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The Future is League

Rugby League the fastest growing sport in Wales

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Personally i get the feeling Lewis couldnt give a toss about his reputation at all. If he did then he wouldnt take the risks that he has taken. Being outspoken about Quins' necessity to exist (or a london franchise), Franchising being needed and putting it into practice, getting Catalans in, Getting the welsh in. All of these were a massive massive risk, all of which could have made him look very very silly. The safest thing to do if he was that worried about his reputation was to do ###### all, pull the rug from under London and settle the game in the M62 corridor. He has taken massive risks that could make him look stupid

With respect can I suggest you are getting dragged in to Northern Sols assertion that Lewis is taking risks with the pro game.

Crusaders risked Leighton Samuels money, and now risks the investment money of the people at Wrexham.

Harlequins risked Lenegan and Hughes money and now it risks Hughes money.

Reality check is that Richard Lewis has taken no risks at all with these clubs, he's taken the "risks" with other peoples money!! A very very smart bit of business/leadership.

The key here is your own realisation that without putting expansion clubs in he'd effectively be settling the game in the M62 coridoor.

Now that is a big risk.

It's been suggested "Ad nauseum" that cash strapped Halifax and Leigh are "ready" now they have shiny grounds, to fill the places of Quins and Crusaders. Given we know how cash strapped clubs go in Superleague on low attendances (Wakefield? castleford?) and given we know these clubs performances in SL in the past then what a masive risk it would be to reject what "outside the M62" investment has been available in Wales, London and Catalans in favour of skint M62 clubs.

Clearly at losses of around a

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All for expansion etc etc BUT as someone who analyses / interprets statistics then I am sorry 'fastest growing sport in Wales' and '300%' mean very little with more substance and their use in such a manner is what politicians do.

A sport with no presence in an area will / should be faster growing than an established one. It is easier to grow from virtually nothing than it is from capacity. What does 300% mean. How many clubs existed at the start and how many are there now, what was the participation numbers then and what are they now? How regularly are these new players participating? Where geographically is this participation taking place?

Whatsmore how does one equate participation increase with a professional club? There may be other factors leading to an increase. The impact of TV, the presence/work of development officers. As an example American Football became a very fast growing sport in this country with a professional presence so does grass root development in an area require a professional presence in that area? I would say not always.

We have always been told that grass root development is the key to successful expansion of RL professionally so on that basis and what we know in the past with Cardiff in 51/2 and Brigend 81/2 professional clubs do not magically lead to development and that development takes place before a professional club prospers or should do.

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All for expansion etc etc BUT as someone who analyses / interprets statistics then I am sorry 'fastest growing sport in Wales' and '300%' mean very little with more substance and their use in such a manner is what politicians do.
Yep, you are right, but aren't we as a sport guilty of not spinning things positively?

Why would you turn this into a negative, what benefit is there to that at all?

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:D:D from me.

300% increase well done Wales, i would be interested in how much of that is in N Wales to S Wales.

All in the South apart from Crusaders and a 9s tournament up north I believe

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Yep, you are right, but aren't we as a sport guilty of not spinning things positively?

Why would you turn this into a negative, what benefit is there to that at all?

In search of the truth Dave just as we have a right for the truth from the greatest statistical spin masters that run our country at any time then we have the right to accurate, detailed data. The RFL or whomever can put a positive spin and leave it to fans to interpret the data which is impossible when they hide it. If an academic presented data the way it is presented to the public they would rightly get torn apart and deservedly so.

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1. All for expansion etc etc BUT as someone who analyses / interprets statistics then I am sorry 'fastest growing sport in Wales' and '300%' mean very little

2. Whatsmore how does one equate participation increase with a professional club?

3. Does grass root development in an area require a professional presence in that area? I would say not always.

4. We have always been told that grass root development is the key to successful expansion of RL professionally so on that basis and what we know in the past with Cardiff in 51/2 and Brigend 81/2 professional clubs do not magically lead to development and that development takes place before a professional club prospers or should do.

I. I'm as sceptical as you on the stat but delighted at the headline. As wrong as it may be it will be fine by me if that get's people thinking "shall I have a go"......

2. By looking at a pro club in an area and seeing how the kids respond. Round here the Rhinos do a lot to get kids interested and wanting to have a go, kids fun afternoons, summer camps, schools visits etc, once playing you get to play at half time on Headingley. Again there's no actual figure on this but from where I'm standing the Rhinos do a great job and we have junior clubs starting across north Leeds a wasteland in the past.

