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owls

Will Rugby League ever be popular in Wales/

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Very good John. There has been some ###### talked throughout this thread, especially the bit about Wigan "helping" Scorpions. Talk to any Scorpions supporters, players. ex players and staff who are not paid by Wigan and they will tell you that they wish Wigan would leave them alone! PS I live in Salford but have supported Crusaders since Celtic Crusaders first ever league game and have watched most amateur sides in South Wales as well. As for where the game should be played in South Wales - Cardiff people wont go to Swansea and Swansea people won't go to Cardiff. I have watched about a dozen games on Neath and definitely would not play it there. I would place my team in Pontypridd, just at the bottom of the Rhondda valley where the people are sport mad.

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The question could have been asked of football in the late 90's, i.e. will football ever be popular in Wales?

 

The two biggest clubs have been around for over 100 years and hence plenty of time to build support.

 

In the late 90's Swansea averaged around 3,500 fans, even below 3000 for one year. Throughout the 90's they hardly got past 5000 often.

 

In late 90's Cardiff averaged around 3,600 plus dropped to below 3000 at a point in 91, with below 4000 in 6 of the 90's years.  

 

Now that they have had a period of success and achieved Premier League status they both average around 22,000. (Cardiff capacity is 26,000 and Swansea close to 22,000).   Now they have the premier league monies coming in they look to invest to increase stadium capacity and other to maximise the opportunity afforded them.

 

For me I would always compare SL with the Football League Championship and League one, etc, which is where Swansea and Cardiff where before recent promotions.

 

So we have to be realistic in what level of attendance can be achieved.    The key is identifying what the potential is and measuring against that.   I would not expect given the demographics and competition that 10,000 will be easily achieved.  To get mid 3000's would be pretty good given the above attendances pattern for the the two football clubs whilst in football league.

 

It also shows that success is the major ingredient to gain the momentum - I guess the whole chicken and egg question....

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Very good John. There has been some ###### talked throughout this thread, especially the bit about Wigan "helping" Scorpions. Talk to any Scorpions supporters, players. ex players and staff who are not paid by Wigan and they will tell you that they wish Wigan would leave them alone! PS I live in Salford but have supported Crusaders since Celtic Crusaders first ever league game and have watched most amateur sides in South Wales as well. As for where the game should be played in South Wales - Cardiff people wont go to Swansea and Swansea people won't go to Cardiff. I have watched about a dozen games on Neath and definitely would not play it there. I would place my team in Pontypridd, just at the bottom of the Rhondda valley where the people are sport mad.

In my opinion the Wigan link could work but there's been no consistency in who's coming down.

We were discussing options if it were to move from Neath on the team bus on the way home from Wrexham, Pontypridd was a popular choice.

Six of yesterday's side were barely 18-19 years old, that added to the talent in the Under 16 side means we could have a bright future but only if we can ensure these youngsters retain Rugby League as their sport of choice.

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Some good points on this thread.  When Crusaders RL folded due to the financial ineptitude of the two owners and the club had to withdraw its SL application it was the fans who gathered together to "Save the Cru".  In discussions with the RFL in forming North Wales Crusaders, the fans were adamant that we wanted a club that we could run within our budget. 

 

For the last two seasons we have been able to achieve that, and set out realistic targets in #mission2013; targets for attendance levels and what was achievable on the playing field. As has already been stated we have a wheelchair RL side formed this year and have started a North Wales Crusaders U15s which will develop to U15s and U16 next year.

 

I don't think we quite met our attendance target but I don't think we were that far off. All the players had  sponsors this year - a major success. And our on field achievements speak for themselves - Northern Rail Bowl champions, 100% winning home record and Championship 1 Champions.  Bottom up growth for me every time.

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In my opinion the Wigan link could work but there's been no consistency in who's coming down.

We were discussing options if it were to move from Neath on the team bus on the way home from Wrexham, Pontypridd was a popular choice.

Six of yesterday's side were barely 18-19 years old, that added to the talent in the Under 16 side means we could have a bright future but only if we can ensure these youngsters retain Rugby League as their sport of choice.

