The Celtic Crusaders inspired a rise in the junior and amateur game, their fall led to a demise where the junior game died. The WRL keep pushing it in schools and use "trials" to keep an academy going, and any lad that looks handy has a chance to go up north. I'm afraid the WRL are desperately hanging onto what's left of the game in Wales.
The junior game never died it just shrunk to much smaller. This demise is almost universal in this country and linked to the withdrawal of Sport England funding
Far from it, the midlands invested in getting RU players to play in the off season. The net results were the junior game crumbling to dust providing RU with all the benefits and the RL only players were scared off by county standard RU players
Once there was a considerable summer switch, the RFL no longer needed the development officers
Nothing to do with playing season they just unfortunately coincided. It is to do with the Sport England cuts that are based on decreased participation over the last few years of winter, which meant the RFL could no longer afford them. The game outside the heartlands' decline is exclusively down to the removal of development officers (as there's no season switch to factor in).
Summer hasn't expanded the game but the vast majority of clubs switching back to winter have been wiped out by it, so a return to winter would be the final nail in the coffin rather than a solution. The game needs to consolidate its resources into one governing body and one playing season and consolidate struggling clubs into fewer, much stronger clubs
I think the problem is rugby league in New Zealand is very Auckland centric and there's no real need for 2 clubs there. Wellington would be the next best bet though, but the game isn't nearly as strong there
I was meaning at professional level. A visit to the Samoan RL website talks about the Four Nations and the respective QLD and NSW Samoans. The link to domestic competition is dead. Island sides in Australian/NZ second tier competitions is definitely a way forward.
Fiji does have a semi professional league and a set up vastly ahead of Wales's.
Agree with the rationale that France should be in the four nations.
Perhaps a solution would be to have a competition that is exclusively for nations that have their own domestic competition at semi-professional level and above. The difference between France and Wales, and Ireland and Scotland is that the latter two almost exclusively pull their players from those that qualify from northern England. I don't intend that to be a slight on Scotland's achievement at all.
If you built a competition that was made up of:
Then you have a good 6-team competition. You could always treat these as permanent members (ie. countries with their own domestic competition), with European and Pacific winners qualifying to make up 8 (eg. + Scotland and Samoa). Not sure about the format though; two pools of 3/4? A Super Group/Qualifying Group combination? Regardless, such a competition would reward teams that invest in home-grown players, and also allow such players to compete at the highest level. It also provides a competition that is of a scale that France, Wales or NZ (and, one day, PNG) could aspire to hosting outright.
There will be blow-outs, yes - and possibly for years - but there will also be competitive games - France v PNG v Wales could be very competitive. As with all things rugby league, it takes patience, and patience is normally in short supply in this game. If there was the commitment given that the RU authorities have shown to Italy and Argentina - longevity of competition, confirmation of a calendar etc. then it would come. A higher profile international competition may incentivise the domestic RL authorities in the emerging nations to commit to performance teams as there will be an element of return and investment forthcoming on a regular basis.
The problem with that is Wales, France and PNG are rubbish on the field but Fiji and Samoa are far more competitive against the big 3
Just to let you know bowes, at the end of last season the players at thornhill we asked by their committee if they wanted to apply for the NCL and to a man they all voted no. This was for a variety of reasons.
That's your decision at the end of the day. It's still my opinion that you'd be welcomed in if you ever changed your mind
In an ideal world I'd agree but I just don't think the game has the money to fund SL clubs in those areas given how low the fan base is. I hope to see North Wales Crusaders back up into the Championship as that provides a path for many players though, same with London Broncos, I don't see South Wales Scorpions playing at that level sadly. I was a big supporter of having London in SL but the last few years of Broncos at that level were embarrassing. League 1 expansion is very beneficial and small to medium sized towns and cities in the midlands and south seem to take to the game more that throwing all the eggs in the London and Wales baskets
and it's taken until 2014 for that to happen despite the grunts of 'therduntwannernaw' from the 'heartlands'.
It's bit of an indictment that having teams from these parts of the country playing in the lowest pro competition is something to boast about.
Totally pathetic. Why should the people working hard to expand the game be ashamed just because they didn't do it sooner? It seems you don't value sustainable expansion just nonsensical overambitious ideas doomed to failure
Rugby League - beset by small time thinking since 1896. We had Welsh and London clubs involved way back when but we consciously made life difficult for them because it cost too much to go there and they brought too few fans. We had Yugoslavia and Italy and we didn't nurture them. We pander to the loudest naysayers and create a league structured to appease them rather than boldly seeking to spread the game. The rugby league family can be a unit that makes anyone outside the immediate circle feel quite unwelcome. We either decide to prioritise growth or manage the decline into a kind of clog-wearing shinty for pit villages.
All that expansion is at risk if we go for obscene ideas like expanding low level semi-professional leagues full of development clubs into intercontinental leagues that clearly on any objective level arent sustainable. It's not for nothing other sports regionalise their game at that level even within this country. The expansion at semi-professional level is ticking along nicely and the last thing the game needs is for it to be ruined by some nonsense idea that will clearly not be viable. It's basic common sense that this sort of plan can't work but some people are so desperate to see expansion they buy into all kinds of nonsense ideas. Catalans in Super League was always going to work, Crusaders never was but this is just so far beyond rational it's not even true