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Pie tries

(Renamed thread) What RL can learn from the union 6 Nations

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For what it's worth, here is what I would like to see happen to develop the international game in Europe.

At present, there are 16 European sides in the official RLIF rankings. From this, I would split them into 2 tournaments of 8 teams (top eight, bottom eight) who would take part in two annual knock-out tournaments. The winners of the 2nd tier would automatically be promoted to the 1st tier in place of the team who come last in that competition.

Basic format would be that the tournament is held over 3 weeks, with 4 fixtures taking place at a time, preferably all at the same venue. Week 1 - Cup 1/4 finals, Week 2 - Cup Semi-finals, 5th-8th Semi Finals, Week 3 - Final, 3rd/4th, 5th/6th, 7th/8th. Every fixture means something, and even if a team take a kicking in the first game, by the final game they should be playing someone they can compete with.

Have it in Britain one year, then on the continent the following year, and not worry too much if attendances don't go through the roof straight off the bat - treat it as a way of helping national sides to develop rather than growing interest in the game.

Obviously, the elephant in the room are England, who would most likely stroll through if they brought a full-strength side. The simple solution would be to place certain restrictions upon England for X number of years, or until certain targets are met. It could be something like no players over the age of 23 at first, or no-one who has earned over a certain amount of caps. Once England winning the thing is no longer a foregone conclusion, or after a set time-period, relax the restrictions a bit, and then a bit more and so on, until they have to field their strongest side to be confident of doing well.

And then, and this is the kicker, rather than moaning that it's a farce because of the fact that England have to be restricted, celebrate the fact that some players who might otherwise not get the chance to show what they can do for their country are getting a chance, and talk about how great it is that all these countries who aren't getting enough competitive, meaningful games at the moment are now getting the opportunity to develop, and look forward to the day when a country like Serbia, for example, might be competitive against a full-strength England, rather than not bother doing anything to help them because they aren't competitive against England right now.

It might take 20 years to get to the stage where England are using their best 17 for every game, but so be it - as I've said before, patience is what is needed, moreso than anything else.

And just in case any nasty union journalists start trying to make fun, here's what we say back:

'Rather than only allowing 6 sides to sit at the top table in European Rugby League, we are giving 8 countries that chance, and the other 8 the chance to earn the opportunity to test themselves against the best in Europe, unlike the closed shop that is international rugby union in Europe, where the 'top' sides do not deem the rest of Europe worthy of gracing their hallowed fields, ensuring that none of them can develop to where they could threaten the ruling elite of the European game. We aren't afraid that at some point, the home nations may not rule the roost in our game, and will instead celebrate the creation of a vibrant international scene.'

That's a nice dream, but it won't ever happen. It doesn't achieve what people want: meaningful internationals. If anything, it's counterproductive to the other nations who can't compete either England's under 23s (this is why I don't like England Knights playing Scotland/France/Wales/etc). Whilst its good that we have depth, it's shocking that these other nations can't compete with them at their best (and will get tonked in most cases).

Personally, I'd much rather not see an England reserve side playing in Europe. It is more detrimental to the other nations to lose to them than it is positive for us to win.

I'd rather they either tour, or they're split into Yorkshire and Lancashire and have a competitive three-test series. Would be far more beneficial than spanking the home nations' first teams in every single way.

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For what it's worth, here is what I would like to see happen to develop the international game in Europe.

At present, there are 16 European sides in the official RLIF rankings. From this, I would split them into 2 tournaments of 8 teams (top eight, bottom eight) who would take part in two annual knock-out tournaments. The winners of the 2nd tier would automatically be promoted to the 1st tier in place of the team who come last in that competition.

Basic format would be that the tournament is held over 3 weeks, with 4 fixtures taking place at a time, preferably all at the same venue. Week 1 - Cup 1/4 finals, Week 2 - Cup Semi-finals, 5th-8th Semi Finals, Week 3 - Final, 3rd/4th, 5th/6th, 7th/8th. Every fixture means something, and even if a team take a kicking in the first game, by the final game they should be playing someone they can compete with.

