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Johnoco

GB team to return?

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Well who else would GB be playing? Aus and NZ weren't interested.

People used to claim Aus & NZ weren't interested in hosting the World Cup. Despite all that, they were persuaded otherwise and it came to pass in 2008. So, we have to persuade them now that a regularly scheduled GB Lions tour down under would be a worthwhile experience for their players, fans and broadcast partners, and also be financially viable too. Not as a replacement for the World Cup or Four Nations, but in addition to it. The international calendar can be made as flexible as it needs to be, if the necessary will is there.

Or we can just give up, of course.

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even football managed to get round such supposedly insurmountable issues to field a GB team at London 2012, why does it have to be made to appear an impossibility in Rugby League? :wacko:

The GB team was Anglo-Welsh, the Scots and Northern Irish boycotted it.

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The GB team was Anglo-Welsh, the Scots and Northern Irish boycotted it.

There were Scottishers in the women's team.

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The GB team was Anglo-Welsh, the Scots and Northern Irish boycotted it.

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.

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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.

As if ANY of that is likely to happen in Rugby League.

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As if ANY of that is likely to happen in Rugby League.

I'm an optimist! :)

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People used to claim Aus & NZ weren't interested in hosting the World Cup. Despite all that, they were persuaded otherwise and it came to pass in 2008. So, we have to persuade them now that a regularly scheduled GB Lions tour down under would be a worthwhile experience for their players, fans and broadcast partners, and also be financially viable too. Not as a replacement for the World Cup or Four Nations, but in addition to it. The international calendar can be made as flexible as it needs to be, if the necessary will is there.

Or we can just give up, of course.

We don't give up, and that is what a lot of this 'bring back GB' stuff is about. We persevere. Okay, so England are not world beaters at the moment, but I cannot see how incorporating non-English players into the squad is going to improve them in any case. What the current situation highlights more than anything is that the system for producing world-beating English players is still not up to the job - that is where the effort needs to concentrated, not on any identity issues. And, of course, that the development of rugby league in the other home nations isn't as easy, or as rapid, as some thought it would be.

Much easier, then, to withdraw into the laager, circle the wagons around the heartlands (yet again), and not have to bother with all this 'development stuff'. Pretend that we're Great Britain (even including a completely separate state that has nothing to do with GB), that the game is, in fact, spread throughout these islands, and go back to the mediocrity that we enjoyed in the 80s and 90s. Forget these rose-tinted glasses that imagines heroic battles - it was a bloody miserable time where any success was tempered by the realisation that we were going to get stuffed in the decider (and, often, success was managing to score a try in some games/series).

No, for once in its existence rugby league needs to look to its future, not its past. The game needs to be developed in all parts of Britain and Ireland. England, as the standard bearer, needs to create ways of producing players good enough to not just compete with, but beat, Australians and New Zealanders. The other nations need to overcome the difficulties and setbacks they face to produce a higher standard of football. It is not easy, and it hasn't really been tried in the history of the game, but it is the only way.

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How much of the budget of these governing bodies comes from the RFL's coffers?

I don't imagine they'll be arguing much.

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.

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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.

Yes, but let's not pretend that the general sports viewer is going to view a GB rugby league test in the same way they as they did an Olympic GB soccer game. Just think of the marketing and exposure those Olympic games got, and compare that with the attention a stand-alone rugby league game would get.

And, anyway, I thought GB was only going to be for touring Australia? ;)

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We don't give up, and that is what a lot of this 'bring back GB' stuff is about. We persevere. Okay, so England are not world beaters at the moment, but I cannot see how incorporating non-English players into the squad is going to improve them in any case.

I was under the impression that the reasoning behind bringing back a GB team was to stop potential Wales, Scotland and Ireland players from simply pinning their masts to England, not to improve England's chances of winning. Which it quite clearly wouldn't. All we've achieved by getting rid of GB is to reduce the amount of talent available to the Celtic nations, and in turn made them a worse proposition for the World Cup next year. The argument as to whether they should be picking heritage players is a completely different argument, but I suggest that if every nation in next years World Cup could only pick bona fide home born players, there'd be some pretty weak teams heading to these shores.

