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Rugby league expansion - new lands or enemy territories?

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10 hours ago, kiwis 13 6 said:

Im from NZ and ive only briefly visited London & Edinburgh/Glasgow in the UK 5 years ago... really like to know more about the foot print of the game in the North of England. Is the game only popular in the towns and cities of the North where the well know Super League and Championship Clubs are? In Northern cities and towns of Lancashire, Yorkshire, Cumbria, Cheshire, Northern Lincolnshire and the North East that are not currently represented in Super League or the Championship like Runcorn, Chester, Preston, Lancaster, Morecambe, Blackpool, Carlisle, Scarborough, Middlesbrough, Grimsby, Scunthorpe, Rotherham, etc ? I know some of these places once had pro sides but whats the current level of awareness of the game in these areas, amateur participation, what level of causal support exists that for example would pay attention to the Super League grand final result or Ashes Series or World Cup?

 

Yes, pretty much.

It’s been my own experience while at two universities in the north of England (Liverpool and Manchester), and trips to other parts of the north where I didn’t see any RL presence. I was very active in playing fields in both cities, and I never saw anyone playing with a rugby ball (and these were vast playing fields).

RL historian Tony Collins in his RL podcast goes much further; in one podcast he gave an example to a guest of the lack of spread of the game, mentioning one northern town eight miles outside a RL town where RL has no profile.

I think the main reason there is no spillover from a RL town to the town next to it is because RL is not in mainstream culture, it has its own mini culture which is concentrated in the towns (and Leeds/Hull) where it originated. It hasn’t expanded beyond that for whatever reasons. 

For your last question, see the last RLWC final

http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/42191891/rugby-league-world-cup-the-final-hardly-anyone-seems-to-be-talking-about

Although there wasn’t that much mainstream interest, I believe the international game is still the way to attract others outside RL heartlands, be it only for international games. This applies to RU, which only generates interest for the six nations, RUWC. 

Rivalry aside, I’ve never understood why Aussies are so desperate to see the England RL team doing badly. A win for England may spur some more interest in the national team, which would benefit the game as a whole. Outside RL heartlands, Aussie RL players are unknown here, but an England RL team with a raised profile would have a knock on effect of other RL nationalities becoming known. Not too bright. When retired RL players from Oz come over here they have meet and greets in community centres, rather than appear on TV shows or sports news stations. 

Edited by DC77
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1 hour ago, RMBJ said:

The PTB is a restart so it's not an unreasonable conclusion provided you really are prepared to look through that RU prism objectively.

Would you regard a Union ruck as a restart? In theory it`s a contest for possession but the statistics show I think it`s around 90& of rucks are won by the team taking the ball in. In practice it`s overwhelmingly a contest over how quickly the ball can be played, just as in League. The difference is that Union commentators cover that contest and credit players with their work in it, while League commentators all but ignore it. The consequence being that the casual observer thinks the game has stopped and the ball is out of play during the tackle and ruck.

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39 minutes ago, DC77 said:

Yes, pretty much.

It’s been my own experience while at two universities in the north of England (Liverpool and Manchester), and trips to other parts of the north where I didn’t see any RL presence. I was very active in playing fields in both cities, and I never saw anyone playing with a rugby ball (and these were vast playing fields).

RL historian Tony Collins in his RL podcast goes much further; in one podcast he gave an example to a guest of the lack of spread of the game, mentioning one northern town eight miles outside a RL town where RL has no profile.

I think the main reason there is no spillover from a RL town to the town next to it is because RL is not in mainstream culture, it has its own mini culture which is concentrated in the towns (and Leeds/Hull) where it originated. It hasn’t expanded beyond that for whatever reasons. 

For your last question, see the last RLWC final

http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/42191891/rugby-league-world-cup-the-final-hardly-anyone-seems-to-be-talking-about

Although there wasn’t that much mainstream interest, I believe the international game is still the way to attract others outside RL heartlands, be it only for international games. This applies to RU, which only generates interest for the six nations, RUWC. 

Rivalry aside, I’ve never understood why Aussies are so desperate to see the England RL team doing badly. A win for England may spur some more interest in the national team, which would benefit the game as a whole. Outside RL heartlands, Aussie RL players are unknown here, but an England RL team with a raised profile would have a knock on effect of other RL nationalities becoming known. Not too bright. When retired RL players from Oz come over here they have meet and greets in community centres, rather than appear on TV shows or sports news stations. 

You cover the cultural aspects of this very well. I would add that the game on the field is more complex than the culture allows for. When Granada covered games in the early nineties with the Clive Tyldesley-Brian Smith commentary team, it opened my eyes. I realised I`d been watching RL for over a decade without being  anywhere near a full appreciation of it. David Howes put it well when he described how with Soccer four people can put their coats down as goals and produce a viable game. In similar circumstances with RL only a skills and drills session would be possible, you couldn`t get anywhere near simulating a game. Soccer will always have this demotic advantage.

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6 hours ago, unapologetic pedant said:

Would you regard a Union ruck as a restart? In theory it`s a contest for possession but the statistics show I think it`s around 90& of rucks are won by the team taking the ball in. In practice it`s overwhelmingly a contest over how quickly the ball can be played, just as in League. The difference is that Union commentators cover that contest and credit players with their work in it, while League commentators all but ignore it. The consequence being that the casual observer thinks the game has stopped and the ball is out of play during the tackle and ruck.

The RU ruck is more unlike a RL PTB than a RU scrum is unlike a RL one. There's no comparison whatsoever.

Edited by RMBJ

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On 14/02/2020 at 07:29, RMBJ said:

The RU ruck is more unlike a RL PTB than a RU scrum is unlike a RL one. There's no comparison whatsoever.

