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Rugby League World Cup 2021 (Merged Threads)


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4 hours ago, Maximus Decimus said:

I don't think it's anything like a conspiracy to wonder why they've decided to come up with a format that has a small but significant difference to other similar tournaments.

After all, this is a tournament that in every incarnation since they extended it in 1995 has not only had England and Australia in the same group, but in all but one they have opened the tournament with that game (The only other being Aus vs NZ). This wasn't a coincidence but specifically contrived that way to ensure the tournament starts with a high-profile game.

The draw was made in a specific way that seems fair enough. I'd just be interested in when they decided not to go for the usual format for the knockouts and whether it was done prior to the draw.

It seems awfully fortunate that we will definitely avoid the two teams who've knocked us out of every tournament until the final.

You really seem to be looking for issues with this where none exist.

Based on the 2017 World Cup it is quite right that England and Australia are on separate sides of the draw as they were 1 and 2. As Tonga and Fiji were the other semi-finalists and 3 and 4 it is quite right that they too are on the separate sides of the draw. I think few would argue that based on the 2017 World Cup and results since then that England have got the short straw of having to play Tonga on their route to the final.

Maybe if New Zealand weren't such a shower and hadn't lost to Tonga and Fiji then maybe they'd have ended up on England's side too.

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37 minutes ago, Maximus Decimus said:

I don't think it's anything like a conspiracy to wonder why they've decided to come up with a format that has a small but significant difference to other similar tournaments.

After all, this is a tournament that in every incarnation since they extended it in 1995 has not only had England and Australia in the same group, but in all but one they have opened the tournament with that game (The only other being Aus vs NZ). This wasn't a coincidence but specifically contrived that way to ensure the tournament starts with a high-profile game.

The draw was made in a specific way that seems fair enough. I'd just be interested in when they decided not to go for the usual format for the knockouts and whether it was done prior to the draw.

It seems awfully fortunate that we will definitely avoid the two teams who've knocked us out of every tournament until the final.

So before it was contrived because they manufactured lots of England v Aus/NZ games and now it is contrived because they haven't? 

We would have had an Australia v NZ semi last time but, as mentioned, NZ didn't even make the semis so I'm still confused about why we are focusing on them so much.

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I can confirm 30+ less sales for Scotland vs Italy at Workington, after this afternoons test purchase for the Tonga match, £7.50 is extremely reasonable, however a £2.50 'delivery' fee for a walk in purchase is beyond taking the mickey, good luck with that, it's cheaper on the telly.

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28 minutes ago, Just Browny said:

So before it was contrived because they manufactured lots of England v Aus/NZ games and now it is contrived because they haven't? 

We would have had an Australia v NZ semi last time but, as mentioned, NZ didn't even make the semis so I'm still confused about why we are focusing on them so much.

Actually, the Seeded route would have seen NZ play against England.

But they were so bad they didn't qualify top, so they were headed for the Aussie semi final. 

But they were again so bad that they didn't even make the semi final. 

I don't want to keep calling them a shower as I worry that England could suffer a similar fate this year, but the Kiwis were a shower, and it is absolutely fair that they are routed via the Aussies. 

There is a case that the top four seeds could have included Fiji over the Kiwis. 

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1 hour ago, Jughead said:

And it underscores the fact that the governing bodies of many of the countries in the tournament are financially dependent on Australia.

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2 hours ago, gingerjon said:

That does rather imply that the match payment from the RLWC is ... not high.

I'd always assumed the same tbh, but I do like it as a concept and the organisers were using it in ads at one stage.

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"Just as we had been Cathars, we were treizistes, men apart."

Jean Roque, Calendrier-revue du Racing-Club Albigeois, 1958-1959

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8 hours ago, Damien said:

You really seem to be looking for issues with this where none exist.

Based on the 2017 World Cup it is quite right that England and Australia are on separate sides of the draw as they were 1 and 2. As Tonga and Fiji were the other semi-finalists and 3 and 4 it is quite right that they too are on the separate sides of the draw. I think few would argue that based on the 2017 World Cup and results since then that England have got the short straw of having to play Tonga on their route to the final.

Maybe if New Zealand weren't such a shower and hadn't lost to Tonga and Fiji then maybe they'd have ended up on England's side too.

