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Wolford6

Wigan Investing in Welsh Rugby League

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The academy players will either go to Skolars or Hemel or, if they are outstanding SL clubs will snap them up. After all the only RU outlet in London is Harlequins ?

Saracens are back in London, have no hangups about looking to RL for talent, and can offer far better career prospects than pretty much any Rugby League club (apart from, maybe, the very top SL clubs). 

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Saracens are back in London, have no hangups about looking to RL for talent, and can offer far better career prospects than pretty much any Rugby League club (apart from, maybe, the very top SL clubs). 

 

London Irish play in Reading, but they're based around Surrey. We've lost quite a few youth players to them over the years, including an England youth international and we almost lost another few last winter, including Caton Brown. They'd be snooping around the academy and are a massive threat. 

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For all the "Broncos generate interest in RL in London" mantra being repeated ad nasuem here, you'd think there would be some evidence to back it up.

 

As any teacher worth their salt will tell you, the enthusiastic students and/or the gifted students will always aspire to the top, to the elite.  Without that aim they can drift or choose a less suitable path.  I am sure you are not unaware that professional clubs don't run junior teams.  There is no Saints under 8s team for example.  All the amateur clubs in St Helens run under 8s teams.  Saints scout and/or have players recommended to them and they come for trials, maybe are taken on the scholarship programme or their under 16s team (since I think the under 15s was abandoned SL wide when the under 21s were?  Or was it the under 16s that was abandoned? One of those age groups was abandoned anyway). 

 

If all a player wants is to play rugby league socially then the local amateur team is fine.  However, for those players who aspire to play rugby league professionally, to have no culturally and geographically relevant rugby league club at the elite level to aspire to will be detrimental both to those players and the sport as a whole.  And it's no good saying that northern teams will pick them up.  I know that the Sussex Merlins, for example, have been trying to contact northern Superleague clubs for weeks now as they have some interesting players but they haven't even had a return email.  Northern clubs, sadly, do not want to know, not least because they have lots of available talent in the north but also because they are invariably too blinkered to consider that actually there maybe southern players who are more talented than their northern counterparts and sending a reply email may actually be worthwhile.

 

If there was another Superleague club in the south of England then losing the Broncos wouldn't be so much of a problem (although obviously the more, the merrier).  But them being the only elite level club in a region containing millions of people means that if they are lost then I think the gap will be too great and potential will be lost to the sport.

 

There is also, of course, another angle to this: we struggle for England players in certain positions.  How do any of us know that a brilliant England centre isn't at present languishing down south because there is no way of raising his profile? 

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Northern clubs, sadly, do not want to know, not least because they have lots of available talent in the north but also because they are invariably too blinkered to consider that actually there maybe southern players who are more talented than their northern counterparts and sending a reply email may actually be worthwhile.

 

I look forward to the usual suspects whining when Southern players like Sarge, Caro, Channing etc are keeping out Northern players from playing!

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Well then it's safe to say you don't have a clue what you're talking about.

 

Exhibit A: November 2013. London Broncos still unable to say whether the club will still be in SL for 2014, or even in existence. London Broncs youth players Mason Caton Brown, Oscar Thomas and Saeed Agboke join London Irish on trial due to the situation at Broncos. Broncos survive and Caton-Brown (already a SL player at that point) and Agboke return, in order to stay with the club. However Oscar Thomas, along with Harry Little who is now at Nottingham Uni playing RU, are lost to the Broncos and RL in general. 

 

I'd like to know why you think that situation won't occur again and again. Union will be celebrating the loss of top flight RL in the area, sadly though so called RL fans will be celebrating even more. 

 

Well I asked the question and as you took the time to give the answer and debate a little with the naysayers. I have to thank you very much indeed for an informative view.

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As any teacher worth their salt will tell you, the enthusiastic students and/or the gifted students will always aspire to the top, to the elite.  Without that aim they can drift or choose a less suitable path.  I am sure you are not unaware that professional clubs don't run junior teams.  There is no Saints under 8s team for example.  All the amateur clubs in St Helens run under 8s teams.  Saints scout and/or have players recommended to them and they come for trials, maybe are taken on the scholarship programme or their under 16s team (since I think the under 15s was abandoned SL wide when the under 21s were?  Or was it the under 16s that was abandoned? One of those age groups was abandoned anyway). 