3. Across the country there is grass roots development. It seems it is strongest in erm Wales and London where we have pro clubs in place. Looking at it round here it needs Rhinos....

4. In 51/2 and 81/2 the culture in south wales was to strangle the game at birth wherever possible and shun those who played it. It's not relevant to today and the sort for all free gangway. There's no cart before the horse here, A professional club can start up alongside a developing junior base and they can feed off each other.

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All for expansion etc etc BUT as someone who analyses / interprets statistics then I am sorry 'fastest growing sport in Wales' and '300%' mean very little with more substance and their use in such a manner is what politicians do.

A sport with no presence in an area will / should be faster growing than an established one. It is easier to grow from virtually nothing than it is from capacity. What does 300% mean. How many clubs existed at the start and how many are there now, what was the participation numbers then and what are they now? How regularly are these new players participating? Where geographically is this participation taking place?

Whatsmore how does one equate participation increase with a professional club? There may be other factors leading to an increase. The impact of TV, the presence/work of development officers. As an example American Football became a very fast growing sport in this country with a professional presence so does grass root development in an area require a professional presence in that area? I would say not always.

We have always been told that grass root development is the key to successful expansion of RL professionally so on that basis and what we know in the past with Cardiff in 51/2 and Brigend 81/2 professional clubs do not magically lead to development and that development takes place before a professional club prospers or should do.

Would you say that the grass roots rugby league scene in Oldham is better or worse than when Oldham Bears were in Super League?

Is the apparent decline in youngsters coming into pro RL a sign that things were going badly in Oldham and this lead to the sudden drop in the Oldham Bears? Or the other way round?

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In search of the truth Dave just as we have a right for the truth from the greatest statistical spin masters that run our country at any time then we have the right to accurate, detailed data. The RFL or whomever can put a positive spin and leave it to fans to interpret the data which is impossible when they hide it. If an academic presented data the way it is presented to the public they would rightly get torn apart and deservedly so.

Are you saying that the release is not true? It may give limited details (intentionally) however I have no reason to doubt the 300% stat, and if they are basing the 'fastest growing' element on that stat, then fair enough, no lies there.

This isn't an academic report or anything like that, it is a release about the fact that RL in Wales is growing, and they have tried to grab some headlines with statements that are hard hitting. What is the issue here.

I could understand if you were just doing further digging and asking exactly how much participation has increased by, as that would be interesting to understand, but tbh your post just comes across as negative, unnecessarily IMHO.

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All for expansion etc etc BUT as someone who analyses / interprets statistics then I am sorry 'fastest growing sport in Wales' and '300%' mean very little with more substance and their use in such a manner is what politicians do.

A sport with no presence in an area will / should be faster growing than an established one. It is easier to grow from virtually nothing than it is from capacity. What does 300% mean. How many clubs existed at the start and how many are there now, what was the participation numbers then and what are they now? How regularly are these new players participating? Where geographically is this participation taking place?

While I'm fully aware of the context of that 300%, if every other existing sport (apart from Football) can trot out the "fastest-growing sport" line (and they do, regularly), why can't RL? :)

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Are you saying that the release is not true? It may give limited details (intentionally) however I have no reason to doubt the 300% stat, and if they are basing the 'fastest growing' element on that stat, then fair enough, no lies there.

This isn't an academic report or anything like that, it is a release about the fact that RL in Wales is growing, and they have tried to grab some headlines with statements that are hard hitting. What is the issue here.

I could understand if you were just doing further digging and asking exactly how much participation has increased by, as that would be interesting to understand, but tbh your post just comes across as negative, unnecessarily IMHO.

Of course it is true Dave but my point still stands and I like to see such headlines accompanies by quality data that Jo Public can look at and analyse at the very least on the RFL website and RL media. National media, fair enough. However, I want more substance because 300% means nothing without it. It is a poor lazy effort IMO and if that is decreed as complaining by you so be it but I like to be objective and want to know as much as I can. The mushroom treatment is the realm of politicians.

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All for expansion etc etc BUT as someone who analyses / interprets statistics then I am sorry 'fastest growing sport in Wales' and '300%' mean very little with more substance and their use in such a manner is what politicians do.

300% means the sport is growing 1% more than 299% and 1 less than 301%.

