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owls

Will Rugby League ever be popular in Wales/

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I think the Scorps are trying very hard to spread the message locally.  They've had schools comps there and student internationals as well as the regular first grade team, almost all of whom are locals (with some Wiganers thrown in sometimes).  They have it tough in the south though, or that's the impression I get from the updates I read in the RL press, but they aren't without their achievements.  Only time will tell I guess whether RL catches on in the south of the principality.

 

The scene in Wrexham does look much healthier, with the Crusaders recently starting up a wheelchair RL team in addition to their other teams (and a wheelchair team that has won matches).  I think Wrexham took to rugby league and while they aren't turning up in droves (seems to be between around 800 and 1000) the fanbase appears to be a loyal and vocal one, and the club appears to have put down roots in the local community, something that is important to the success of a rugby league club I reckon.

Scorpions are working v hard in conjunction with WRL. That's of massive importance.

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The idea that building from the bottom is the way keeps cropping up in post after post.

 

I note that it crops up in this post then observers go on to comment that what Welsh clubs there are, are struggling for players, games are getting cancelled, and schools RL isn't played as regularly as people think.

 

When Crusaders were on the up building from investment monies things were more vibrant, as reported by several welsh posters on here.

And when the money ran out, it all went downhill....

 

Things were better before Crusaders came along.

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And when the money ran out, it all went downhill....

 

Things were better before Crusaders came along.

Better before they began to unravel because Samuel did the staff and fans up like a kipper.

Crusaders gave the kids something to aspire to here in S Wales.

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Better before they began to unravel because Samuel did the staff and fans up like a kipper.

Crusaders gave the kids something to aspire to here in S Wales.

I agree that a sustainable pro club would help but the idea that Crusaders helped Welsh development is daft. They set it back.

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I see what you are saying in terms of how it played out, but a properly run and well funded SL club in the Bridgend area would still be in existence now and the development work that would have continued would have been considerable as greater revenue and grant funding would have been made available for this.

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I see what you are saying in terms of how it played out, but a properly run and well funded SL club in the Bridgend area would still be in existence now and the development work that would have continued would have been considerable as greater revenue and grant funding would have been made available for this.

I am not going to argue against that, I'm just arguing against the pins-in-a-map approach that has proven destructive.

 

Crusaders got S4C coverage while a NL1/2 side; something that neither North or South Wales get now. We've lost something that would have aided development through the desire to placate Samuel's ego.

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At the time though it was a case of beggars can't be choosers. Not sure how culpable the licensing people were on this, but you would have hoped that if the same happens again, either check that the money is 110% there OR the SL take a stake in the club.

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I am sad to say that the open age game in South Wales is really struggling now with just a six team, not sure about the juniors, there are a lot of clubs who say they have junior teams but it is difficult to tell how many games take place.

Also there is some bad news just around the corners for both North & South Wales in the development side of the community and junior game. 

Who do you love in terms of RL youngen? Myself it's the Scorpions! Win, lose, draw. Success or fail it doesn't matter... A love for local RL is something that can never be matched and can only grow further.

At least 4 northern teams + 6 southern equals 10 aswell to bro. Your 6 is not accurate, come play footy where were at.

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I agree that the future for North Wales is far more healthier, there is far greater enthausim for the game now in the North and Mid Wales

North Wales has a 5 team open age league with most games getting called off every other week due to not being able to raise a team, North Wales u18s have folded because no players and Crusaders packed with players from North West England

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North Wales has a 5 team open age league with most games getting called off every other week due to not being able to raise a team,

As a north wales ref, I can confirm this is true. I think of 10 scheduled games, 4 have been played IIRC.

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Of course the advantage the Crusaders have is their proximity to the heartlands in the North West, which means they can pick up many players who, to use the parlance, can do a good job at CC1 level. The Scorpions don't have that advantage. A winning team always creates more enthusiasm. Whether that means the future in terms of developing local players in more healthier is another matter altogether.

 

Indeed, if you look at the squad as listed for the start of the season they are mostly from Lancashire, I'm sure the club would love to develop Welsh players over the years but until then going for heartland players is their mode of survival, pretty much like Doncaster and Sheffield.

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Bridgend is still the best place geographically and player pool wise as rugby is the main game, plus it retains enough of a grudge for losing a regional side and continues to be neglected by the Ospreys. Any rugby league in south wales needs the support of valleys people to be fully successful and neither the ospreys nor the blues nor the dragons have remembered this.

