in ten years time.

Edited by deluded pom?, 17 March 2013 - 04:30 PM.

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#31 Matt J

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 05:08 PM

Id restart the RLIF, it seems weak in comparison to other international bodies.

Different constitution and maybe different people in charge.

Also, I think that over here, we need more publication of our international matches. If theres 1 thing we can learn from union is that all of the game getd behind the international games. England seem to play their games on the same day as a full BARLA line up, maybe RFL and BARLA could sit down and work something out. One thing I remember from union is that amateur clubs can arrange with the RFU to get tickets for England matches, taking bus trips etc not sure if thats the case now, but maybe something that coild work and get attendances up.

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#32 WelshpoolMarauder

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 06:36 PM

Spot on.

Italy RU has 80,000 registered players, more than Scotland. Trying to incorporate them was not a risk really, especially when you know you have the finances to continue it long term.


Has. Did they have that many when they came into the tournament back in 2000? I doubt it. The USA has more registered players than Wales, but they can't compete with them in internationals. Without the interest in the international game, the strides their domestic game would have been more difficult to fund, for starters.

My point is mostly that patience and long-term planning are what are needed, not knee-jerk reactions to any little setback. Look at the new CC1 clubs- people seem to think that they're failures if they aren't immediately competitive and drawing good crowds, when we should be praising them to the hilt and looking at where they can go in the longterm. Same goes for the international game.

#33 petero

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 07:42 PM

The new CEO of the RFL stated in interview that one issue that he intends to rectify is that R/L gets such a poor coverage from the National daily's and that this would be at or close to the top of his list for improvement. I sincerely hope he holds to that intention!

I applaud the intention and cannot wait to (hope) see such implemented. The coverage of Union in some of the papers is bordering upon sycophancy and R/L is desperately in need of some of that too, for until the game can obtain unbiased and decent coverage from all aspects of the media ( sky sport's, in most areas does deserve credit for doing it's bit, yet still does not come close to that which all other major sports receive from them in this country) the sport will not enlarge its spectator/supporter base.

This is and remains the largest obstacle the game has to overcome before anything else can be achieved.

#34 JohnM

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 07:51 PM

Brian Barwick is non-executive chairman

I think the level of RL coverage reflects the level of effort the RFL has put in over the years.

#35 Northern Sol

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Posted 17 March 2013 - 09:03 PM

Has. Did they have that many when they came into the tournament back in 2000? I doubt it.


No, but they still had respectable numbers. Rugby union goes back decades in Italy. Something that could not be said for RL in expansion areas.

#36 markleeds

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 06:48 AM

It's easy to blame the RFL as we have become a generation of blame finders, rather than agree that the problem is caused by the fans.

Looking at 90% of the users of Southdtander.com, they would never watch an England team tht didn't involve Leeds players.

The RFL can only do so much.

#37 Wellsy4HullFC

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 07:52 AM

It's easy to blame the RFL as we have become a generation of blame finders, rather than agree that the problem is caused by the fans.


Isn't that just going from one group of people to blame to another? I don't think it's down to the fans in the main at all.

Any business is responsible for how many customers it gets. And it's up to the RFL to make attract, must-see games for everyone to see.

Just because someone says or thinks they're a strong rugby league follower doesn't mean they are. And just because there's a game on doesn't mean people automatically should want to go.

It's not the fans fault that the product doesn't engage them enough. Unfortunately that's down to the organisers.
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#38 Maximus Decimus

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 08:31 AM

Isn't that just going from one group of people to blame to another? I don't think it's down to the fans in the main at all.

Any business is responsible for how many customers it gets. And it's up to the RFL to make attract, must-see games for everyone to see.

Just because someone says or thinks they're a strong rugby league follower doesn't mean they are. And just because there's a game on doesn't mean people automatically should want to go.

It's not the fans fault that the product doesn't engage them enough. Unfortunately that's down to the organisers.


Nail on the head, blaming the fans has never ever resulted in a positive response, either at club level or international level. You will never guilt fans into going. The sad reality is that it just isn't appealing enough for people to part with their money and go. People have this misconception that 95% of fans that attend games are diehards when I suspect it isn't even half of this.

My club Widnes do this a lot and it has never garnered a response, we've been doing it all season and have many times in the past. I would suggest it has the reverse effect as people turn away when you are giving off the impression of a sinking ship.

#39 Johnoco

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 08:32 AM

Can't agree there Wellsy, it seems to be a uniquely RL thing whereby significant numbers of fans (as opposed to the odd person that you may get in football or cricket or RU) actively ridicule and boycott both big RL club games and their international side.

No I don't care if you're if you're into different bands

No cause for so much hatred, I'm just a different man

Pull off that cover, I will too, and learn to understand

With music deep inside we'll make world unity our plan

 

7 Seconds -Walk Together, Rock Together


#40 Lobbygobbler

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 10:10 AM

Can't agree there Wellsy, it seems to be a uniquely RL thing whereby significant numbers of fans (as opposed to the odd person that you may get in football or cricket or RU) actively ridicule and boycott both big RL club games and their international side.


If France could turn us over 30% of the time or at least lose in a close game, the crowds would be far higher. RL fans want to see games with the result in doubt. Nowt wrong with that. Its our own fault for fostering rules which lend to few shocks.




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