The Wigan link will work, just maybe not in simply dropping in players for the odd game for the Scorpions.

Keeping the U16 talent in RL is of paramount importance for the future of the game and to develop 'popularity' in RL.

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It will work for Wigan. When players are told that they are playing and then get told they are not, after a phone call from Wigan, they tend to get a bit miffed and maybe even leave!

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Wales were to Rugby League as to what New Zealand was and in my eye's as in reality Wales (as well as New Zealand) should of came over to Rugby League in the first place.

Find it a sad justification that the taff's and Kiwi lot still went with the RFU as now the RFU premiership etc is strong yet the Welsh and Kiwi club game is struggling and the English RfU don't give a ######.

 

BTW the Wales Rugby League team of 1995 were the better team then the Union counterpart's.

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Some good points on this thread.  When Crusaders RL folded due to the financial ineptitude of the two owners and the club had to withdraw its SL application it was the fans who gathered together to "Save the Cru".  In discussions with the RFL in forming North Wales Crusaders, the fans were adamant that we wanted a club that we could run within our budget. 

 

For the last two seasons we have been able to achieve that, and set out realistic targets in #mission2013; targets for attendance levels and what was achievable on the playing field. As has already been stated we have a wheelchair RL side formed this year and have started a North Wales Crusaders U15s which will develop to U15s and U16 next year.

 

I don't think we quite met our attendance target but I don't think we were that far off. All the players had  sponsors this year - a major success. And our on field achievements speak for themselves - Northern Rail Bowl champions, 100% winning home record and Championship 1 Champions.  Bottom up growth for me every time.

 

I'm really glad that NW Crusaders are now starting to get a bit of success and doing some excellent things in terms of community development. My one fear has been "are they spending more than they can afford?" If you have set realistic budgets that the club can sustain then that does provide some reassurance. We've seen too often in RL, in the heartlands as well as development areas, buying success then a couple of years down the line admitting they're skint. Glad to know that shouldn't happen in Wrexham.

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It will work for Wigan. When players are told that they are playing and then get told they are not, after a phone call from Wigan, they tend to get a bit miffed and maybe even leave!

I didnt mean it would work in that way CR.

I would say that Wigan's link with Scorpions, whilst allowing DR players to get some game time is not even close to what they really are in it for. Players naturally would get miffed if left out but look at yesterday's game and all the lads from South Wales that played.

The real way it is 'working' is the input of Wigan and their coaching methods and resources here. for Wigan they get the pick of South Wales talent eg Bradley Mais.

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I'm really glad that NW Crusaders are now starting to get a bit of success and doing some excellent things in terms of community development. My one fear has been "are they spending more than they can afford?" If you have set realistic budgets that the club can sustain then that does provide some reassurance. We've seen too often in RL, in the heartlands as well as development areas, buying success then a couple of years down the line admitting they're skint. Glad to know that shouldn't happen in Wrexham.

It wasn't us who came up with the title "Big Spending Crusaders"...and our finances were robustly defended by our CEO in League Express.  We had the same money from the RFL as Hornets and Oldham this season and possibly a little more income from gate takings -  maybe we spent it well.

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It wasn't us who came up with the title "Big Spending Crusaders"...and our finances were robustly defended by our CEO in League Express.  We had the same money from the RFL as Hornets and Oldham this season and possibly a little more income from gate takings -  maybe we spent it well.

I don't know too much about NWC being so far away but listening to those who travel semi regularly from down here, they regularly tell me how well run the club is.

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It wasn't us who came up with the title "Big Spending Crusaders"...and our finances were robustly defended by our CEO in League Express.  We had the same money from the RFL as Hornets and Oldham this season and possibly a little more income from gate takings -  maybe we spent it well.

 

I've not seen the reference to "big spending", but it is common where success in RL is concerned, ie spending that isn't sustainable, Good to see that Cru are managing the finances well.

