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Can Rugby League ever succeed in Wales?

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Callum Walker looks at the history of Rugby League in Wales and asks whether it can ultimately succeed. Rugby League has a long if sporadic history in Wales. In 1907,

The post Can Rugby League ever succeed in Wales? appeared first on Total Rugby League.

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This is possibly one of the most negative articles written on the Welsh game.

Was the writer determined to write something negative about a non traditional Rugby League area?

Yes many of the facts are correct, at least we believe they are correct, especially about the early years but this article is so imbalanced, is without a satisfactory conclusion and has a number of inaccuracies.

For a start, yes there are many negatives but there are plenty of positives right now in Wales like the continuation of junior development, the 20 plus lads in Super League acadamies, the success at schools level with Cardiff's Glantaf school only ever losing one game in three years (same lads from year 7-9 now in year 10) and never being outscored on tries and the production of our own players for the full Wales side, lots more than Scotland and Ireland for example.

The Crusaders "disaster" produced tons of Welsh players and it was because of their work that we actually have a Wales side full of Welsh born players who won the European Championship two years ago. Wales' current failings as a nation is we don't have enough Super League players, something addressed in a statement by WRL recently which the writer has ignored.

Talking about the South Wales 1996 side, he said "the first home game played at Aberavon on 31 March 1996 attracted just 1,876 spectators" - In that 1996 Division Two season, it was one of the highest crowds - more than any crowd at Barrow, Bramley, Carlisle, Chorley, Doncaster, Prescot and York. In fact it was the league's seventh highest attendance of the season. It's League 1 level, not Super League and again the writer was looking for a negative where there wasn't one.

Plus this club held a successful double header at Cardiff Arms Park with South Wales v Carlisle being played before St Helens v Sheffield and attracting 6,708 fans. This was the 1996 season too, not 1995-96 and the club were given a Super League franchise for 1997 pending acceptance from the then current SL clubs. The clubs decided not to admit South Wales despite a solid business plan so there was a set-back. The South Wales club legacy became Cardiff Demons which created the strong community set up in the south which has produced a number of Welsh international players, again ignored by the writer.

He states the Scorpions' attendances "did not improve" after getting over 500 to their first ever game, a win over Workington Town. Well research again shows that they got 625 for the next game which was against London Skolars, 798 v Hunslet, 625 v Oldham, 623 v Blackpool and 890 v Swinton. Average attendance for 2010 was 631 as the Scorpions reached the play-offs and their coach Anthony Seibold, now head coach at South Sydney Rabbitohs, won Coach of the Year. Well promoted on the road games in Cardiff in future seasons produced crowds of 1025 and 925.

There's even the headings - Crusaders were obviously not "The Last Stand" as clubs are still going. He finalises with "Will Wales Ever Succeed?" without even an attempt to answer it properly.

Plus there are no mentions of North Wales Crusaders' promotion years and their League 1 Cup and Northern Rail Bowl wins as well as their successful attempts to produce high attendances, amongst the best in League 1 as well as their outstanding travelling support.

Yes we all know there are and always have been issues in Wales and people always look to address them, just like in many areas of the north of England which I won't name now.

But we've developed players like Regan Grace who started in the acadamies in South Wales aged 13, and those like Ben Flower, Gil Dudson, Lloyd White, Elliot Kear etc who also came through local youth sides. 

The article is imbalanced, looking for negatives and inaccurate in places which is my issue. It needed positives and paragraphs about the many successes happening in the country right now. The fact that it didn't, makes it a very poor piece of work.

Edited by Cardiff Cymru
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I feel Wales can succeed just needs a little investment . At amateur level Wales do very well , its a shame England pulled out of amateur home nations. I would like to see two teams in north Wales one based at Wrexham and the other in Deeside  

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I think that the game can certainly succeed in Wales. It has just always lacked the necessary funding and support to do so. 

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3 minutes ago, Damien said:

I think that the game can certainly succeed in Wales. It has just always lacked the necessary funding and support to do so. 

Exactly right and success isn't necessarily 2 full time SL clubs either. History has shown that full time club Rugby of both codes have created numerous basket cases and financial meltdowns. 

Funded pathways and game-wide support is the future for growth.

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15 minutes ago, Coffs said:

Wales;

Working Class - check

Like 'rugby' - check

 

How can RL fail in Wales is the question.

The approach need to be rethought...bring in some of the Wolfpack people to help...no reason it can't only be successful but in a very large way.  Time to be open up to new ideas and innovative ways of marketing/thinking....I really believe the Welsh would take to it like ducks to water.

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1 minute ago, Kayakman said:

I really believe the Welsh would take to it like ducks to water.

1

 

What on earth gives you that opinion - did you read the article?! 

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4 hours ago, Cardiff Cymru said:

This is possibly one of the most negative articles written on the Welsh game.

Was the writer determined to write something negative about a non traditional Rugby League area?

Yes many of the facts are correct, at least we believe they are correct, especially about the early years but this article is so imbalanced, is without a satisfactory conclusion and has a number of inaccuracies.