We tried it in Bridgend from 2006 to 2008. Sadly the people of Bridgend and District never supported it. I remember driving to the Brewery Field and being dismayed at the lack of enthusiasm.

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I see what you are saying in terms of how it played out, but a properly run and well funded SL club in the Bridgend area would still be in existence now and the development work that would have continued would have been considerable as greater revenue and grant funding would have been made available for this.

 

Well it played out quite badly in Bradford, it played out badly in Wakefield and Halifax, Oldham, Workington etc.

 

The point I'm making is about "growing the game" a point people make in which they say investment in a "ready made" SL club is not the way - evidence being Paris Crusaders, London, Gateshead etc. They say "bottom up" is the way.

 

But there is no evidence at all for this, those who choose to point to North Wales Crusaders forget the the money invested in Crusaders and the Superleague season awoke a big interest in fans and Crusaders - largely a Lancashire team. Was it 10,000 at the first game? It's 900 now. But hands up that is a contrived point, as contrived as using 900 as evidence they are well supported. Sheffield used to get 900 when they were top of CC1, promotion and several years has not seen their crowds spiral even though they continue to win.

 

You state that top down/bottom up is not mutually exclusive. it certainly used to be when Doncaster started out growing the game bottom up over 60 years ago, today as you say clubs recognise the need to be community clubs and strive to grow some "roots". In fact Superleague licenses require top down/bottom up.

 

And for me if you look at the Celtic Crusaders on this point you have to compare how the growth rate of budding professional young/welsh players, and how the growth rate of paying fans in the days when the investment was going in, compares against how South Wales Scorpions are growing their professional welsh player base and their crowds.

 

There is no comparison. 6,000 attended a Celtic Crusaders.v.Saints Superleague match and at the time I was told by a Swansea junior ARL poster how things were buzzing, now I look at Scorpions 393 average crowd and am told of the dificulties finding players and getting games on in the amateur/junior game.

 

I'm all for as many amateur/semi pro clubs as possible in as many places as possible, but I'm not one for giving them the responsibility to take the game forward, for that sets them up to fail. Heavy investment saw a big interest in RL in Wales, Paris, Gateshead and London when the money went in, when it didn't the interest waned, only the same as places in the heartlands.

 

So yes to the OP question Welsh people are as interested in RL as anyone including heartland fans.

 

It just takes a few million a year throwing at a Superleague club for a few generations to harness the interest into deep enough roots.

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We tried it in Bridgend from 2006 to 2008. Sadly the people of Bridgend and District never supported it. I

 

3,600 average crowds in their first Superleague season. They supported it but not in enough numbers to pay the bills of a professional club.

 

Sames as at Bradford, Wakefield, Oldham, Workington, Halifax, the latter three NOT getting 3,600 despite having "roots" going back over 100 years each.

 

Today fans in Castleford, East Hull, Widnes, Salford, Huddersfield etc don't support their clubs in enough numbers to pay the bills.

 

You can find the exact equivalent lack of enthusiasm up here in the heartlands.

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Well it played out quite badly in Bradford, it played out badly in Wakefield and Halifax, Oldham, Workington etc.

 

The point I'm making is about "growing the game" a point people make in which they say investment in a "ready made" SL club is not the way - evidence being Paris Crusaders, London, Gateshead etc. They say "bottom up" is the way.

 

But there is no evidence at all for this, those who choose to point to North Wales Crusaders forget the the money invested in Crusaders and the Superleague season awoke a big interest in fans and Crusaders - largely a Lancashire team. Was it 10,000 at the first game? It's 900 now. But hands up that is a contrived point, as contrived as using 900 as evidence they are well supported. Sheffield used to get 900 when they were top of CC1, promotion and several years has not seen their crowds spiral even though they continue to win.

 

You state that top down/bottom up is not mutually exclusive. it certainly used to be when Doncaster started out growing the game bottom up over 60 years ago, today as you say clubs recognise the need to be community clubs and strive to grow some "roots". In fact Superleague licenses require top down/bottom up.

 

And for me if you look at the Celtic Crusaders on this point you have to compare how the growth rate of budding professional young/welsh players, and how the growth rate of paying fans in the days when the investment was going in, compares against how South Wales Scorpions are growing their professional welsh player base and their crowds.

 

There is no comparison. 6,000 attended a Celtic Crusaders.v.Saints Superleague match and at the time I was told by a Swansea junior ARL poster how things were buzzing, now I look at Scorpions 393 average crowd and am told of the dificulties finding players and getting games on in the amateur/junior game.

