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Johnoco

GB team to return?

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Where there's a will, there's a way. There was supposed to be a GB tour this year, after all, within the very calendar whose virtues you are now using to argue that such things cannot be accomodated. It didn't happen, but that doesn't mean it could never happen.

No one wanted to play GB and, anyway, this is the year that is to disappear from the international schedule (we've had a 5 year gap between WCs, it will be 4 from now on).

Did anyone of those people paying to watch the GB football team give a stuff about any of that? Didn't look that way to me. And most of the grounds were full to see them play.

Probably not, although I suspect the Olympic crowds won't be the regulars turning up to support their national teams at Hampden, Wembley, Millennium or Windsor. They were there, primarily, to watch an Olympic event rather than a meaningful football international. Besides, I think you made a point about bringing politics into the occasion - that certainly happened here via the gutter press!

Another thing is that had a rugby league tournament been held at London 2012, I'm sure the stadiums would have been packed with enthusiastic spectators. They wouldn't necessarily have been there because they were keen on the game, just that they wanted to see an Olympic event. Their enthusiasm probably wouldn't translate itself into greater support for international rugby league. Surely the potential support for the international game in England - the support over and above what we have for the club game - wants to see an England team, in England shirts, with an English identity (identity, not brand!) take the field, not a combined team.

I know that in soccer I want to see Scotland (well, perhaps not so much at the moment), not Great Britain. The latter would be much too much like kissing your sister. :unsure:

I wouldn't expect players to do anything they don't want to do. Sing the anthem, don't sing the anthem, it's up to them. If the papers make a fuss, good! Better than being ignored!! No one forced Brian Carney's arm up his back to play for GB. He could have turned down the invitation. Maybe he thought the opportunity to play against the best in the world was a more important consideration, an opportunity that he would never have now, the way we organise the international game. Is that really progress?

"Sing the anthem, don't sing the anthem" - the hysteria we witnessed during the Olympics notwithstanding, surely a representative side should have shirts/flags/emblems/anthems that the team can unite around and be inspired by. And this comes back to my point about why we had a GB team in the first place - to take advantage of the quality Welsh players (mainly) to increase the chances against Australia.

"No one forced Brian Carney's arm up his back" - no, but the RFL changed the name of the team to GB & Ireland, changed the badge to include all four nations, introduced green piping around the collar, just to incorporate Brian Carney in the team. And then they forget about the anthem - are the game's officials so ignorant as to think it appropriate to play GSTQ for an Irish team (or a team that includes Ireland)? Can you imagine how that would have gone down in places like Cork and Limerick?

If we're eventually to have a combined side again, let's do it right.

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My thoughts are that any potential GB team must be used for tours only and in no way hinder the development of the home nations and Ireland.

If we are serious about it, we should easily be able implement a GB side into the international calendar and I think it would benefit a lot of nations that don't get regular games, like Fiji and Samoa.

Think out loud here, we have a cycle of 4 years for every work cup, so:

Year 1: World Cup;

Year 2: 4Nations;

Year 3: 4Nations;

Year 4: 4Nations (in this year's case 3Nations);

Year 5: World Cup again.

I really like the way we had a 4Nations tournament in the southern hemisphere and we invited the best team outside of the 'super powers' to play the 'big three' and vice versa when it was in the northern hemisphere. It rewarded that side for being the 'best of the rest' with all respect. I'd like to see us continue that but when the GB side tour or the Aussies/Kiwis come over here, we have a competitive competition between Wales, Ireland, Scotland, France and even the England Knights, as well as one for Somoa, Fiji, Tonga, PNG, Cook Island so that they are involved in the calendar more as well. (That is 13 international sides playing meaningful games across the globe).

So we'd have:

Year 1: World Cup;

Year 2: 4Nations (northern hemisphere);

Year 3: GB tour + other competitions mentioned above;

Year 4: 4Nations (southern Hemisphere);

Year 5: World Cup again.