For a start, yes there are many negatives but there are plenty of positives right now in Wales like the continuation of junior development, the 20 plus lads in Super League acadamies, the success at schools level with Cardiff's Glantaf school only ever losing one game in three years (same lads from year 7-9 now in year 10) and never being outscored on tries and the production of our own players for the full Wales side, lots more than Scotland and Ireland for example.

The Crusaders "disaster" produced tons of Welsh players and it was because of their work that we actually have a Wales side full of Welsh born players who won the European Championship two years ago. Wales' current failings as a nation is we don't have enough Super League players, something addressed in a statement by WRL recently which the writer has ignored.

Talking about the South Wales 1996 side, he said "the first home game played at Aberavon on 31 March 1996 attracted just 1,876 spectators" - In that 1996 Division Two season, it was one of the highest crowds - more than any crowd at Barrow, Bramley, Carlisle, Chorley, Doncaster, Prescot and York. In fact it was the league's seventh highest attendance of the season. It's League 1 level, not Super League and again the writer was looking for a negative where there wasn't one.

Plus this club held a successful double header at Cardiff Arms Park with South Wales v Carlisle being played before St Helens v Sheffield and attracting 6,708 fans. This was the 1996 season too, not 1995-96 and the club were given a Super League franchise for 1997 pending acceptance from the then current SL clubs. The clubs decided not to admit South Wales despite a solid business plan so there was a set-back. The South Wales club legacy became Cardiff Demons which created the strong community set up in the south which has produced a number of Welsh international players, again ignored by the writer.

He states the Scorpions' attendances "did not improve" after getting over 500 to their first ever game, a win over Workington Town. Well research again shows that they got 625 for the next game which was against London Skolars, 798 v Hunslet, 625 v Oldham, 623 v Blackpool and 890 v Swinton. Average attendance for 2010 was 631 as the Scorpions reached the play-offs and their coach Anthony Seibold, now head coach at South Sydney Rabbitohs, won Coach of the Year. Well promoted on the road games in Cardiff in future seasons produced crowds of 1025 and 925.

There's even the headings - Crusaders were obviously not "The Last Stand" as clubs are still going. He finalises with "Will Wales Ever Succeed?" without even an attempt to answer it properly.

Plus there are no mentions of North Wales Crusaders' promotion years and their League 1 Cup and Northern Rail Bowl wins as well as their successful attempts to produce high attendances, amongst the best in League 1 as well as their outstanding travelling support.

Yes we all know there are and always have been issues in Wales and people always look to address them, just like in many areas of the north of England which I won't name now.

But we've developed players like Regan Grace who started in the acadamies in South Wales aged 13, and those like Ben Flower, Gil Dudson, Lloyd White, Elliot Kear etc who also came through local youth sides. 

The article is imbalanced, looking for negatives and inaccurate in places which is my issue. It needed positives and paragraphs about the many successes happening in the country right now. The fact that it didn't, makes it a very poor piece of work.

Absolutely spot on.

I'd like to add that here in North Wales there is a terrific amount of work going on to encourage a player pathway. North Wales Crusaders now have u16s, U18s a wheelchair RL team and are starting a minis section for 2018. There is also a new North Wales Origin team started last season and there is some fantastic work going on at Flintshire Falcons. 

The writer seems to have totally overlooked any positive aspects and is rather dismissive of the successes we have had in Wales.

A rather badly research article in all. 4/10. Must do better!

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Just now, Coffs said:

 

What on earth gives you that opinion - did you read the article?! 

I played Union against alot of Welsh sides in my younger days...Aber Avon was my favourite, especially doing the Zulu Warrior with the entire team...with such high quality basic building material how could you not construct a magnificent tower...RL missed the boat on this but it needs a new design plan....build it and the Welsh boys will come (especially if there is a dollar in it for them!)  

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4 minutes ago, Kayakman said:

The approach need to be rethought...bring in some of the Wolfpack people to help...no reason it can't only be successful but in a very large way.  Time to be open up to new ideas and innovative ways of marketing/thinking....I really believe the Welsh would take to it like ducks to water.

If you can persuade Mr. Perez to come over to North Wales and give us some tips or even better an injection of funds we'd be ever so grateful. I think Wolfpack is a great model, we have an enthusiastic set of fans and some great ideas; if we could have the money to promote the game and get more people watching we could be the next Toronto 

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1 minute ago, gogledd said:

Absolutely spot on.

I'd like to add that here in North Wales there is a terrific amount of work going on to encourage a player pathway. North Wales Crusaders now have u16s, U18s a wheelchair RL team and are starting a minis section for 2018. There is also a new North Wales Origin team started last season and there is some fantastic work going on at Flintshire Falcons. 

The writer seems to have totally overlooked any positive aspects and is rather dismissive of the successes we have had in Wales.

A rather badly research article in all. 4/10. Must do better!

 

To be fair, the article was little more than bullet points covering 110 years. You can't really offer up relatively minor successes that have only happened quite recently as a corollary to over a century of failure. 