I'm not looking for issues, I'm pointing out something that is unusual and it is undoubtedly unusual - this exact format has almost certainly never been done before. 

England being on the opposite draw to Australia is right, as long as both teams top their group and get through to the final. However, if England lose to Samoa and finish second they should lose that advantage. Under this system, they don't. 

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8 hours ago, Just Browny said:

So before it was contrived because they manufactured lots of England v Aus/NZ games and now it is contrived because they haven't? 

We would have had an Australia v NZ semi last time but, as mentioned, NZ didn't even make the semis so I'm still confused about why we are focusing on them so much.

Who's focussing on NZ? This system means we cannot play the favourites Australia either. In a normal system, losing to Samoa would mean we would likely be punished with a semi-final against one of NZ or Australia. 

Your first sentence is just a strawman. I've stated that every tournament since we went to a multi-team tournament has been contrived to some degree. Some small, but some massively (10-team weighted groups etc) However, it is apparently a conspiracy-theory to suspect that an obvious deviation from the norm could be due in any part to contrivance?

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10 hours ago, Mr Frisky said:

Maybe its to try and get Oz and NZ to the final by avoiding England?

England got to the final last time in an open format - at the end of the day as long as the rules are set before it starts then it doesn't really matter - you still have to beat the best teams to win it.

You don't genuinely believe that first line right...

I'm not arguing that I think it's farcical or that it will prevent good teams from winning. I'm only saying that it appears to have some contrivance in it. Not a lot, and certainly less than previous tournaments, but some.

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10 hours ago, Just Browny said:

I think it's a WEF thing.

Or maybe the answer is in your post; the only time we have used "the universally recognised format" we nearly killed international RL for good.

So you're saying that if they'd have artificially switched the order of the semi-finals, the 2000 World Cup would've been a success?

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22 minutes ago, Maximus Decimus said:

I'm not looking for issues, I'm pointing out something that is unusual and it is undoubtedly unusual - this exact format has almost certainly never been done before. 

England being on the opposite draw to Australia is right, as long as both teams top their group and get through to the final. However, if England lose to Samoa and finish second they should lose that advantage. Under this system, they don't. 

There is no 'England should lose that advantage' - you can design whatever format you want. England finishing 2nd has to have an impact, that is true. The impact here would be a tougher QF as they would play a group winner instead of a 2nd place qualifier. 

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10 hours ago, Dave T said:

We've manipulated the formats for years, with a quite simple and clear objective of controlling and staging big events. I think creating two halves of a draw at knockout stage helps to create a visible route for teams, which allows for an element of control when staging games. In other tournaments there can be a wide range of outcomes, there are fewer available here. 

I also think it holds up under scrutiny. Ignoring where world rankings are right now, New Zealand are lucky to retain their seeding in the top 4 if we based this on the last WC (which we half do as we auto qualify based on it). England and Australia were the strongest two teams at the last WC and they as top seed avoid each other. Tonga had a stronger WC than the Kiwis, so there is a logic which suggests we have the tougher draw. Overall, England don't have an artificially easy route. 

After years of manipulating the tournament so that we were guaranteed to meet the Aussies and Kiwis, I think it's refreshing that the big game we are talking about is Eng v Samoa, and the next one is the hope that we get to play Tonga in the semi finals. 

This is of course true. This discussion started with me saying that one thing I'd liked was the bravery to move away from a highly contrived draw with one that wasn't. Samoa's competitiveness has certainly helped on that front.

However, I don't think it holds up to scrutiny - there is a reason why other tournaments, especially seeded ones, don't do it this way. When you have one team that is significantly stronger than any other, like with Australia, one side of the draw is significantly penalised. Much has been said of England's side of the draw, but what about the other? We're 95%+ nailed on to see Australia vs NZ in the semi-final. There is no opportunity for an England or a Samoa to end up in their end of the draw or vice-versa. 

The contrivance might 100% be down to the choice of Emirates as a venue. Not only do I think they could have got around this (by doing what they did for Anfield), I also think that there are still some questions. If somebody can point me to a document where this was always the plan and it was simply drawn this way, then I will back down.

However, I doubt such a thing exists. The absolute ideal scenario for the RLWC organisers is England vs Australia in the final. It would be the most likely to sellout, it would get by far the most media attention and therefore generate the most revenue. The fact that this game can now only be a final and is argubly the most likely final, cannot be presumed to be coincidence IMO.