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I was under the impression that the reasoning behind bringing back a GB team was to stop potential Wales, Scotland and Ireland players from simply pinning their masts to England, not to improve England's chances of winning. Which it quite clearly wouldn't. All we've achieved by getting rid of GB is to reduce the amount of talent available to the Celtic nations, and in turn made them a worse proposition for the World Cup next year. The argument as to whether they should be picking heritage players is a completely different argument, but I suggest that if every nation in next years World Cup could only pick bona fide home born players, there'd be some pretty weak teams heading to these shores.

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.

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We don't give up, and that is what a lot of this 'bring back GB' stuff is about. We persevere. Okay, so England are not world beaters at the moment, but I cannot see how incorporating non-English players into the squad is going to improve them in any case. What the current situation highlights more than anything is that the system for producing world-beating English players is still not up to the job - that is where the effort needs to concentrated, not on any identity issues. And, of course, that the development of rugby league in the other home nations isn't as easy, or as rapid, as some thought it would be.

Much easier, then, to withdraw into the laager, circle the wagons around the heartlands (yet again), and not have to bother with all this 'development stuff'. Pretend that we're Great Britain (even including a completely separate state that has nothing to do with GB), that the game is, in fact, spread throughout these islands, and go back to the mediocrity that we enjoyed in the 80s and 90s. Forget these rose-tinted glasses that imagines heroic battles - it was a bloody miserable time where any success was tempered by the realisation that we were going to get stuffed in the decider (and, often, success was managing to score a try in some games/series).

No, for once in its existence rugby league needs to look to its future, not its past. The game needs to be developed in all parts of Britain and Ireland. England, as the standard bearer, needs to create ways of producing players good enough to not just compete with, but beat, Australians and New Zealanders. The other nations need to overcome the difficulties and setbacks they face to produce a higher standard of football. It is not easy, and it hasn't really been tried in the history of the game, but it is the only way.

Why do you seem to regard it as impossible to have a situation whereby England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales continue to play as well as a Great Britain team? None of what you've said above has to stop to allow a GB team to become a regular part of an RL international calendar again. It doesn't have to be either/or. Why insist on presenting a false choice? Rugby union has its home nations and a British Lions side. Why can't Rugby League?

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Why do you seem to regard it as impossible to have a situation whereby England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales continue to play as well as a Great Britain team? None of what you've said above has to stop to allow a GB team to become a regular part of an RL international calendar again. It doesn't have to be either/or. Why insist on presenting a false choice? Rugby union has its home nations and a British Lions side. Why can't Rugby League?

The RU version has players from four countries playing for it. The real Lions would only have players from England, which defeats the purpose of having the combined team.

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If some people want to get their knickers in a twist about the politics of it all, honestly, I'd just leave them to it and get on with the task in hand. No one would be forced to play for a GB team against their principles, and no one would be forced to watch a GB team against their principles. People can decide whether to sing a national anthem or not, according to their own tastes. That's all just a sideshow, so long as the home nations are still playing regularly too. That's the key. We don't replace the home nations fixtures with GB team fixtures, we are adding GB fixtures back into our international calendar. Hell's teeth, the rugby union manage all this, even football managed to get round such supposedly insurmountable issues to field a GB team at London 2012, why does it have to be made to appear an impossibility in Rugby League? :wacko:

We're finally going to have a four-year cycle based around regular world cups. First year is going to be the world cup itself, second the 4 Nations. Either the third or fourth is going to be for world cup qualification (hopefully) and the return 4 Nations (do these have to be held in separate years to enable, say, Wales, France, PNG to compete in the 4 Nations). Include the 'break' year that the NRL clubs seemingly require and there doesn't seem to be an awful lot of time left to fit a GB tour in.

As for the Olympic soccer team, let's not forget the nature of the tournament - under-23s, with a sprinkling of over-aged players. There is no way a full Great Britain squad would be put together for anything other than an exhibition game (again, no time in the schedule).