 

If all a player wants is to play rugby league socially then the local amateur team is fine.  However, for those players who aspire to play rugby league professionally, to have no culturally and geographically relevant rugby league club at the elite level to aspire to will be detrimental both to those players and the sport as a whole.  And it's no good saying that northern teams will pick them up.  I know that the Sussex Merlins, for example, have been trying to contact northern Superleague clubs for weeks now as they have some interesting players but they haven't even had a return email.  Northern clubs, sadly, do not want to know, not least because they have lots of available talent in the north but also because they are invariably too blinkered to consider that actually there maybe southern players who are more talented than their northern counterparts and sending a reply email may actually be worthwhile.

 

If there was another Superleague club in the south of England then losing the Broncos wouldn't be so much of a problem (although obviously the more, the merrier).  But them being the only elite level club in a region containing millions of people means that if they are lost then I think the gap will be too great and potential will be lost to the sport.

 

There is also, of course, another angle to this: we struggle for England players in certain positions.  How do any of us know that a brilliant England centre isn't at present languishing down south because there is no way of raising his profile? 

 

And again, thank you for a very interesting post (as always).

 

I'd still be interested (anyone) on the view from South Wales. IIRC Swansea Jack used to say how the junior game was going so well when Celtic Crusaders were on the up. I just wonder how that compares today if anyone can tell us?

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Saracens are back in London, have no hangups about looking to RL for talent, and can offer far better career prospects than pretty much any Rugby League club (apart from, maybe, the very top SL clubs). 

 

I forgot to mention, but there's also London Scottish and Ealing in the RU Championship, which is also fully pro. That makes 24 pro Union teams in England, compared to just 12 for RL. 

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Well I asked the question and as you took the time to give the answer and debate a little with the naysayers. I have to thank you very much indeed for an informative view.

 

Thank you. I've said it many times before but no one seems to listen to me!

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And again, thank you for a very interesting post (as always).

 

I'd still be interested (anyone) on the view from South Wales. IIRC Swansea Jack used to say how the junior game was going so well when Celtic Crusaders were on the up. I just wonder how that compares today if anyone can tell us?

You may find your answer on the Wales Rugby League website.  If you click on the 'clubs' tab that will give you an idea as to the number of clubs at various levels in operation within Wales, although my knowledge of the geography of Wales is pretty damn poor so I couldn't tell you where most of the places are in Wales (how ignorant of me!):

 

http://www.walesrugbyleague.co.uk/

 

I've also been meaning to buy a copy of the new magazine that the Scorps are producing in conjunction with Wales Rugby League.  It has replaced the traditional match programme and is providing information on various clubs and RL related stuff in Wales.  Now that I've been reminded of it I think I'll contact WRL and ask how I get a copy as I can't find the relevant tweet on my timeline.

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Thank you. I've said it many times before but no one seems to listen to me!

 

They only hear what they want to hear.

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You may find your answer on the Wales Rugby League website.  If you click on the 'clubs' tab that will give you an idea as to the number of clubs at various levels in operation within Wales, although my knowledge of the geography of Wales is pretty damn poor so I couldn't tell you where most of the places are in Wales (how ignorant of me!):

 

http://www.walesrugbyleague.co.uk/

 

I've also been meaning to buy a copy of the new magazine that the Scorps are producing in conjunction with Wales Rugby League.  It has replaced the traditional match programme and is providing information on various clubs and RL related stuff in Wales.  Now that I've been reminded of it I think I'll contact WRL and ask how I get a copy as I can't find the relevant tweet on my timeline.

 

Thank you ever so much again, I think I need someone with enough knowledge to be able to comment on the rise of the junior game in Wales alongside the Celtic Crusaders, and whether the Celtic Crusaders demise  has had an effect. Has the loss of the Superleague club seen Junior RL go backwards, stay the same or go forwards??