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2 minutes ago, Maximus Decimus said:

This is of course true. This discussion started with me saying that one thing I'd liked was the bravery to move away from a highly contrived draw with one that wasn't. Samoa's competitiveness has certainly helped on that front.

However, I don't think it holds up to scrutiny - there is a reason why other tournaments, especially seeded ones, don't do it this way. When you have one team that is significantly stronger than any other, like with Australia, one side of the draw is significantly penalised. Much has been said of England's side of the draw, but what about the other? We're 95%+ nailed on to see Australia vs NZ in the semi-final. There is no opportunity for an England or a Samoa to end up in their end of the draw or vice-versa. 

The contrivance might 100% be down to the choice of Emirates as a venue. Not only do I think they could have got around this (by doing what they did for Anfield), I also think that there are still some questions. If somebody can point me to a document where this was always the plan and it was simply drawn this way, then I will back down.

However, I doubt such a thing exists. The absolute ideal scenario for the RLWC organisers is England vs Australia in the final. It would be the most likely to sellout, it would get by far the most media attention and therefore generate the most revenue. The fact that this game can now only be a final and is argubly the most likely final, cannot be presumed to be coincidence IMO.

You are within your rights to not like it, but Seeded draws and formats are there to create compelling tournaments and events. 

You are right that the Kiwis and Aussies are likely to make the semis, and this is because they had the luck of the draw. They could easily have ended up with Fiji, Samoa, PNG, but the draw at the Palace saw them come out on England's side. 

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4 minutes ago, Maximus Decimus said:

This is of course true. This discussion started with me saying that one thing I'd liked was the bravery to move away from a highly contrived draw with one that wasn't. Samoa's competitiveness has certainly helped on that front.

However, I don't think it holds up to scrutiny - there is a reason why other tournaments, especially seeded ones, don't do it this way. When you have one team that is significantly stronger than any other, like with Australia, one side of the draw is significantly penalised. Much has been said of England's side of the draw, but what about the other? We're 95%+ nailed on to see Australia vs NZ in the semi-final. There is no opportunity for an England or a Samoa to end up in their end of the draw or vice-versa. 

The contrivance might 100% be down to the choice of Emirates as a venue. Not only do I think they could have got around this (by doing what they did for Anfield), I also think that there are still some questions. If somebody can point me to a document where this was always the plan and it was simply drawn this way, then I will back down.

However, I doubt such a thing exists. The absolute ideal scenario for the RLWC organisers is England vs Australia in the final. It would be the most likely to sellout, it would get by far the most media attention and therefore generate the most revenue. The fact that this game can now only be a final and is argubly the most likely final, cannot be presumed to be coincidence IMO.

The Australia v New Zealand final sold out in 2013 so I dont share your pessimism. I'm also certain England v any other team in the final would sell out.

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10 minutes ago, Dave T said:

There is no 'England should lose that advantage' - you can design whatever format you want. England finishing 2nd has to have an impact, that is true. The impact here would be a tougher QF as they would play a group winner instead of a 2nd place qualifier. 

I think they absolutely should lose that benefit. You only guarantee top seeds stay away from each other if they stay the top seeds. If they don't top their group then they aren't a top seed anymore.

I also feel I should make the point that this tournament doesn't have seeding in a way that rewards England, Australia or Tonga etc for their position at the last WC. It had 4 different pots of 4 teams with one group that was seeded. They were then picked at random. It is not designed to give advantage to any of those 4 seeds by keeping their groups away from each other. Any advantage incurred would be a result of luck.

I'd like to see the process by which they picked the two sides of the draw, and whether it was chosen or always decided.

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Dave T said:

You are within your rights to not like it, but Seeded draws and formats are there to create compelling tournaments and events. 

You are right that the Kiwis and Aussies are likely to make the semis, and this is because they had the luck of the draw. They could easily have ended up with Fiji, Samoa, PNG, but the draw at the Palace saw them come out on England's side. 

It's not about not liking it, it's about the reasons behind why it was done. You seem to be of the thinking that the WC organisers consciously chose it for on-the-field reasons.

I think this is extremely unlikely, and is either to guarantee England play at the Emirates for the semi-final, or to keep Australia/NZ away from England until the final.

