Sport is all about winning and losing, and the contrast between both was plain to see at Wrexham on Sunday afternoon, as Wales’ chances of qualifying from their World Cup group ended.
On the other hand, the mood of the USA camp could only be described as one of elation and it would be nice to think that on the back of their amazing campaign so far, the growing domestic competition Stateside will receive a major boost.
As we know, this tournament is not solely about results, but it sure helps if you’re winning, or drawing in the case of Scotland and Italy.
It will be a while before we can judge how effective the World Cup has been in stimulating the growth of our sport across the world.
In the UK the long-term planning that has gone into the tournament has already paid dividends in terms of bringing new spectators to the game. Anybody who was at Bristol last Wednesday night will be aware that almost all the crowd was made up of fans, most of them new to the game, from the southwest and Wales. It was perfect timing to strengthen nascent professional club, University of Gloucestershire All Golds, and we are confident the Rugby Football League already has measures in place to capitalise on the heightened interest.
West Cumbria staged two games, and an aggregate crowd of 15,000 attended. We hope both Workington Town and Whitehaven will see a dividend over the coming year.
Even in France, despite the national team being given a harsh lesson by the Kiwis, there was huge progress on the back of a match that was a sell-out weeks before it was staged.
The big crowd was enthused by the brilliance of the defending world champions and also by the efforts of their local heroes, cheering and clapping as the gifted Shaun Johnson popped over the last of his eight goals after the final hooter sounded
It was heart-warming stuff on the back of similar uplifting nights in Warrington, Rochdale, Workington and Bristol.
And we’ve got four more weeks of the World Cup to come.
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