Ok so because they're small and poor we forget about them? Great, Samoa aren't much bigger or richer, shall we do the same with them? The benefit to a stronger Tonga is to have another strong team competing in the international game, something league badly needs. The harsh reality is countries like USA, Canada and Italy will never be major players in international rugby league (without squads full of Aussie players that is) because you know perfectly well the game will never go beyond the 'grassroots' level in those nations. In over 100 years of professionalism it's never happened and I see no evidence of that changing any time soon. The pacific islands on the other hand are rugby mad and despite union being traditionally stronger there, I could see them switching to league if they thought the game was bigger and the international game offered them something to aspire to.
You contradict yourself by saying Italy would only be strong because of Australians, yet you have no problem with Tonga being full of NRL players, that were products of the Australian system. There seems to be a misconception in RL, that if you're Polynesian, that you were born and bred there and 'stolen' by Australia and NZ, when it is the other way around. If an Australian has European parentage and plays for that country, they are routinely mocked, particularly Irishmen and 'pints of Guinness'. I feel exactly the same way about Samoa as I do Tonga. Yes they were 'strong' in the Four Nations, but what is the point when half of that team will be switching to Origin this year? If you want a further three strong teams, then France, PNG and Fiji should be at the head of the list. Unlike Tonga and Samoa, they actually have strong domestic and schools development in place and will be able to build a squad that won't end up representing other nations. This obsession with leaning off Australia rather than having countries put down some development is exactly the reason why we have only 3 strong teams.
You have to appreciate the respective sizes of the nations in question, the population of Tonga is less than the tiny county in Wales I live in, it's amazing they produce any rugby players at all, and yet the NRL is full of polynesians. Whichever code we're talking about the domestic rugby comps in North America are a joke, it's a territory dominated by their own sports and this will never change. We can develop rugby league in the islands and have 6 competitive teams in the international game, or just stick with the 3 we have now with the rest making up the numbers.
What's the benefit to a stronger Tonga exactly? As you said yourself, it's tiny. A population of 100 thousand and a third world country. There's no grassroots development in the country, they're 'strong' because Australian and NZ have loads of Polynesian heritage players in the NRL. Any decent player will switch countries as soon as they're good enough - Jennings, Kite, Moimoi, Hurrell etc. (Though Hurrell should never have been allowed to represent NZ). You might as well say we should concentrate on Italy, because there's loads of heritage players in Australia. Italy is a large, rich country, which more than 10% of the world could point out on a map as well. We're better off developing the game in Europe and the US and Jamaica, where there are actual grassroot developments on the ground.
I wouldn't put too much money on that, the Tongan squad members not born in the country they represented were of direct Tongan descent, could you say the same about the USA squad?
Only Ukuma Ta'ai and Konrad Hurrell are born and bred Tongans and that's because they came from RU and not from playing RL in Tonga. There's next to no RL in Tonga. Who are the domestic champions? There is more domestic RL in the USA and Canada than there is in Tonga. The USA had two players who were born and bred in the USA in the WC, including one product of the domestic game there. It would have been several more had the USARL been in charge. If it came down to having the USA or Canada in the WC over Tonga, then I'd have them every day of the week.
I find this insulting. Who's to say there wont be top flight matches in London in 2016? Not to mention, it makes it sound like we don't exist and we should be promoting Northern teams in London in regards to an actual hometown club.
been watching some youtube videos of this lad...he's quick and pretty hard to bring down....he tackles too
Americans in general are better athletes, mostly due to the excellent high school and college sports programs they have. I wouldn't limit only looking into American Football players for potential recruits, there might be great athletes suited to RL involved in other sports.
Interesting, well I hope it works out for him. It could help promote the sport to Americans if he manages to get a contract. The issue I have with American Football though is the pretty poor drug testing, so I hope he's been off the naughty stuff.
France will play England in mid-season next year (before hosting the touring Kiwis), and then both home and away in 2016, when they will otherwise be kicking their heels after failing to hang on to their enormous lead in Galashiels.
Should be a more closer encounter with more French players at other clubs. Hopefully it will be played in France and not Leigh or Salford. Toulouse, Montpellier or maybe even somewhere in the North again, like Paris or even Le Mans, where there is a 25,000 stadium being unused at the moment.