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While I'm fully aware of the context of that 300%, if every other existing sport (apart from Football) can trot out the "fastest-growing sport" line (and they do, regularly), why can't RL? :)

nah only in RL will people come out of the woodwork to knock it

the reasons either are

1. fan of another sport who is feeling insecure

2. fan of non SL club that has chip on shoulder

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I want more substance because 300% means nothing without it. It is a poor lazy effort IMO and if that is decreed as complaining by you so be it but I like to be objective and want to know as much as I can. The mushroom treatment is the realm of politicians.

Fair shout, but doubt you'll get the facts.

I'm just pleased it's going shall we say "very well".

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Lewis made a dreadful mistake and was extremely lucky with the Wrexham FC intervention; otherwise his reputation for competence would have been tarnished.

Nothing to do with "keeping the faith" and everything to do with being so desperate as to have to accept any offer to keep Crusaders going.

If he hadn't taken the risk, luck, good or bad would not even have had a chance to take part.

Good managers take risks and he is to be congratulated for getting a side going in Wales against all the odds.

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nah only in RL will people come out of the woodwork to knock it

the reasons either are

1. fan of another sport who is feeling insecure

2. fan of non SL club that has chip on shoulder

Well I do not meet any of your criteria. However, I can offer you an alternative;

People who attack others in using the guise of negativity when they are asking more searching questions. These very same people sit back and prwetend everything is wonderful and let things happen to them, their sport, their country.

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If he hadn't taken the risk, luck, good or bad would not even have had a chance to take part.

Good managers take risks and he is to be congratulated for getting a side going in Wales against all the odds.

Personally I do not understand people singling Lewis or anybody else out either negatively / favourably. I presume the RFL collectively deserve criticism / praise.

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Fair shout, but doubt you'll get the facts.

I'm just pleased it's going shall we say "very well".

The figures must be to hand though Parksider. The RFL could put the figures together quite easily a put a few case studies together too and put them on their own website and on suitable Welsh sites to encourage more development.

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Of course it is true Dave but my point still stands and I like to see such headlines accompanies by quality data that Jo Public can look at and analyse at the very least on the RFL website and RL media. National media, fair enough. However, I want more substance because 300% means nothing without it. It is a poor lazy effort IMO and if that is decreed as complaining by you so be it but I like to be objective and want to know as much as I can. The mushroom treatment is the realm of politicians.

You can request more info and raise the point without the negativity that was attached to your post. Jeez, we all know that the 300% stat was for the purpose of grabbing positive headlines in the media, not as a full statistical report of the game in Wales.

There may be other reports knocking around, or you may be able to get more details from the Welsh RL, who knows, but simply knocking it for the sake of it doesn't really do anything for the game.

Okay, there may have been 1 club and now there is 4, even if that was the case, isn't that still positive?

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You can request more info and raise the point without the negativity that was attached to your post. Jeez, we all know that the 300% stat was for the purpose of grabbing positive headlines in the media, not as a full statistical report of the game in Wales.

There may be other reports knocking around, or you may be able to get more details from the Welsh RL, who knows, but simply knocking it for the sake of it doesn't really do anything for the game.

Okay, there may have been 1 club and now there is 4, even if that was the case, isn't that still positive?

I would not be singing from the roofs if that was the case. A 300% increase in clubs might actually equate to less players than a 10% increase elsewhere. The devil is in the detail. We certainly should not be using statistics like politicians. Realism and honesty are vital.

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Well I do not meet any of your criteria. However, I can offer you an alternative;

People who attack others in using the guise of negativity when they are asking more searching questions. These very same people sit back and prwetend everything is wonderful and let things happen to them, their sport, their country.

look most of the people that know about RL are aware RL isnt a major sport in wales

when someone says its grown 300% we are aware its off a low base.

it didnt need a statistician to point it out, more so common sense about what is happening with RL in wales

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I would not be singing from the roofs if that was the case. A 300% increase in clubs might actually equate to less players than a 10% increase elsewhere. The devil is in the detail. We certainly should not be using statistics like politicians. Realism and honesty are vital.

I don't necessarily disagree with you on that point, but in such a competitive market, we need to use positive media wherever possible. We can only assume that the 300% increase stat is true, and if it is a stat that has been used in a context that makes it a real positive then fine. I have still seen no evidence, or anything that would make me question the honesty of this statement.

I agree that it would be great to see actual detail behind this stat, but just because we can't isn't a reason to doubt the honesty surely?

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I don't necessarily disagree with you on that point, but in such a competitive market, we need to use positive media wherever possible. We can only assume that the 300% increase stat is true, and if it is a stat that has been used in a context that makes it a real positive then fine. I have still seen no evidence, or anything that would make me question the honesty of this statement.