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I'm really glad that NW Crusaders are now starting to get a bit of success and doing some excellent things in terms of community development. My one fear has been "are they spending more than they can afford?" If you have set realistic budgets that the club can sustain then that does provide some reassurance. We've seen too often in RL, in the heartlands as well as development areas, buying success then a couple of years down the line admitting they're skint. Glad to know that shouldn't happen in Wrexham.

 

I think we heavily overestimate the level of spending in CC1. When Hunslet nearly folded they didn't have a bean literally, but a new impetus saw the club organise well and find a few quid. On the back of a few quid we were outright champions of CC1 with only two losses against much bigger clubs than we see in CC1.now.

 

Moving up to CC saw us struggle badly and we are back down. IMHO The idea anyone is big spending in the third tier, or can be without being gifted large sums isn't really there

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I've not seen the reference to "big spending", but it is common where success in RL is concerned, ie spending that isn't sustainable, Good to see that Cru are managing the finances well.

It was the Hornets coach who came up with the "big spending Crusader" tag in Rochdale's programme notes and press releases when we played at Spotland.  It has also been used by a few posters on the Hornets forum trying to wind-up Cru supporters. I think it was probably a reaction to Gary Middlehurst's move to North Wales.

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I do hope rl can grow in Wales. The national team needs a good world cup ,RL missed the boat in 1995 after world cup.I agreed with Bridgend being the ideal location in south Wales as its pretty central. Regions could also be the order of the day in wales with crusaders in clwyd . should the scorpions become Glamorgan scorpions and then may be a new team in Gwent . The Gwent Gladiators.With nine teams in championship one surely this could be the tenth team a like up with a super league club and some funding surely theres plenty of local union talent in the area they could attrach.With Newport county moving out of the Newport stadium may be that could be used for home venue.

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The Gwent Gladiators.With nine teams in championship one surely this could be the tenth team a like up with a super league club and some funding surely theres plenty of local union talent in the area they could attrach.

 

I think you're slightly behind the curve there. There are 10 teams in CC1, it's just that Coventry sat this season out as they weren't quite ready - but apparently are ok for the start of next season. So any 3rd Welsh team would either take CC1 to 11 teams, or would require the removal of a team already in it.  With only 9 teams playing this season the bye weekends have made things difficult enough as it is. Oxford went nearly 2 months without a home game, which didn't really help trying to keep the interested bystanders coming back. A league with an even number of teams can't come soon enough tbh. Cov will also mean that we've (Oxford) got Skolars, Hemel, Cov and GAG all within an hour (assuming Oldham get the other promotion spot for the sake of argument), which will maybe help grow some away support (which, from a standing start, has been an interesting sell "who wants to go to Gateshead next week?" "I'm not sure I'm going to the next home game yet")

 

However, from my pov, as a dyed in the wool union fan who lives within 2 minutes walk of Iffley Road and hasn't missed a home game this season, I think this expansion lark is working ok.  Admittedly, I still struggle mentally with why they don't use the width of the pitch - rather than just running straight at each other - or contest the scrums but my first season of League has been positive enough to ensure there'll be a second, and a  membership, next year.

 

Having gone massively off topic there, well done Cru. I think they've been helped by relative proximity to the heartland for recruitment and reasonable travelling distances. I think that's what CC1 needs (short distances) - so that the new not-yet-die-hards can actually consider away games without turning their lives upside down, which would argue for a 1 more Welsh club maybe to make an axis of Scorps, GAG plus 1. Oxford ought to be ok the way the clubs are positioned next season, but it's going to be interesting for Coventry, who will be on a bit of a limb slightly too far for the clubs south of Oxford, and miles from the clubs in the north.

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The WIgan link up with the Scorpions may work with a change in playing relations and the availability/ selection of players, but the common belief with the fans on our messageboard is that they would prefer to go without it. The performance sunday against the champions elect North Wales Crusaders with a full South Wales 13 (plus 2 Welsh Qualified) and no Wigan players to me shows the club can compete with the best in championship 1 with our homegrown talent, as well as one of our old boys Christiaan Rets was in the Crusaders side. But for some errors in defence and the Middlehurst try which should have been ruled out for Crusaders it should have been closer. I think the fans we have need to see that local link if they are to get behind the club at this level. I would like to see the Crusaders bring through more North Wales born and bred players into their side of the required standard from a Wales perspective, rather than bringing in the readily available NCL and lower league talent across the boarder, but that is their right to choose who they play and get the best they can, offield their set up is the envy oof many championship sides and I am sure the playing front will bare fruit in the coming years.