Am I completely mental, or might something like this actually work, keep the 'big guns' playing each other regularly, and also allow the emerging nations to develop too?

It could work, but it would probably be better leaving it until you could include at least a few non-English players on merit.

The one problem with your schedule is that you've got two consecutive years when the southern hemisphere is hosting a tour. Might it be better to have the GB tour the year after the world cup? This would be right at the start of the world cup cycle, so the individual nation's preparations would be affected, neither would it get in the way of any world cup qualifiers (if they are brought in again). After that each nation has a clear run through to the next world cup in which to get their preparations right.

And we could have the GB tour to the south, Aussies and Kiwis up her for the 4 nations, then back down there for the return.

The only problem now is to get those non-English players up to the standard...

And in that vein, why not take up the idea that I think RoughyedSpud put forward. If, as expected, the number of imports reduces over the next few years, and the Exiles team is no longer feasible, why not re-introduce the Other Nationalities team. That was originally made up of Welsh, Irish and Scottish players when there weren't enough to make strong enough sides for each nation. Include the best professionals from each nation (call them Other Nationalities, Celtic Nations or whatever) and see if they can give England a decent challenge. When and if they can, or if some of the players approach the level of England's performance, then reconsider introducing Great Britain and Ireland.

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Sorry, had to break off for my tea half-way through my reply!

It does depend on what your definition of 'fabricated' is. Originally England had its own national rugby league team, and the rest (Irish, Welsh, Scottish) played in a 'fabricated' Other Nations squad. Great Britain rugby league team was created so that the English game could take advantage of those Welsh, Scottish and Irish players that were in the game. Was that a case of fabrication? After all Great Britain isn't a nation, or even a sovereign state.

And you do bring up a point that has bedevilled the game of rugby league from the off. Unless the people playing the game are doing so at the highest level, they don't count. Thus, in the past if a nation couldn't sustain professional football it wasn't worth bothering about - hell for a long time amateur RL was severely neglected in Britain. If a national side couldn't reach test level, then forget it. Other sports don't do this. Soccer has a national side for almost every nation on earth, union isn't too far behind, and have you seen how many nations play cricket. It doesn't matter that most of these nations play at a very low level, their national team largely represents the strength they are at.

Serbia doesn't have a professional league, doesn't have any professional players as far as I know, yet they have a national side. I'm sure that their players are as proud to represent Serbia as any professional player is to represent their test playing nation.

You seem to want an international game of GB, Australia,France and NZ with a few 2nd tier nations like PNG, but that is exactly what worries me about these mutterings about 'bringing back GB'. I don't think it is about an extra level of representation, an occasional tour like the union version, I suspect it is the same old story when it comes to rugby league development. Things get difficult, like trying to take development in Scotland, Wales and Ireland - and England! - onto the next level, and the game gets scared. "We overreached ourselves! The game will never amount to anything! What will happen if Sky pull out! Retreat to the heartlands! Where the hell is the M62???".

The recent past wasn't just some Great British nirvana - it was pretty miserable most of the time following GB internationals - and neither the international or domestic game of the 80s or 90s is worth re-visiting.

No it's not a case of wanting it just to be GB Aus and NZ ,but for 100 years head start on union the game didn't grow much beyond the heartland ,so maybe put the money spent on expansion into the grass roots and concentrate on the great comps we already have!

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No it's not a case of wanting it just to be GB Aus and NZ ,but for 100 years head start on union the game didn't grow much beyond the heartland ,so maybe put the money spent on expansion into the grass roots and concentrate on the great comps we already have!

Congratulations!

Yet another of your posts with the word "union" in it.

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Congratulations!

Yet another of your posts with the word "union" in it.

Yes it's my goal to bring down League by the use of the word Union ,ohh look there it is again!!!!

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I cannot see Ireland/Walesor Scotland going on tour matches on their own any time this centuary. Wether there are any players good enough or not from said countries , a touring side called GB will probably generate more interest than just a England side.

