Football, rugby union and cricket are all still expanding as international sports though aren't they?
What I find frustrating is the lack of effort being put into getting countries like France and PNG up to a standard where they can compete with the top three teams. If PNG were in the same position as they are in rugby league but in union or cricket I think they would be playing regular, top-level international matches in those sports and the game will be growing there.
It is interesting that in Sri Lanka Rugby union was the top sport of the elite until Sri Lanka received test status at cricket. Cricket is now the top sport in Sri Lanka.
Fair enough I agree more could be done, but to say nothing has been done or a lack of effort for France and PNG is in my opinion completely wrong.
PNG now have a full pathway all the way from u7's to international with the addition of the Hunters in the QLD cup, already players have been snapped up by NRL sides. About time and long may it continue.
The French haven't really helped themselves over the years, but to say England and the RFL have stood back and done nothing isn't quite right either. The UK for years sent teams over to play France at every level, they more or less always have to the extent, the RFL seen the need to strengthen the French game and the only way they could see that happening was by admitting a French team into the ESL because they obviously didn't see the French game improving itself without their help. Yeah it hasn't really clicked yet for the French team, but I have noticed the lack of 50 and 60+ scorelines we seen a decade ago or so against the big 3. I have also noticed the junior numbers have increased year on year since the Catalans team joined the premier comp in Europe. So yes, things have been put in place if you ask me, it's just time that gets in the way, we are all so used to seeing everything we want at anytime we want it now days, things like this though take time.
What the RFL and the NRL need to do is continue to support and build on this.
When you think about it, RL has done quite well in the last 15 years seeing as most of it was spent running the whole game world wide on the smell of an oily rag, yet somehow, it has managed to grow in many many countries I thought I'd never see play Rugby League. Who knows what the future will bring.