The Wales u16 game on Friday against England at Taffs Well was also another closely fought contest, with pretty much a full Scorpions U16 for the home side.The junior development is definitely there, its a case of maintaining that development year in year out and continuing to open age level. The South Wales Conference could be better, but this season saw a competitive league for the first time in a few seasons. The World Cup is an ideal opportunity to get potential local backers on board who will support homegrown Welsh sport and players. WIth two premier league football sides now, the local support and interest has exploded. The WRU side have done well and formed the backbone of one of the most successful Lions RU sides of all time. Welsh Rugby League needs to get on the bandwagon and extoll its vertues as a homespun Welsh success story especially now.

 

As an aside considering there are 80x more registered rugby union players in Wales than rugby league, in Cardiff I often referee U16 Rugby Union without a full 15 each side, let alone subs so using that to judge a sports success and development in Wales is not the most accurate barometer.

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I do believe Rugby League can become popular in Wales. The best chance it has, is to grow out from the heartlands, as it is with the Crusaders.

 

Our local airports are Liverpool and Manchester. Many (probably most Deesiders) watch Granada/BBC Northwest.

 

Wrexham is less than ¾'s of an hour away from Warrington Wolves, St.Helens and Wigan.

 

The combined population of Flintshire (all within ½ hour away) and Wrexham Borough, is a quarter of a million. I myself travel for ¾'s of an hour, at that distance we have a huge potential market.

 

In North Wales, what else do we have? One significant football team that is seen as Wrexham's, but all of us now have a Rugby team.

 

After we establish ourselves what next, maybe Mid Wales Monsters. Watch this space, there is a real opportunity here.

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Rob, you know me well, and you know that I want Rugby League to succeed in South Wales as much as anybody else. Nobody has travelled as much as me to support Rugby League in South Wales over the last 8 years, but I get really peeved with this obsession of Scorpions fans that Crusaders are somehow not as Welsh as Scorpions. Billy Sheen started and scored by the way and he is not Welsh. Your team are mainly Welsh out of necessity and not design. Do you really think that if Dave Clark had access to the players that Crusaders have brought in from England he would turn them away? Your team did you really proud on Sunday and I thought they deserved a lot better out of the game than they got. I wish you all the success in the world next season. As for the link with Wigan - they are "extracting the urine" out of your club and I suspect that you have access to the same channels I do so deep down, you know that. You proved on Sunday that you don't need Wigan so dump them, if you can afford to?, and I will have more respect for Scorpions.

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I do believe Rugby League can become popular in Wales. The best chance it has, is to grow out from the heartlands, as it is with the Crusaders.

 

Our local airports are Liverpool and Manchester. Many (probably most Deesiders) watch Granada/BBC Northwest.

 

Wrexham is less than ¾'s of an hour away from Warrington Wolves, St.Helens and Wigan.

 

The combined population of Flintshire (all within ½ hour away) and Wrexham Borough, is a quarter of a million. I myself travel for ¾'s of an hour, at that distance we have a huge potential market.

 

In North Wales, what else do we have? One significant football team that is seen as Wrexham's, but all of us now have a Rugby team.

 

After we establish ourselves what next, maybe Mid Wales Monsters. Watch this space, there is a real opportunity here.

 

Good to see optimism. I think your right their is huge potential.

 

BTW, its less than 40mins from Widnes Stobart stadium to the racecourse stadium to add to your list of not so far RL area's.  I think some forget how close you are to the RL strongholds. Although not sure how that particular helps at the moment but shows should be able to have reasonable number of visitors if ever get back to SL..... or maybe some may want to get down there for a world cup game.