 

The number of born and bred Welsh lads in SL seem to come from the Crusaders (short) era. Will that number stay the same, decline or rise despite Wales not having a SL clubs for talented RL kids to aspire to albeit a long way up the Motorways, Wigan await.....

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Thank you ever so much again, I think I need someone with enough knowledge to be able to comment on the rise of the junior game in Wales alongside the Celtic Crusaders, and whether the Celtic Crusaders demise  has had an effect. Has the loss of the Superleague club seen Junior RL go backwards, stay the same or go forwards??

 

The number of born and bred Welsh lads in SL seem to come from the Crusaders (short) era. Will that number stay the same, decline or rise despite Wales not having a SL clubs for talented RL kids to aspire to albeit a long way up the Motorways, Wigan await.....

I hope you find the answer to your question.

 

Meanwhile, I came across this on the Crusaders website; a project that definitely wasn't happening during the previous Crusaders incarnation:  http://www.northwalescrusaders.co.uk/street-rugby/

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Why haven't they shown any interest before then? The only reason LMS and Sarginson are playing up North, is because they were playing SL in London. It has nothing to do with Northern clubs scouting the region. I guarantee you neither of those two aforementioned players would be professional RL players without a SL team in London. 

They haven't shown an interest before because London lads weren't good enough even for the Broncos until recently, why would Wigan scout the region when Broncos were dependent on Aussie imports out of necessity?

 

Now it would be nice if a strong London club existed for such players to play for but they don't. You even admitted yourself that Broncos don't play this role because they are just too unstable. So what would be lost exactly?

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As any teacher worth their salt will tell you, the enthusiastic students and/or the gifted students will always aspire to the top, to the elite.  Without that aim they can drift or choose a less suitable path.  I am sure you are not unaware that professional clubs don't run junior teams.  There is no Saints under 8s team for example.  All the amateur clubs in St Helens run under 8s teams.  Saints scout and/or have players recommended to them and they come for trials, maybe are taken on the scholarship programme or their under 16s team (since I think the under 15s was abandoned SL wide when the under 21s were?  Or was it the under 16s that was abandoned? One of those age groups was abandoned anyway). 

 

If all a player wants is to play rugby league socially then the local amateur team is fine.  However, for those players who aspire to play rugby league professionally, to have no culturally and geographically relevant rugby league club at the elite level to aspire to will be detrimental both to those players and the sport as a whole.  And it's no good saying that northern teams will pick them up.  I know that the Sussex Merlins, for example, have been trying to contact northern Superleague clubs for weeks now as they have some interesting players but they haven't even had a return email.  Northern clubs, sadly, do not want to know, not least because they have lots of available talent in the north but also because they are invariably too blinkered to consider that actually there maybe southern players who are more talented than their northern counterparts and sending a reply email may actually be worthwhile.

 

If there was another Superleague club in the south of England then losing the Broncos wouldn't be so much of a problem (although obviously the more, the merrier).  But them being the only elite level club in a region containing millions of people means that if they are lost then I think the gap will be too great and potential will be lost to the sport.

 

There is also, of course, another angle to this: we struggle for England players in certain positions.  How do any of us know that a brilliant England centre isn't at present languishing down south because there is no way of raising his profile? 

That's all very well but the thing is that London Broncos have never recruited any Sussex Merlins players. London is just too far away from Sussex. Some people seem to think that Leeds to Manchester is a long way but everywhere from Northampton to Sussex is within half an hour of the Hive (or the Stoop for that matter).

 

All that we are losing with Broncos is potential, a potential that they have never delivered on at that. There never was a time when talented centres were discovered playing RL in Sussex (or even London) were recruited by Broncos and went on to win an England shirt. Broncos never were that side and probably never will be.

 

The reality is that the blinkered northern sides were the ones who recruited the few southern lads* that were England stars. The likes of Offiah were not overlooked just as Davies was not overlooked.

 

* I'm aware that a few Londoners have won caps under Broncos but they were never England stars

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And again, thank you for a very interesting post (as always).

 

I'd still be interested (anyone) on the view from South Wales. IIRC Swansea Jack used to say how the junior game was going so well when Celtic Crusaders were on the up. I just wonder how that compares today if anyone can tell us?