Have it in Britain one year, then on the continent the following year, and not worry too much if attendances don't go through the roof straight off the bat - treat it as a way of helping national sides to develop rather than growing interest in the game.

Obviously, the elephant in the room are England, who would most likely stroll through if they brought a full-strength side. The simple solution would be to place certain restrictions upon England for X number of years, or until certain targets are met. It could be something like no players over the age of 23 at first, or no-one who has earned over a certain amount of caps. Once England winning the thing is no longer a foregone conclusion, or after a set time-period, relax the restrictions a bit, and then a bit more and so on, until they have to field their strongest side to be confident of doing well.

And then, and this is the kicker, rather than moaning that it's a farce because of the fact that England have to be restricted, celebrate the fact that some players who might otherwise not get the chance to show what they can do for their country are getting a chance, and talk about how great it is that all these countries who aren't getting enough competitive, meaningful games at the moment are now getting the opportunity to develop, and look forward to the day when a country like Serbia, for example, might be competitive against a full-strength England, rather than not bother doing anything to help them because they aren't competitive against England right now.

It might take 20 years to get to the stage where England are using their best 17 for every game, but so be it - as I've said before, patience is what is needed, moreso than anything else.

And just in case any nasty union journalists start trying to make fun, here's what we say back:

'Rather than only allowing 6 sides to sit at the top table in European Rugby League, we are giving 8 countries that chance, and the other 8 the chance to earn the opportunity to test themselves against the best in Europe, unlike the closed shop that is international rugby union in Europe, where the 'top' sides do not deem the rest of Europe worthy of gracing their hallowed fields, ensuring that none of them can develop to where they could threaten the ruling elite of the European game. We aren't afraid that at some point, the home nations may not rule the roost in our game, and will instead celebrate the creation of a vibrant international scene.'

They are currently using the England Knights in games against the lower European Nations, this needs to remain and leave England full team playing against the better nations.

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They are currently using the England Knights in games against the lower European Nations, this needs to remain and leave England full team playing against the better nations.

Something which, as said in my previous post, I don't agree with. I don't see who it's benefitting.

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Something which, as said in my previous post, I don't agree with. I don't see who it's benefitting.

I'd argue it's benefiting England - having a 2nd team with players sampling the International Squad culture can only be a good thing.

I'd prefer Scotland, Ireland, Wales, France, Lebanon etc to play themselves so that they all realistically have a chance of winning the comp and let England Knights tour NZ/Aus and similar to play players at the similar level, but I'm not sure that is going to happen, so I think playing the other European teams serves some purpose and gives the Celts a real challenge too.

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I'd argue it's benefiting England - having a 2nd team with players sampling the International Squad culture can only be a good thing.

But that can be achieved in other ways I think, without having them convincingly beat our up and coming neighbours and knocking the wind out of their sails.

I'd prefer Scotland, Ireland, Wales, France, Lebanon etc to play themselves so that they all realistically have a chance of winning the comp and let England Knights tour NZ/Aus and similar to play players at the similar level, but I'm not sure that is going to happen, so I think playing the other European teams serves some purpose and gives the Celts a real challenge too.

I think the Celts already have plenty of options for competition without getting spanked by a second team.

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No it wouldn't. It would be the equivelant of PNG or France beating England, which isn't unbelievable.

There isn't a team in European rugby union that are the quality of the Kangaroos. The All Blacks are the only equivelant of the Kangaroos and Italy aren't going to beat them any time soon, no matter how many penalty kicks they take. Most other teams aren't going to beat them either.

The difference is in the game itself. Rugby union minnows look better than they are because the game is penalty based and rubbish teams can keep an honest score line by kicking goals all game. About half the points scored in international rugby union are from penalty kicks. If penalty kicks were as rewarding in rugby league then minnows over night would be keeping score lines closer.

The gulf in class between say England and PNG in league is relatively smaller, I'd say, than if you were to compare a team like Scotland or Georgia to France/Wales

England aren't the reigning WC champions or 4 Nations champs either. Scotland were a good side when Italy beat them.

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