 

I'm all for as many amateur/semi pro clubs as possible in as many places as possible, but I'm not one for giving them the responsibility to take the game forward, for that sets them up to fail. Heavy investment saw a big interest in RL in Wales, Paris, Gateshead and London when the money went in, when it didn't the interest waned, only the same as places in the heartlands.

 

So yes to the OP question Welsh people are as interested in RL as anyone including heartland fans.

 

It just takes a few million a year throwing at a Superleague club for a few generations to harness the interest into deep enough roots.

So we do nothing at all until somebody comes along with a few million quid?

 

I'll just let North Wales, Hemel, Skolars etc know not to bother - it's all a waste of time.

 

In the meantime, how about letting the best amateur sides join the semi-pro ranks and just maybe somebody might invest in them so they can get to the top flight?

 

Nah, obviously a millionaire won't invest in a club that exists, has its own stadium, produces its own players and has a fan base. It makes more sense for them to invest in something that doesn't exist. 

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3,600 average crowds in their first Superleague season. They supported it but not in enough numbers to pay the bills of a professional club.

 

Sames as at Bradford, Wakefield, Oldham, Workington, Halifax, the latter three NOT getting 3,600 despite having "roots" going back over 100 years each.

 

Today fans in Castleford, East Hull, Widnes, Salford, Huddersfield etc don't support their clubs in enough numbers to pay the bills.

 

You can find the exact equivalent lack of enthusiasm up here in the heartlands.

This is not a thread about the heartlands. Stop hijacking it. We're talking about Welsh rugby.

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That 3600 average was in a season where the club won 3 games in SL. The team was mostly Qlnd Cup players, not exactly fully professional.

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Watched the Jonathan Davies documentary on the BBC Iplayer last night, showed some footage of his switch from Llanelli to Widnes. I was a bit young at the time to remember but it showed footage of the 6 o'clock headlines wit the news of the switch, Welsh Fans welcoming him to Naughton Park etc. This was the period 1990-95 when we should of took the bull by the horns and took the game to he masses in Wales. We have little chance of that kind of opportunity coming along again!!!

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It's a struggle to instantly develop a large amount of quality players in South Wales right now as we saw on the park today at the Scorpions today. We have been shafted by the RFL a bit this season though in regards to junior development. Having prepared for an under 18s competition, we were put into a 20s and our players are just not old and mature enough to compete. Such a thing could set development back. I hope it doesn't.

 

However the up sides are tremendous if we can stick at it. As already mentioned, we have primary schools playing mini tournaments before and at half-time of every home game, we've an under 13s local tournament, Champion Schools of course, plus the Scorpions under 16s side have so far beaten Salford, Widnes and London Broncos this season.

 

The future is looking bright, it's just long term.

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Well it played out quite badly in Bradford, it played out badly in Wakefield and Halifax, Oldham, Workington etc.

 

The point I'm making is about "growing the game" a point people make in which they say investment in a "ready made" SL club is not the way - evidence being Paris Crusaders, London, Gateshead etc. They say "bottom up" is the way.

 

But there is no evidence at all for this, those who choose to point to North Wales Crusaders forget the the money invested in Crusaders and the Superleague season awoke a big interest in fans and Crusaders - largely a Lancashire team. Was it 10,000 at the first game? It's 900 now. But hands up that is a contrived point, as contrived as using 900 as evidence they are well supported. Sheffield used to get 900 when they were top of CC1, promotion and several years has not seen their crowds spiral even though they continue to win.

 

You state that top down/bottom up is not mutually exclusive. it certainly used to be when Doncaster started out growing the game bottom up over 60 years ago, today as you say clubs recognise the need to be community clubs and strive to grow some "roots". In fact Superleague licenses require top down/bottom up.

 

And for me if you look at the Celtic Crusaders on this point you have to compare how the growth rate of budding professional young/welsh players, and how the growth rate of paying fans in the days when the investment was going in, compares against how South Wales Scorpions are growing their professional welsh player base and their crowds.

 

There is no comparison. 6,000 attended a Celtic Crusaders.v.Saints Superleague match and at the time I was told by a Swansea junior ARL poster how things were buzzing, now I look at Scorpions 393 average crowd and am told of the dificulties finding players and getting games on in the amateur/junior game.