I agree that it would be great to see actual detail behind this stat, but just because we can't isn't a reason to doubt the honesty surely?

Not doubting the honesty of the figures Dave. I would just love to see some 'meat' to them. Raw figures and some geography applied. Is the game growing participation wise in the South or in the North, where is it growing most whatever the region etc.

Not sure if they still play Rl but a few years ago Brynteg (Spelling ?) I think Kevin Ellis worked there were reaching Champion Schools final. Not seen them mentioned for a year or two. How many school are playing RL in Wales. It is not a difficult transfer of skill for the students, maybe more for their teachers.

The RFL should be telling us more about their development plan for Wales, what their development officer(s) is doing etc. I don't know and I don't think anybody else here does whether or not development officers are creating the growth or 2 Pro clubs?

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Well, I know in Mid Wales, we've gone from no clubs to one club. Which can only be a good thing, in my books.

We're looking at how to develop the game in the schools, and the like, and we're aware it won't happen overnight, but I think we could end up with quite a lot of enthusiasm for the game in a few years, despite the fact that a lot of rugby players here are also farmers, and therefore work more in the summer..

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As regards Schools RL Mark Jones (Development Manager) is doing a good job. New schools are joining the Champion Schools, although unfortunately others - such as Brynteg - have stopped.

I've posted before about the congestion caused by Welsh School RU Cup games and the amount of Regional Youth games that prohibit games at school level (RU or RL), without even mentioning the increase in schools soccer games over the last few years that were never as frequent nor as 'big' as they are now to the kids.

Kevin Ellis' work with Brynteg stopped due to commitments with the Crusaders and although he still does some rugby union stuff there now his strained relationship with the Crusaders and his coaching at Maesteg RU leaves me to think that he hasnt the time nor inclination to assist Brynteg.

IF schools such as Brynteg (and my own - we stuffed Brynteg last year at U16 RU B) - Porthcawl and Pencoed (traditionally the strongest Bridgend RU Schools) had our own Bridgend DO it would make a difference. At the moment AFAIAA we don't have one. Having worked in England the Welsh Schools top sides - Brynteg/Preselli/Whitchurch/Basseleg etc - would make some of the finals year on year with some half decent RL coaching input. Honestly.

I think Swansea and NPT do have a DO and thats why there has been some excellent work done in conjunction with the Scorpions and more schools playing there. Street Rugby here in Bridgend Borough has been a success and the Blue Bulls Junior side has attracted lots of kids from across the Borough, but Champion Schools does need more investment here

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The person you would want to speak to about that I think would be 'Cardiff Cymru' he is the Press Officer for Wales RL/ Cymru CR and produces much of the promotional material about the developments of Welsh Rugby League.

From what I know theres more than 300 schools in South Wales alone that play Rugby League, from wence there were less than 20 pre 2006 and we had a successful schools competition sponsored by the Scorpions this year which saw 500 kids play RL from Pembroke to Monmouth . We have 10 open age sides in the Welsh Conferences, which this year is now in two divisions instead of just one (my team Cardiff Demons) back in 2002 . There was even a cross city RL derby this year when the U17s of the Demons took on the South Coast Spartans which made the local paper. They along with Merthyr Tydfil Wildcats ,Penallta Storm and Glynneath & Abercrave Giants were established this year and played their first games of RL at u17 level or less. (G& A G especially looking very promising for the future from what Ive seen).

I remember reading something a while back which was marked out as a significant milestone..... We have about as many amateur RL clubs in Wales playing as does the City of Hull. Make of that what you will.

Haven't heard much about Brynteg School recently, I remember when they reached the Year 8 Final in 2006 ,surprising considering it has quite a reputation for producing Rugby talent , primarily in the other code such as JPR Williams, Gavin Henson ,Gareth Williams (if those names mean anything to you). I know the Welsh Schools Cup is one of the major subsideries of the Carnegie Champion Schools Cup and sends sides into the main competition each year. Dan Clements was the mian Development Officer for Wales RL when the Crusaders were based in Bridgend , and I think they are slowly starting to get things going up North, theres a North Wales merit league which started this year, tghe development up North is naturally far more elementary than it is in the South, which has always been the dominant force for rugby of either code here, North Wales was always football like Ian Rush and Neville Southall. I think North Wales is a few years off producing semi professional standard RL players but it will be interesting to see.

There is going to be a good fight on now as for which Rugby code will take off in North Wales with the Crusaders established in Wrexham and the first semi pro Rugby Union Region Club being set up in Colwyn Bay.

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