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I cannot see Ireland/Walesor Scotland going on tour matches on their own any time this centuary. Wether there are any players good enough or not from said countries , a touring side called GB will probably generate more interest than just a England side.

People keep saying this as though its a fact.

What evidence is there that more people are inclined to support a GB side as opposed to England? Is it just a case of some people repeating it enough?

Why didn't these people support GB en masse in also the past like when they won the WC? Stevo says they arrived home virtually unheralded, so how popular was it exactly?

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There's nothing wrong with using some heritage players. But relying on them is not the way forward.

Besides, the issue that gets most peoples backs up is the switching. If someone genuinely wants to represent Scotland because of a grandparent, that's ok. Just don't switch in a years time.

How many is some though? And at what point are the numbers reduced? I agree that reliance on heritage players isn't the way to go long term, but how are the likes of Ireland supposed to compete in World Cups (which they were automatically entered into) without using heritage players? The standard of their league set up isnt going to produce professional standard players. The only reason Ireland were given full international status was because of the performances of teams packed with heritage players. And why have many of those heritage players switched their allegiances from Ireland? Because we got rid of the GB team. Guys who used to play for Ireland have ditched them for the chance to play in the 'big matches', which means playing for England. If we hadn't ditched the GB team, Brough, Harrison, Bridge, Evans, etc., probably wouldn't have switched, and the likes of Ireland and Wales would still get the benefit of them.

Yes, the game should be looking to develop homegrown players in Ireland and Scotland, but if the game wants these teams competing at the level they are now, then they will have to use heritage players for a very long time to come.

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People keep saying this as though its a fact.

What evidence is there that more people are inclined to support a GB side as opposed to England? Is it just a case of some people repeating it enough?

Why didn't these people support GB en masse in also the past like when they won the WC? Stevo says they arrived home virtually unheralded, so how popular was it exactly?

To be fair, it wouldn't have made any difference if they were called England though would it? The game was at a low ebb in the 70s, attendances across the game proved this, so its a bit unfair to cite the reaction to the 1972 WC win as evidence. However, I would agree that there's nothing to suggest that bringing back the GB team would instantly give the game a huge boost at the turnstiles.

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How many is some though? And at what point are the numbers reduced? I agree that reliance on heritage players isn't the way to go long term, but how are the likes of Ireland supposed to compete in World Cups (which they were automatically entered into) without using heritage players? The standard of their league set up isnt going to produce professional standard players. The only reason Ireland were given full international status was because of the performances of teams packed with heritage players. And why have many of those heritage players switched their allegiances from Ireland? Because we got rid of the GB team. Guys who used to play for Ireland have ditched them for the chance to play in the 'big matches', which means playing for England. If we hadn't ditched the GB team, Brough, Harrison, Bridge, Evans, etc., probably wouldn't have switched, and the likes of Ireland and Wales would still get the benefit of them.

Yes, the game should be looking to develop homegrown players in Ireland and Scotland, but if the game wants these teams competing at the level they are now, then they will have to use heritage players for a very long time to come.

I agree in essence with a lot of what you are saying. But the fact is those players should not have been *allowed* to switch anyway- that's the real issue.

It will be a long route to get homegrown Celtic players up to a half decent standard. But there isn't really a way round this. It will take some years.

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Yes, but they still played in front of packed crowds who really didn't give a toss about all that. That's my point. Let those who bother about the politics stew in their own juice. Everyone else can just get on with enjoying the sport on offer.

I'm not sure there would have been packed crowds if not for the Olympics. I think that the English sporting public cares more about England than GB.

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But they're supposed to be independent national governing bodies - that is what the game is telling the the government sports bodies in those jurisdictions, and is the basis on which they win state support. RLI's difficulties in gaining recognition from the sports council was partly down to there being a perception that they were not a subsidiary of a British governing body. If the RFL turn around and then impose a 'national' team on the RLI, even if it is only every four years, and that affects or diminishes Ireland's playing opportunities, then that recognition would, rightly, be questioned.