 

I'm all for as many amateur/semi pro clubs as possible in as many places as possible, but I'm not one for giving them the responsibility to take the game forward, for that sets them up to fail. Heavy investment saw a big interest in RL in Wales, Paris, Gateshead and London when the money went in, when it didn't the interest waned, only the same as places in the heartlands.

 

So yes to the OP question Welsh people are as interested in RL as anyone including heartland fans.

 

It just takes a few million a year throwing at a Superleague club for a few generations to harness the interest into deep enough roots.

If someone wants to throw a few million quid at starting a top down RL club then more power to them although they will create problems in deciding which current SL clubs to ditch to make way for them.

However, as of now, bottom up club Hemel have been around for over 30 years. Skolars, another bottom up club have been around for at least 15 years. Sheffield, another bottom up club climbed to the top of the mountain top, as in SL, Challenge Cup winners. Like Bradford, Wakefield etc got into trouble, but the grassroots and love of their club that survived, resurrected them and now they are still here, dominating their league.

Now we also have Oxford, Gloucester, Crusaders, SWales and soon Coventry in existence and competing as bottom up clubs. Gateshead mark 2 are also still around amazingly but having lasted a lot longer than the one season wonder top down mark 1 version. Paris were another top down success story.

Now, let me concede that a SL club averaging 10,000 and making a profit in any of these or other areas would be great, there is absolutely no sign of this happening. Catalans and the soon to be anointed Toulouse are not from virgin RL areas so are outside the scope of this argument.

So, as Northern Sol postulates, why would we stop still and do nothing waiting for the multi million pound investor. Beggars can't be choosers

We now have 8 RL clubs, including 2 in Wales, playing, recruiting players, attracting fans to the outer reaches of the RL kingdom. The numbers might not be great and some may ultimately fail but this is 1000% more Rl expansion and development than has come from the assembled multitudes of venture capitalists waiting in the wings to start up SL clubs. The ones we have managed to find, namely at Crusaders, Paris and Gateshead crashed and burned and the remaining good Samaritan at London looks to have has enough.

So, hang in there Wales, you have two clubs, two survivors. Let's see where the future takes you.

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If someone wants to throw a few million quid at starting a top down RL club then more power to them although they will create problems in deciding which current SL clubs to ditch to make way for them.However, as of now, bottom up club Hemel have been around for over 30 years. Skolars, another bottom up club have been around for at least 15 years. Sheffield, another bottom up club climbed to the top of the mountain top, as in SL, Challenge Cup winners. Like Bradford, Wakefield etc got into trouble, but the grassroots and love of their club that survived, resurrected them and now they are still here, dominating their league.Now we also have Oxford, Gloucester, Crusaders, SWales and soon Coventry in existence and competing as bottom up clubs. Gateshead mark 2 are also still around amazingly but having lasted a lot longer than the one season wonder top down mark 1 version. Paris were another top down success story.Now, let me concede that a SL club averaging 10,000 and making a profit in any of these or other areas would be great, there is absolutely no sign of this happening. Catalans and the soon to be anointed Toulouse are not from virgin RL areas so are outside the scope of this argument.So, as Northern Sol postulates, why would we stop still and do nothing waiting for the multi million pound investor. Beggars can't be choosersWe now have 8 RL clubs, including 2 in Wales, playing, recruiting players, attracting fans to the outer reaches of the RL kingdom. The numbers might not be great and some may ultimately fail but this is 1000% more Rl expansion and development than has come from the assembled multitudes of venture capitalists waiting in the wings to start up SL clubs. The ones we have managed to find, namely at Crusaders, Paris and Gateshead crashed and burned and the remaining good Samaritan at London looks to have has enough.So, hang in there Wales, you have two clubs, two survivors. Let's see where the future takes you.

Just been reminded that 'Winners never quit and quitters never win'. See ms apt right now reading Keighleys post.

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Congratulations to North Wales Crusaders on winning the league, a small positive step in establishing the game in Wales.

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Congratulations to North Wales Crusaders on winning the league, a small posotive step in establishing the game in Wales.

RL seemed to be quite popular in Wrexham yesterday from what I saw. 1500 people watching a RL match in the third tier.

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Two good SL clubs in Wales (north and south) would draw 10k+ crowds each easy IMO. Crusaders got decent gates at Bridgend despite being a poor team.

I would love this to happen in 5-10 years. Maybe we'll see Cru make it back to SL soon at least

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more to the point, will rugby league ever be popular in England?

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