When the Northern Union decreed that "henceforward the tackled player shall be permitted to regain his feet to play the ball" (not sure if that`s verbatim), this didn`t alter many of the basic principles of the tackle and ruck. Today a League tackler has to come round the mark and be square just as a Union tackler has to come round and in from the back foot if either are ahead of the ball when the tackle`s complete. A flop in League is similar to going off your feet in Union. My main point anyway was that a set of 6 in League is a continuous passage of play, not 6 set-pieces, anymore than 27 phases in Union is 27 set-pieces. Someone doing the ball-in-play stats in League does not stop the clock at the beginning of a tackle, then restart it when the dummy-half picks up the ball.

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On 11/02/2020 at 20:51, unapologetic pedant said:

I completely agree. There is far more potential for us in Brazil than Argentina, more in Greece than Italy. Also, we should be more particular in all territories about terminology. The word "Rugby" unaccompanied by the word "League" is a curse. The Kelsey Gentles tackle on Tiana Penitani clip currently has over 56 million views on the women`s RL Facebook page. It`s clear from reading the comments though, that most people think they`re watching "Rugby" not specifically Rugby League. Hence the consequence will be to raise the profile of Rugby Union. Why would any enterprise in its promotion use a word which makes most people around the world think of something else? Pepsi-cola would never stress the word "cola" over the word "Pepsi" in their marketing.

If we are dealing with a small team on the ground, we are not looking at Brazil than Argentina, vs Greece or Italy.

It really is about a couple of towns where people are on the ground.


"You clearly have never met Bob8 then, he's like a veritable Bryan Ferry of RL." - Johnoco 19 Jul 2014

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49 minutes ago, unapologetic pedant said:

When the Northern Union decreed that "henceforward the tackled player shall be permitted to regain his feet to play the ball" (not sure if that`s verbatim), this didn`t alter many of the basic principles of the tackle and ruck. Today a League tackler has to come round the mark and be square just as a Union tackler has to come round and in from the back foot if either are ahead of the ball when the tackle`s complete. A flop in League is similar to going off your feet in Union. My main point anyway was that a set of 6 in League is a continuous passage of play, not 6 set-pieces, anymore than 27 phases in Union is 27 set-pieces. Someone doing the ball-in-play stats in League does not stop the clock at the beginning of a tackle, then restart it when the dummy-half picks up the ball.

This all came from a comment about trying to view things through a RU prism to try to better understand why a RU fan didn't like RL because he said it appeared so "stop-start". 

The reference to the prism bit is more important here than a reference to what somebody said in 1895. 

 

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24 minutes ago, Bob8 said:

If we are dealing with a small team on the ground, we are not looking at Brazil than Argentina, vs Greece or Italy.

It really is about a couple of towns where people are on the ground.

Exactly. Putting pins on a map is all very well but its people doing the hard yards on the ground that is the hard bit. You also need more than one person doing this. The biggest difficulty I had when trying to get a team going in a new area wasn't even setting up a team or getting players. In some ways that was the easy bit. The trouble was the lack of teams to play against and the lack of a proper, meaningful competition to play in that would allow players to concentrate on RL instead of their other sports.

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1 minute ago, Damien said:

Exactly. Putting pins on a map is all very well but its people doing the hard yards on the ground that is the hard bit. You also need more than one person doing this. The biggest difficulty I had when trying to get a team going in a new area wasn't even setting up a team or getting players. In some ways that was the easy bit. The trouble was the lack of teams to play against and the lack of a proper, meaningful competition to play in that would allow players to concentrate on RL instead of their other sports.

Quite.

It is very different to how people imagine and an approach that makes sense from a desk in Leeds will rarely work well in new areas.

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"You clearly have never met Bob8 then, he's like a veritable Bryan Ferry of RL." - Johnoco 19 Jul 2014

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3 minutes ago, Bob8 said:

Quite.

It is very different to how people imagine and an approach that makes sense from a desk in Leeds will rarely work well in new areas.

Literally I had a team established, had training, even got grants from the Council for a festival etc. Without others doing likewise and teams to play against though it unfortunately just fizzled out. A couple of games against sides from the local RAF base was about all I could get going but with their changes in personnel it didn't make things easy. Its pretty hard to encourage people to give up playing in an established Soccer, GAA or RU competition for the odd game here and there. 4 or 5 people doing likewise in other areas and its a different story.

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21 minutes ago, Damien said:

Exactly. Putting pins on a map is all very well but its people doing the hard yards on the ground that is the hard bit. You also need more than one person doing this. The biggest difficulty I had when trying to get a team going in a new area wasn't even setting up a team or getting players. In some ways that was the easy bit. The trouble was the lack of teams to play against and the lack of a proper, meaningful competition to play in that would allow players to concentrate on RL instead of their other sports.

Tangentially, this reminds me of when I go abroad and, trying to be polite, I'll learn a few basic questions in the local language but then look at them in confused horror as they reply in the same language which of course I don't understand. 

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21 hours ago, RMBJ said:

This all came from a comment about trying to view things through a RU prism to try to better understand why a RU fan didn't like RL because he said it appeared so "stop-start". 

The reference to the prism bit is more important here than a reference to what somebody said in 1895. 

 

Can`t resist mentioning that the tackle rule was changed in 1906, but the argument I`m putting is very much about the present and future, and where development efforts are best focused. I think we`re in agreement about the "prism bit". I`m expressly saying that when trying to popularise League where there`s an existing familiarity with Union more attention should be given to this prism, to illuminate both the differences and the similarities. Portraying League as more open or physical than Union is largely futile, not least because these superficial points are nothing like as cogent as they were thirty years ago.

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