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Relatively new to rugby league but it does puzzle me that the sport struggles to establish itself in a rugby mad country like Wales,

I applaud the efforts of the 2 CC1 teams and hope both go forward and prosper and maybe 1 day

 one of them  may become  a super league club,

a few years back there was applications from Cardiff and Swansea along with Gateshead to join

but obviously failed ,

imo  for a welsh club to be successfull  it has to be based in one of the 2 big cities of Wales rather than a small industrial town ,

anyone out there have any ideas,

 

Relatively new to rugby league but it does puzzle me that the sport struggles to establish itself in a rugby mad country like Wales,

I applaud the efforts of the 2 CC1 teams and hope both go forward and prosper and maybe 1 day

 one of them  may become  a super league club,

a few years back there was applications from Cardiff and Swansea along with Gateshead to join

but obviously failed ,

imo  for a welsh club to be successfull  it has to be based in one of the 2 big cities of Wales rather than a small industrial town ,

anyone out there have any ideas,

 

Rugby League has a higher profile in Wales than maybe in twenty five years......................................In Wales (I find it baffling that you describe the country as Rugby Mad as North Wales, Mid Wales and Anglesey are clearly not), Union has been Modernized to the point that once great clubs like Pontypool, Pontypridd, Tredegar, Llanelli, Neath, Swansea have become something else. We must avoid the destruction of heritage at all costs,

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Redjonn, yes I should of included Widnes.

 

The only reason I mentioned close Superleague clubs, was to demonstrate that contary to what some choose to believe, North Wales/Wrexham isn't hundreds of miles away in the Bristol channel.

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I think we heavily overestimate the level of spending in CC1. When Hunslet nearly folded they didn't have a bean literally, but a new impetus saw the club organise well and find a few quid. On the back of a few quid we were outright champions of CC1 with only two losses against much bigger clubs than we see in CC1.now.

 

Moving up to CC saw us struggle badly and we are back down. IMHO The idea anyone is big spending in the third tier, or can be without being gifted large sums isn't really there

 

Maybe you are back down because the club sold out completely to the DR scenario and the lack of team spirit and lack of a settled team and not knowing who is playing from one week to the next and with no adequate backups when SL players aren't available. 9 bonus points also suggests that, with a little luck, the team would have sneaked enough wins to survive.

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It was the Hornets coach who came up with the "big spending Crusader" tag in Rochdale's programme notes and press releases when we played at Spotland.  It has also been used by a few posters on the Hornets forum trying to wind-up Cru supporters. I think it was probably a reaction to Gary Middlehurst's move to North Wales.

 

Pretty hypocritical from a team who were tapping into the expensive recruits assembled by St. Helens. 

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Rob, you know me well, and you know that I want Rugby League to succeed in South Wales as much as anybody else. Nobody has travelled as much as me to support Rugby League in South Wales over the last 8 years, but I get really peeved with this obsession of Scorpions fans that Crusaders are somehow not as Welsh as Scorpions. Billy Sheen started and scored by the way and he is not Welsh. Your team are mainly Welsh out of necessity and not design. Do you really think that if Dave Clark had access to the players that Crusaders have brought in from England he would turn them away? Your team did you really proud on Sunday and I thought they deserved a lot better out of the game than they got. I wish you all the success in the world next season. As for the link with Wigan - they are "extracting the urine" out of your club and I suspect that you have access to the same channels I do so deep down, you know that. You proved on Sunday that you don't need Wigan so dump them, if you can afford to?, and I will have more respect for Scorpions.

Kenny. while I agree with your sentiment regarding Crusaders recruitment, I would add that our long term aim is to develop more local rugby league talent.  Unfortunately our U20s team folded for a number of reasons but I am glad to say that Alan Jones has recruited an U15s Crusaders side this season with aims to play in the north west divisions giving them extremely competitive games. His aim is to expand each year adding further youth teams - so perhaps running a U15s and U16 side next season as the teams develop.  If you look in our match programmes you will see that the Supporters Club are trying to recruit some help for Alan.

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League Express - Mon 10th April 2017

Rugby League World - April 2017