We, Rugby League supporters that is, don’t like getting carried away. Over-excitement is not in our normal behaviour range. And we don’t like to speak too soon for fear of tempting fate.
But the 14th World Cup has been good so far, hasn’t it? More than good. Very good. Maybe even better than that. The opening ceremony was good. The BBC chose not to show it, which was a pity as a lot of other people might have thought it was good too. England were good and might get better. Wales and Italy was good. Italy’s World Cup exploits are even getting coverage in newspapers in Italy, which is good.
Papua New Guinea and France played out a full-blooded match in Hull and the finish to the game was memorable for winners and losers, and neutrals alike. France will now play two group games in their own country amidst a mood of optimism. Their first game, this Friday, in Avignon has already sold out. Whichever way you look at it, that’s good.
Samoa were getting hammered by New Zealand but then scored four tries in 13 minutes to put the frighteners up the world champions. The stadium was full and everybody got full value for their tickets, because it was Rugby League at its best, which is a lot better than good.
The weather has not been great, but at least the big storm that was expected for the weekend waited until the opening weekend had finished before hitting the south of the country.
Can it last? In Rugby League-world it can’t, of course. Or can it? The World Cup Final, which was still 26 probably memorable games away as League Express went to press, is by all reports already well on the way to being a sellout. There are no tickets left for England v Ireland at Huddersfield on Saturday. Fiji-Ireland tonight, Monday, is a similar story, as it France-New Zealand in Avignon this Friday.
And to come in the next few days as well, Tonga versus Scotland and Cook Islands-USA.
It all sounds too good to be true.
Let the club Chairmen argue about this and that. We’ll just try and get on with enjoying Rugby League over the next few weeks.
That’ll be good!
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