And as for the politics... Three of the home associations, and all four of the official supporters associations were against the forming of the team. Having said that, once the games were upon us everyone settled down to watch the football. And what did we witness? The ugly, pathetic and political hysteria in the gutter press about some players merely standing to attention for God Save The Queen (as is the traditional and respectful way to react). They were, apparently, required to sing.

Would this sort of politics be brought into a Great Britain rugby league event? Would any players from Ireland have to bow their heads, as Brian Carney felt obliged to, at the playing of an inappropriate anthem? The union governing bodies do manage to occasionally field a joint British and Irish Lions side (note: not Great Britain) but at least they do it properly: play in a kit that incorporates the colours of all 4 nations; obtain the agreement of all four nations; don't expect players to stand for an inappropriate anthem.

And they haven't neglected development for most of their histories.

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The RU version has players from four countries playing for it. The real Lions would only have players from England, which defeats the purpose of having the combined team.

No it doesn't. When I was down in London waving my red, white and blue flag at the Olympics, I didn't bother to check if the person wearing the GB shirt was English, Scottish, Welsh or Irish, because I didn't honestly care. I'd argue most people would feel the same about a GB RL team thus the issue becomes largely irrelevant. It's the brand that's important.

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Why do you seem to regard it as impossible to have a situation whereby England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales continue to play as well as a Great Britain team? None of what you've said above has to stop to allow a GB team to become a regular part of an RL international calendar again. It doesn't have to be either/or. Why insist on presenting a false choice? Rugby union has its home nations and a British Lions side. Why can't Rugby League?

I am not actually against having a Great Britain team, I just see it as unnecessary at this time. As others have pointed out, no one other than English players would get anywhere near it. It wouldn't be a step up for England's players, so they would be just as well using the time to develop their own national squad. And where is the time in the schedule where there isn't a four-yearly world cup, a 4 Nations or a gap/rest-year?

Why doesn't the game set itself a target? Develop rugby league in these islands to such an extent that a reasonable number of Welsh, Scottish and Irish players have the prospect of making the squad on merit. Then re-introduce a combined British and Irish side that actually is a step up in standard.

And we can then head south and play a series against a combined Australia/New Zealand squad! :)

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Do Ireland ,Wales and Scotland really exist tho as genuine rep teams or are they just fabricated teams forced together to make up numbers ?

Without genuine professional leagues or clubs in these countries I don't see the point other than to feel warm and fuzzy that the game is global when in reality it just sucks up funding ,I'm from N.Ireland so when GB went away I had to revert to New Zealand(grandparents rule)

I don't think there is anything wrong with an international game of GB Australia,France and NZ with a few 2nd tear nations like PNG etc ,and if the product is right other nations can join in under legitimate rules rather than fabricated teams of players with tenuous links to nations!

Wo don't have to have test footie every year ,how about we have a year free for a proper World Club Championship end of season with Top clubs from SL and NRL just a thought!

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No it doesn't. When I was down in London waving my red, white and blue flag at the Olympics, I didn't bother to check if the person wearing the GB shirt was English, Scottish, Welsh or Irish, because I didn't honestly care. I'd argue most people would feel the same about a GB RL team thus the issue becomes largely irrelevant. It's the brand that's important.

Hang on, a lot of people on these forums were ecstatic that many of the medal winners were from Yorkshire!!!

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Do Ireland ,Wales and Scotland really exist tho as genuine rep teams or are they just fabricated teams forced together to make up numbers ?

Without genuine professional leagues or clubs in these countries I don't see the point other than to feel warm and fuzzy that the game is global when in reality it just sucks up funding ,I'm from N.Ireland so when GB went away I had to revert to New Zealand(grandparents rule)

I don't think there is anything wrong with an international game of GB Australia,France and NZ with a few 2nd tear nations like PNG etc ,and if the product is right other nations can join in under legitimate rules rather than fabricated teams of players with tenuous links to nations!

Wo don't have to have test footie every year ,how about we have a year free for a proper World Club Championship end of season with Top clubs from SL and NRL just a thought!