It's weaker than before Crusaders came along but still let's pretend that nobody played RL in Wales before Crusaders. Their arrival gave the game a small boost but their demise helped bring the game down below where it was when they were set up. Not that you ever really cared either way.

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Nobody played Rugby League in North Wales before 'Crusaders RL' came along, that much is very clear. There is now a North Wales as well as a South Wales Conference League and junior set up being created at North Wales .Certainly having a SL side taken away from down here in the South has led to a few with great potential, performing well in the academy set up, going to Union and stifled potential player development I can think of at least two playing locally, for Newport Gwent Dragons, Ross Wardle and Jamie Murphy at Ospreys. How many more of them would have made it to the top we will never know but in the fact of that short 4 years the team was based here, we have SL regulars in; Lloyd White, Elliot Kear, Ben/Rhys Evans, Ben Flower etc I think we could have achieved more by now, certainly I believe the national side could have achieved  more at the world cup on home soil, which was a big opportunity missed for us, and then all of this is self reinforcing

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Nobody played Rugby League in North Wales before 'Crusaders RL' came along, that much is very clear. There is now a North Wales as well as a South Wales Conference League and junior set up being created at North Wales .Certainly having a SL side taken away from down here in the South has led to a few with great potential, performing well in the academy set up, going to Union and stifled potential player development I can think of at least two playing locally, for Newport Gwent Dragons, Ross Wardle and Jamie Murphy at Ospreys. How many more of them would have made it to the top we will never know but in the fact of that short 4 years the team was based here, we have SL regulars in; Lloyd White, Elliot Kear, Ben/Rhys Evans, Ben Flower etc I think we could have achieved more by now, certainly I believe the national side could have achieved  more at the world cup on home soil, which was a big opportunity missed for us, and then all of this is self reinforcing

It's not entirely true that nobody played RL in North Wales. North Wales Coasters had a very long history. They were just never very good. But I'll grant you that the Wrexham days of Crusaders gave the sport a boost in North Wales in a way that it did not in South Wales.

 

One difference between Crusaders and Broncos is that Crusaders briefly looked like a side that a young ambitious lad would want to play for. Broncos haven't been that side for quite some time. Sadly when they were that side RL just wasn't developed enough in London for them to benefit.

 

I'll agree with you that Crusaders could have produced more SL players but they were rushed into SL before they were ready and the rest is history. It's not the so-called flatties that were responsible for that, it's the supposed expansionists. I say supposed because so little expansion has been achieved following their methods.

 

Now we don't have a SL side in Wales nor any realistic prospect of one so Wigan taking an interest is the best that we can realistically hope for.

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Certainly having a SL side taken away from down here in the South has led to a few with great potential, performing well in the academy set up, going to Union and stifled potential player development I can think of at least two playing locally, for Newport Gwent Dragons, Ross Wardle and Jamie Murphy at Ospreys. How many more of them would have made it to the top we will never know but in the fact of that short 4 years the team was based here, we have SL regulars in; Lloyd White, Elliot Kear, Ben/Rhys Evans, Ben Flower etc I think we could have achieved more by now..........

 

Again thank you very much indeed for that informed and experienced viewpoint. Very interesting.

 

For me the reality is it doesn't matter whether it's South Wales, Doncaster, London, The North East, Rochdale/Oldham or Cumbria, RL struggles without the stimulus of a decent Superleague club.

 

That's the informed view. Those who dream of the game growing stronger and stronger "roots" until Superleague clubs pop out of flowerbuds, are welcome to do so.

 

Good luck to RL in south Wales and I hope Wigan are a big enough name to capture the odd star from there.

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That's all very well but the thing is that London Broncos have never recruited any Sussex Merlins players. London is just too far away from Sussex. Some people seem to think that Leeds to Manchester is a long way but everywhere from Northampton to Sussex is within half an hour of the Hive (or the Stoop for that matter).

Sussex Merlins are closer to the Broncos than they are to Wigan or any of the northern teams though.  The Broncos, if they were a normal Superleague club anyway, would be the natural goal for any aspiring professional rugby league player down south.

