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Johnoco

GB team to return?

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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.

Why? When watching GB tour games in the past the Aussies referred to them as England/the English anyway. And if the English game doesn't start to improve its international performances soon then interest down under is going to diminish anyway.

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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.

That is the reality, and the task has been neglected for far too long.

And not just the Celtic nations - England has to find a way of producing world class players from areas outside of the heartlands. Trying to beat the Aussies with players from isolated parts of just three counties is no longer enough.

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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

So the GB touring team would be weaker than the England team - what would be the point?

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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.

European rugby league as a whole wouldn't exist without the goodwill of the RFL. The only non-English professional side even play in the RFL's comp. Would that justify the RFL attempting to impose a European representative side without the acceptance of the French federation?

The RFL does underpin most development in the northern hemisphere, and provides much support, but it does so out of enlightened self-interest. It has to work with its partners and stake-holders in jurisdictions outside of England, and would gain nothing by alienating them.

The administration under Richard Lewis understood these basic facts of life and was sensitive to the environments in which developing nations operate. If we are to regress to the state where a supposed rep team of Ireland - which is what Great Britain and Ireland was when Brian Carney played the field - have to take to the field to the strains of God Save The Queen, then the days of progress in the international days are over.

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Can I just ask, would it be right to bring back a side that isn't a national side? They are a collection of nations.

GB&I aren't a national side. Separating them stops the muddying of the waters.

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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.

Yes, I'd mix it up a bit an alternative England/GB traveling to Oz. It was just something off the top of my head.

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