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Toby Chopra

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Toby Chopra last won the day on October 2

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  1. England, Ireland, India (and possibly Pakistan, depending on how the rules adjudge pre-Partition birthplaces). Having googled the latter two, I was pleasantly surprised to discover both India and Pakistan have international rugby league teams, largely populated by heritage players from Sydney and northern England respectively. Although the fact that physically fit people under the age of 40 are playing for those two teams probably means I shouldn't be wating by the phone for a call-up...
  2. Agree with pretty much all of this. I think the season length is something we shouldn't forget, although in no way do I want to claim it's the biggest problem. It's just that on the back of all the other problems, it's the last straw. The SL players have been playing since January, and looked gone mentally. It's not rocket science, you flog players for an extra 6 weeks, they won't be in top shape by November. But as I say, the problems run a lot deeper than that, as others have pointed out.
  3. I don't think that would make much difference - people will be travelling from all over the South East to attend the games, not just the local area. It's the image, intent and content that will determine any follow-on bookings. The event pitch is 'come and watch the best international rugby at (one of) the capital's top grounds'. If anyone likes what they get in 2020, 2021 being a few miles down the road won't put anyone off. The fact that tickets will be immediately available for the semi at an equally iconic London ground (that's even more accessible for most) will do the trick. They've just got to make sure that every fan that attends in 2020 gets immediate and sustained follow up with a good offer for 2021. The World Cup organising team seem up to the task so all to play for.
  4. The derbies will be repeated - just not at Magic weekend. I fully expect to see Wigan-Saints and the Hull derby on the opening weekend like last year, as they both drew big crowds and high TV ratings and got the season off to a good start. The fixtures will then be repeated at Easter and in high summer. I expect this will be the annual pattern going forward, and Magic will have to get used to other combinations if it continues. As for Saints Salford match up, never underestimate Ian Watson, he'll have them there or thereabouts this season too.
  5. Guys, just don't bite. This was an incredible result and let's keep the chat on that and celebrate something special. There's plenty of time and places for the other stuff elsewhere. In fact, tell me more about this epic win! I had set the GB game to record, and woke up naturally about 7 so started watching then and sat through it all, much to my misery. So when I turned over to Tonga - which I didn't tape - there was only 15 mins left. I could tell I'd missed something special. Seems to me that what Kristian Woolf has done so well with is getting the team to play with real defensive discipline and organisation to go along with the flair. Quite an achievement given they've probably not had a whole lot of time together. But then that exposes why so many underestimate Tonga. People say they would run out of gas, play naively, not defend properly. Why would they? Almost all of their players play at the top professional level and have done all their careers. Taumalolo is a legend of the game. They know what they're doing and it'll be magnificent to see them at the World Cup here in 2021. Sell your kids for a ticket! *(And for those who say we should get them over next year... patience friends, we should resist the temptation to immediately flog anything good we find to death. They will be one of the big stores of the world cup, top seeded in their pool and we can start building the anticipation now. Take my money, Jon Dutton!)
  6. I presume it was because if NZ had played last - and the All Blacks were in the union final - then the stadium would have been almost empty as there would have been no time for people to get home for the final. Whereas presumably the hope is that the Tonga diaspora will prioritise the league match. In the end it didn't matter! I still wish GB/Eng had scheduled a home series, as it would have been the first time since 2011 wed have had a clear run at November Saturday afternoons without union TV competition. But we are where we are. I'll be setting the recorder and will watch it a soon as I wake up. GB by 6, I reckon.
  7. What are the terrible consequences if it fails? Like Toronto, there'd be a smattering of negative publicity, and then everyone would move on. No money already in the game would be lost. To be honest, it's the failure of heartland clubs that potentially causes systemic damage.
  8. Almost any Brexit deal that gets agreed - and most likely even no deal - includes provisions for existing GB citizens in EU and existing EU citizens in GB to fully maintain all the rights they have now, in law. If the RFL tried to categorise existing players as 'foreign' they'd be open to a pretty robust legal challenge. So for existing players I doubt there'll be any problem. What could be an issue is younger French players, who currently have the right to come over and have a season or two in NCL or L1, while working basic jobs.This won't likely be as easy and this is something that is pretty unique to RL. The RFL structure is the preeminent structure in the Northern Hemisphere and need to be able to be open to continental players, as ultimately the UK game be fits from that.
  9. The GB tour is a pointless and potentially loss making aberation that does indeed illustrate the lack of imagination and strategic thinking among many of those in charge. That said, let's not kid ourselves that sending England down under on the same tour would have produced wildly different results. It wouldn't. Yes, part of the reason the tour might fail is becasue the Aussies rejected it, but at least in part that's becasue they're committing to regularly play their own tournament, the Oceania Cup. Not great for us, but great for southern Hemisphere international rugby league, so it's not all negative. Aditionally, there ARE things to get excited about. The World 9s was great, it needs to be more than every 4 years and needs to come up here v soon too. The players seemed to enjoy it and it only takes up 1 week, including prep. But the big one is the World Cup. We finally have a fixed 4 year cycle that even the Aussies are committed to, and the 2021 tournament here looks like being the best organised and promoted one ever. It's going to be fantastic. So we do have things to look forward to and the game's number 1 priority is to get the 2025 tournament locked down so we can build on what I expect to be a really successful 2021 event.
  10. Not criticising at all the Geordies' current fantastic efforts, but what does Newcastle have that London as a whole doesn't already? The capital has two professional teams, a fair number of community clubs and programs, and a functional pathway that links the two that has produced Superleague players. Outside the northern heartland, it's the best area for RL in the country. What London doesn't have is a commercially sucessful SL team pulling 8-9k+ a week - and despite being a southerner I'm afraid I agree with the previous poster here, I don't think it's ever going to happen as the London sports market in general, and the 'professional club rugby' market in particular is saturated. Marwan should spend his money elsewhere.
  11. Salford just about weathered the storm, and then cut out the mistakes. Then they could show what they had, and they look dangerous. They'll believe they can do this, but they can't afford to gift saints all that territory again, error free football needed in the second half.
  12. I know we've been around this block a load of times but... the problem isn't that they aren't backing GB long term, but that it was brought back at all. For a whole load of structural reasons, England will be the main rugby league identity for the RFL for the foreseeable future. Therefore it makes sense for them to develop it as much as they can, particularly ahead of the world cup, which is such a defining moment for our game. They barely have the resources to promote one identity, let alone two, so it's no surprise GB will be a flash in the pan. But we are where we are, and I'll still enjoy the games, and I do like the merch.
  13. Head = Saints Heart = Salford I said the same before the Wigan Salford semi and heart came out on top then, so here's hoping history repeats itself. Nothing against Saints, I think Holbrook has brought so much to Superleague over the last 2 1/2 years. His team have set a professional standard that has forced the others to keep up, with an attractive style of play to boot. In some ways it would be a travesty for him to depart without winning any (proper) silverware. But this Salford team is a special story that'll long be remembered if they go all the way. With the impending departures it's now or never, and I hope they get it done on Saturday night. Can't wait.
  14. Fantastic performance by Fev, they were switched on right from the off and played to their limit. For a few minutes in the second half, they glimpsed the promised land. Ryan Carr is a hell of a coach and I hope we can keep him in the British game. For Toronto, well, pressure does funny things, and I did wonder whether they were going to blow it again with all the errors, but once the dam broke, they relaxed and took it home. So this weird and wild ride is still going, who knows how far it will go and when/if it will end. Whatever happens, time for Elstone to stop being such a grumpypants and show some excitement about the Wolfpack and make the most of the publicity boost of their arrival next year. I suspect they've got some big names up their sleeve.
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