Similarly, the state sports bodies of Wales and Scotland require a certain amount of independence in their NGBs as a condition for backing them. Even if you were to include a token number of players from each nation in a GB squad, then it still takes them away from their nation during the only international period they have.

They might be theroretically independent but they simply don't have the cash to be truly so.

The SFA doesn't need the English FA in order to survive, the SRU aren't exactly millionaires but they don't need handouts from the RFU.

The Irish, Welsh and Scottish RL bodies are dependent on the goodwill of the RFL. The only two "Celtic" semi-pro sides even play in the RFL's comp.

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How many is some though? And at what point are the numbers reduced? I agree that reliance on heritage players isn't the way to go long term, but how are the likes of Ireland supposed to compete in World Cups (which they were automatically entered into) without using heritage players? The standard of their league set up isnt going to produce professional standard players. The only reason Ireland were given full international status was because of the performances of teams packed with heritage players. And why have many of those heritage players switched their allegiances from Ireland? Because we got rid of the GB team. Guys who used to play for Ireland have ditched them for the chance to play in the 'big matches', which means playing for England. If we hadn't ditched the GB team, Brough, Harrison, Bridge, Evans, etc., probably wouldn't have switched, and the likes of Ireland and Wales would still get the benefit of them.

Yes, the game should be looking to develop homegrown players in Ireland and Scotland, but if the game wants these teams competing at the level they are now, then they will have to use heritage players for a very long time to come.

Honest question to those that believe this myth, do they honestly believe that had GB still been around that the likes of Brough, McIllorum, Carvell, etc would not have jumped at the chance to play for England during the World Cup as they'd have a far greater chance of winning? Some might have, some might not have. But there'd still be nation swapping, and there's still a greater incentive to play for England (they have a greater chance if success).

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Honest question to those that believe this myth, do they honestly believe that had GB still been around that the likes of Brough, McIllorum, Carvell, etc would not have jumped at the chance to play for England during the World Cup as they'd have a far greater chance of winning? Some might have, some might not have. But there'd still be nation swapping, and there's still a greater incentive to play for England (they have a greater chance if success).

Hard to say, but I'd hardly call it a 'myth'. Look at the Ireland team that played in the 2000 World Cup - not a bad team by any accounts, and many of them actually switched from England. And if the likes of Brough, Carvell etc., didn't have to make the choice then who knows? As you say, some might have, but some might not have. But as we don't have a GB team, it's impossible to say.

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Hard to say, but I'd hardly call it a 'myth'. Look at the Ireland team that played in the 2000 World Cup - not a bad team by any accounts, and many of them actually switched from England. And if the likes of Brough, Carvell etc., didn't have to make the choice then who knows? As you say, some might have, but some might not have. But as we don't have a GB team, it's impossible to say.

The major stumbling block is though, that as good as that side may have been, there was only one bona fide Irishman in there. (Carney)

That's not to decry the efforts involved because I took some of my brothers to that QF at Headingley (supporting Ireland) and we had a great time. We met Tommy Martyn in the Skyrack afterwards and it could have been George Best, so impressed was my brother. :lol:

But the future HAS to involve mainly genuine Celtic players.

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The major stumbling block is though, that as good as that side may have been, there was only one bona fide Irishman in there. (Carney)

That's not to decry the efforts involved because I took some of my brothers to that QF at Headingley (supporting Ireland) and we had a great time. We met Tommy Martyn in the Skyrack afterwards and it could have been George Best, so impressed was my brother. :lol:

But the future HAS to involve mainly genuine Celtic players.