Wales, Ireland and Scotland have genuine, national, rep teams at varying levels. As far as Scotland is concerned (probably true for the other two as well), we have the team that have just competed in the tournament with Ireland and England Knights. This is the one that includes anyone with even the slightest qualification - if you have at least one grandparent from Scotland, you're in. This was controversial amongst many in the Scottish game when introduced for the 2000 World Cup by the RFL. Before that the team had mainly been amateurs with, perhaps, three professionals.

Then you have the Scotland 'A' rep team, made up of players from the grass-roots game. In a sense this is the true rep team that shows the strength of the domestic game. Then there are the students, together with the u16s and u18s rep teams, where a lot of development work has been going in.

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We're finally going to have a four-year cycle based around regular world cups. First year is going to be the world cup itself, second the 4 Nations. Either the third or fourth is going to be for world cup qualification (hopefully) and the return 4 Nations (do these have to be held in separate years to enable, say, Wales, France, PNG to compete in the 4 Nations). Include the 'break' year that the NRL clubs seemingly require and there doesn't seem to be an awful lot of time left to fit a GB tour in.

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.

As for the Olympic soccer team, let's not forget the nature of the tournament - under-23s, with a sprinkling of over-aged players. There is no way a full Great Britain squad would be put together for anything other than an exhibition game (again, no time in the schedule).

And as for the politics... Three of the home associations, and all four of the official supporters associations were against the forming of the team. Having said that, once the games were upon us everyone settled down to watch the football. And what did we witness? The ugly, pathetic and political hysteria in the gutter press about some players merely standing to attention for God Save The Queen (as is the traditional and respectful way to react). They were, apparently, required to sing.

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.

Would this sort of politics be brought into a Great Britain rugby league event? Would any players from Ireland have to bow their heads, as Brian Carney felt obliged to, at the playing of an inappropriate anthem? The union governing bodies do manage to occasionally field a joint British and Irish Lions side (note: not Great Britain) but at least they do it properly: play in a kit that incorporates the colours of all 4 nations; obtain the agreement of all four nations; don't expect players to stand for an inappropriate anthem.

And they haven't neglected development for most of their histories.

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?

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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?

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Hang on, a lot of people on these forums were ecstatic that many of the medal winners were from Yorkshire!!!

TRL isn't a representative sample of the British public. ;)

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No it doesn't. When I was down in London waving my red, white and blue flag at the Olympics, I didn't bother to check if the person wearing the GB shirt was English, Scottish, Welsh or Irish, because I didn't honestly care. I'd argue most people would feel the same about a GB RL team thus the issue becomes largely irrelevant. It's the brand that's important.

Come on John, people back GB athletes in the Olympics because they come (generally) from all corners of GB. If year after year all the athletes came from Yorks & Lancs, I'm pretty sure the Scottish and Welsh viewers and eventually southern Englanders would lose interest.

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No it doesn't. When I was down in London waving my red, white and blue flag at the Olympics, I didn't bother to check if the person wearing the GB shirt was English, Scottish, Welsh or Irish, because I didn't honestly care. I'd argue most people would feel the same about a GB RL team thus the issue becomes largely irrelevant. It's the brand that's important.

Come on John, people back GB athletes in the Olympics because they come (generally) from all corners of GB. If year after year all the athletes came from Yorks & Lancs, I'm pretty sure the Scottish and Welsh viewers and eventually southern Englanders would lose interest.

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Do Ireland ,Wales and Scotland really exist tho as genuine rep teams or are they just fabricated teams forced together to make up numbers ?

Without genuine professional leagues or clubs in these countries I don't see the point other than to feel warm and fuzzy that the game is global when in reality it just sucks up funding ,I'm from N.Ireland so when GB went away I had to revert to New Zealand(grandparents rule)

I don't think there is anything wrong with an international game of GB Australia,France and NZ with a few 2nd tear nations like PNG etc ,and if the product is right other nations can join in under legitimate rules rather than fabricated teams of players with tenuous links to nations!

Wo don't have to have test footie every year ,how about we have a year free for a proper World Club Championship end of season with Top clubs from SL and NRL just a thought!

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.

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