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1 minute ago, Coffs said:

 

To be fair, the article was little more than bullet points covering 110 years. You can't really offer up relatively minor successes that have only happened quite recently as a corollary to over a century of failure. 

A fair comment but I'd rather concentrate on the positive side of things. The article was a hatchet job and didn't give any credence to any positive things that Wales RL have achieved. 

It seems a constant problem with RL (Wolfack excluded) that people would rather concentrate on the negative rather than trying to build on the positive.

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1 minute ago, gogledd said:

A fair comment but I'd rather concentrate on the positive side of things. The article was a hatchet job and didn't give any credence to any positive things that Wales RL have achieved. 

It seems a constant problem with RL (Wolfack excluded) that people would rather concentrate on the negative rather than trying to build on the positive.

 

It's an article published on TRL.com, I hardly think it's going to affect any neutrals wondering if they should watch RL in Wales! 

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7 minutes ago, gogledd said:

If you can persuade Mr. Perez to come over to North Wales and give us some tips or even better an injection of funds we'd be ever so grateful. I think Wolfpack is a great model, we have an enthusiastic set of fans and some great ideas; if we could have the money to promote the game and get more people watching we could be the next Toronto 

I'll pass on the message next time I see him...your journey has just begun...keep the faith!

P.S.  I loved that Scorpions name also ...they should never have dropped it...long ride the Crusaders!

Wales rugby league rises like a phoenix from the Ashes!

It begins....

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3 minutes ago, gogledd said:

A fair comment but I'd rather concentrate on the positive side of things. The article was a hatchet job and didn't give any credence to any positive things that Wales RL have achieved. 

It seems a constant problem with RL (Wolfack excluded) that people would rather concentrate on the negative rather than trying to build on the positive.

Yep imagine if those SL clubs invested that £45k parachute payment into development in Wales, supporting a full expanded academy, development officers and a draft system for talented youngsters to link with top clubs here and in Australia? 

My view is it doesn't need to be SL in Wales, just a will to collaboratively work with the rich potential there.

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I think we need to place a Welsh side in SL and really support it. Were the Crusaders really a disaster? The crowds  were not bad if you compare to the Welsh Top 14 clubs. If the club was helped financially through the first 5+ years we could still have a Welsh SL club averaging 5k and probably much better participation numbers.

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6 minutes ago, Coffs said:

 

It's an article published on TRL.com, I hardly think it's going to affect any neutrals wondering if they should watch RL in Wales! 

Probably not but it doesn't exactly attract them either. I can't change what happened in 1907 onwards, I can only try to promote my club and my country, encourage people in my area to get involved and try to make Rugby League as attractive as possible in Wales. 

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4 minutes ago, gogledd said:

Probably not but it doesn't exactly attract them either. I can't change what happened in 1907 onwards, I can only try to promote my club and my country, encourage people in my area to get involved and try to make Rugby League as attractive as possible in Wales. 

 

"Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it" - Santayana

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1 minute ago, Mattrhino said:

I think we need to place a Welsh side in SL and really support it. Were the Crusaders really a disaster? The crowds  were not bad if you compare to the Welsh Top 14 clubs. If the club was helped financially through the first 5+ years we could still have a Welsh SL club averaging 5k and probably much better participation numbers.

Trouble is Matt it was run by a couple of bandits, and nobody would invest with those two sharks in charge. As with a lot of clubs we've suffered because of a couple of shysters. Once the SL club folded we have had to start from scratch - we are still learning but keen to get Welsh players into our side, or developed by a bigger club if they are good enough. Either Way should result in a better player pool for Wales RL to select from.

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2 minutes ago, Coffs said:

 

"Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it" - Santayana

Ha ha! I bet you're great fun at parties! 

We can learn but no need to be negative all the time. We can learn from our positives too!

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3 minutes ago, gogledd said:

Ha ha! I bet you're great fun at parties! 

We can learn but no need to be negative all the time. We can learn from our positives too!

If the game gets a higher international profile , with chances to travel to exotic foreign lands where they serve craft beers and there is a hotdog gun, the Welsh lads will attend!

Edited by Kayakman
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1 minute ago, gogledd said:

Ha ha! I bet you're great fun at parties! 

We can learn but no need to be negative all the time. We can learn from our positives too!

 

 

It's got nothing to do with being negative or being positive, it's about being real. RL had a free run at 'rugby' in Wales for a century and it failed dismally. I really don't think the odds have improved now that the best young 'rugby' players can earn (more) money playing RU.

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3 minutes ago, Kayakman said:

If the game gets a higher international profile , with chances to travel to exotic foreign lands where they serve craft beers and there is a hotdog gun, the Welsh lads will attend!

We (North Wales Crusaders) were rather upset that we didn't get to play Toronto away last season. We had big plans for a 5 day trip. Same happened with Toulouse the year before... a shame as we have good travelling support. Best of luck in 2018 - I'll be keeping a close eye on progress... and dont forget to tll Mr. Perez to send plenty of money!

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