I wouldn't argue with you on that, but the question is how are Ireland going to produce bona fide internationals of the standard that the Irish national team appears to be playing at? How many genuine Irishmen will be involved next year? In fact you could ask the same question of any of the countries which don't have access to pro or semi pro leagues. The only way round it is either rely on heritage players, or accept that without them many nations will probably never be able to achieve the same level without massive investment in their domestic set ups, something that is unlikely to happen any time soon.

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im on about RLi....the governing body of the game in ireland.....they want ireland to be a stand alone test nation..

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When there are quality Celtic players good enough to play for GB that will be the time to bring back GB as a touring team. Right now GB would just be England wearing different shirts. What's the point?

The point is that having a Lions team for touring only, would make playing for Wales, Scotland and Ireland more attractive. The selectors would have to pick some Celtic nation players (even if they might not be the best) as they do in RU with Scottish reps. This would help players pick Celtic nations over England if they had a choice -e.g. Rhys Evans

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The point is that having a Lions team for touring only, would make playing for Wales, Scotland and Ireland more attractive. The selectors would have to pick some Celtic nation players (even if they might not be the best) as they do in RU with Scottish reps. This would help players pick Celtic nations over England if they had a choice -e.g. Rhys Evans

please please explain that????

why would players stick with wales,scotland & ireland cos they might tour & play big games with GB once every 4 years.....when they can just opt for england in the first place and play big games every year and go on tour every 2 years!!!!

having GB would'nt change a god damn thing..

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please please explain that????

why would players stick with wales,scotland & ireland cos they might tour & play big games with GB once every 4 years.....when the can just opt for england in the first place and play big games every year and go on tour every 2 years!!!!

having GB would'nt change a god damn thing..

Agreed. Nail on head.

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Meh no way would I ever support a GB team now in any matches. I feel no allegiance towards the Welsh, Scottish nor Irish.

It's England all the way now.

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please please explain that????

why would players stick with wales,scotland & ireland cos they might tour & play big games with GB once every 4 years.....when they can just opt for england in the first place and play big games every year and go on tour every 2 years!!!!

having GB would'nt change a god damn thing..

Not only that, surely it brings into question their desire to genuinely play for that nation? It shouldn't be a case of 'well I aren't that bothered but it might get me a GB tour'.

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No it's not a case of wanting it just to be GB Aus and NZ ,but for 100 years head start on union the game didn't grow much beyond the heartland ,so maybe put the money spent on expansion into the grass roots and concentrate on the great comps we already have!

The money being spent on expansion, or a substantial proportion of it, is being spent on grass-roots development. It might not get a lot of attention outside of Scotland but a lot of Scotland Rugby League's activity is at schools, youth and student level, providing opportunities for both participation and elite development. The investment put in also attracts further monies and resources from government bodies, local authorities, schools and sponsors. And these are early days as, although rugby league has had a presence in Scotland for quite a few years now, serious development programmes have only been on the go for the last three years or so.

Wales has similar development programmes but is a little bit further on, helped as they are by having semi-pro clubs. Ireland, having only just received recognition from the sports council based in Dublin, will almost certainly come up with similar efforts.

This isn't optional spending, or money that can be diverted to traditional areas to somehow protect the game there, but essential investment in the future of rugby league. Expansion is no longer an option, or a nice to have, but an absolute necessity if the game is to survive. There is no going back this time, no retreating to the traditional heartlands like it's a comfort blanket. There are many reactionary voices in the game who look to the recent past as it was some golden age, and who somehow want to recreate it. Water down the standard of Super League by bringing in more clubs/divisions/conferences, spread the elite game's resources too thinly risking our best switching to union (even bring back part time football so more clubs can compete), bring back GB...

But our biggest competitors have changed beyond recognition since the nineties. Soccer is rich beyond our wildest dreams and union is full-time - cutting off the supply of players for any GB team, and at the same time giving our best other career options. And the broadcasters increasingly want international sport - rugby league is missing out on millions by having a stunted international game.

The stark choice is growth or decline - the hard work must continue!

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