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That's all very well but the thing is that London Broncos have never recruited any Sussex Merlins players. London is just too far away from Sussex. Some people seem to think that Leeds to Manchester is a long way but everywhere from Northampton to Sussex is within half an hour of the Hive (or the Stoop for that matter).

 

Probably because their under 9 section only started in 2010! Unless you're expecting some 13 year olds to be playing academy rugby right now, it will be a few years before any come through. Broncos are the only fully pro team in the South, so we cover everywhere from Hampshire, Sussex to Northampton. 

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Certainly having a SL side taken away from down here in the South has led to a few with great potential, performing well in the academy set up, going to Union and stifled potential player development I can think of at least two playing locally, for Newport Gwent Dragons, Ross Wardle and Jamie Murphy at Ospreys. How many more of them would have made it to the top we will never know but in the fact of that short 4 years the team was based here, we have SL regulars in; Lloyd White, Elliot Kear, Ben/Rhys Evans, Ben Flower etc I think we could have achieved more by now,

 

I've just looked for the Welsh Academy in the fixture lists and they don't appear in the SL U19 academy or the U20's championship. I can find an U16 academy which I assume is fed by the schools and junior clubs?

 

If that is what Wigan have patronage over (don't Leeds have patronage over Gloucester All Golds set up?)

then I assume the fundamental plan is to build on the Welsh Schools RL programme and get the best players to this team and convert this team to a U20 championship side in a couple of years so they run with more than one side and have a flow of players going through.

 

How many talents it will throw up, how many may turn to Union for a career as you indicate, and how many would move to Wigan and then "make it", I don't know, but I do really think that sadly Wigan are no substitute for Celtic Crusaders in terms of an apprenticeship and possible job being just down the road.

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I was wondering whether George Williams has any Welsh blood? If so they just need to find another half back and they'll have a strong side. Pugsley impressed me in pre season and I think Lloyd has talent, so we may 5/6 welsh qualified players on our books already.

If we can unearth the next Ellis, then suddenly the present as well as the future will look bright.

Lenagan has plenty of detractors but he does have a track record of pouring money into developing the game. Maybe Koukash could invest the money he can't spend on a marquee player into developing the game the 2 cities of Salford and Manchester?

 

Didnt take long for that man Koukash to get a mention! Salford have a healthy community programme and there is development work active in East Manchester and Trafford. Stretford High and a school in East Mcr (St Peters?) have been regular visitors on a match day in recent years. There are amateur clubs set up also. Somebody will be able to provide a far more factual answer than me.

 

Yes Koukash has money, but lets put it into context. What Salford have spent this season is a drop in the ocean compared to their close neighbours. Manchester City & Manchester United have probably spent more on prawn sandwiches.

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Sussex Merlins are closer to the Broncos than they are to Wigan or any of the northern teams though.  The Broncos, if they were a normal Superleague club anyway, would be the natural goal for any aspiring professional rugby league player down south.

Not really sure that's true. It's like saying that Beckham should naturally have been drawn to West Ham.

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Not really sure that's true. It's like saying that Beckham should naturally have been drawn to West Ham.

What has soccer got to do with it?  I'm talking about rugby league.  And rugby league has only one elite level team in the south of England at present.  Therefore, it is fairly logical to assume that they will look to Broncos, as that elite level team, as the team to play for.  Obviously that is said within a context of the Broncos having a competitive Superleague team, which of course at present they do not. 

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Probably because their under 9 section only started in 2010! Unless you're expecting some 13 year olds to be playing academy rugby right now, it will be a few years before any come through. Broncos are the only fully pro team in the South, so we cover everywhere from Hampshire, Sussex to Northampton. 

It was rather my point that you can't really use southern players in SL as a yardstick but it's only recently* that there have been any good enough. We can't really know whether the likes of Clubb, Sarginson or LMS would have ended up in the North West playing SL without Broncos. I suspect that if the RFL funds a London academy then we'll still some players "making it". They just aren't going to "make it" with Broncos.

 

 

* this obviously excludes the era when the likes of Offiah would convert from RU

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