I will reiterate again, no other sport or competition has chosen to run a tournament with this one difference in the semi-final stage. Why do you think that is?

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12 minutes ago, Damien said:

The Australia v New Zealand final sold out in 2013 so I dont share your pessimism. I'm also certain England v any other team in the final would sell out.

Would it create as much interest?

There was also no guarantee that this event would be as successful as the 2013 event. The 2017 World Cup wasn't as successful as the 2008 version, and was somewhat saved by PNG and Tonga. The final didn't nearly sellout as it had in 2008.

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15 minutes ago, Maximus Decimus said:

It's not about not liking it, it's about the reasons behind why it was done. You seem to be of the thinking that the WC organisers consciously chose it for on-the-field reasons.

I think this is extremely unlikely, and is either to guarantee England play at the Emirates for the semi-final, or to keep Australia/NZ away from England until the final.

I will reiterate again, no other sport or competition has chosen to run a tournament with this one difference in the semi-final stage. Why do you think that is?

No, I think it's for logistics reasons tbh. But I think it holds up to scrutiny fine and can be explained rationally. 

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7 minutes ago, Maximus Decimus said:

Would it create as much interest?

There was also no guarantee that this event would be as successful as the 2013 event. The 2017 World Cup wasn't as successful as the 2008 version, and was somewhat saved by PNG and Tonga. The final didn't nearly sellout as it had in 2008.

Of course England in the final would create interest. In my expereince the pull of Australia is negligible outside of RL circles anyway.

This event has always aimed to be bigger and better than 2013. I don't think that was the case with the last World Cup.

You now seem to be looking for any fault to justify your dislike of the draw.

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1 minute ago, Damien said:

Of course England in the final would create interest. In my expereince the pull of Australia is negligible outside of RL circles anyway.

This event has always aimed to be bigger and better than 2013. I don't think that was the case with the last World Cup.

You now seem to be looking for any fault to justify your dislike of the draw.

I'm simply responding to your assertions! It is undeniable that England vs Australia is the most attractive final, barring some miracle but highly unlikely scenario like Wales.

As for the other, this has aimed to be bigger than 2013 but that is a long way from guaranteeing that it will be a success or that the final will sellout. The RLWC is still much too fragile a success for it to be inevitable. That is the only reason I pointed to 2017 in comparison to 2008, and how it actually performed worse in the same market.

For what it's worth I think at this stage it looks like it's going to do pretty well and that the final will sellout. 

 

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8 minutes ago, Dave T said:

No, I think it's for logistics reasons tbh. But I think it holds up to scrutiny fine and can be explained rationally. 

I don't think it's an absolute disaster by any stretch and for most won't be noticeable. If Tonga beat Samoa or England, few people will probably ever know it was done this way.

I just think there is a whiff of contrivance about it. 

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18 minutes ago, The Hallucinating Goose said:

I've seen adverts for the world cup on the BBC a couple of times so far this evening. Saw a couple last week on ITV as well. Getting really excited now! 

I must say, I'm looking forward to it now. The emergence of Samoa and Tonga as genuine competitive nations really adds something to the WC. 

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Just now, Maximus Decimus said:

I don't think it's an absolute disaster by any stretch and for most won't be noticeable. If Tonga beat Samoa or England, few people will probably ever know it was done this way.

I just think there is a whiff of contrivance about it. 

Of course there is a whiff of contrivance around it. But I do think it also represents a little old fashioned thinking from yourself here. The issue with RLWC's is that we have always had three super-powers and a load of other making up the numbers. Now, you could argue this is still the case broadly speaking, but at Test level it is a lot closer - Samoa look like they are the bookie favourites versus England, and Tonga have beaten all three super-powers in recent years. 

So this whole 'who meets who in the semi finals' really shouldn't be as big a thing. If it all goes to plan, England will have had to beat a very strong looking Samoa, a PNG side who beat GB last time they played, and then an incredibly tough Tonga team in the semis. I shouldn't dismiss France, but I will.

That is a tough, and very interesting route through a World Cup before you'd meet either the Aussies in the final if it goes to form. 

So I think we need to stop looking at the RLWC as three teams and a load of ancillary teams, I think this is the first genuine World Cup where we don't have that. 

The Aussies have played against Fiji in the last 3 WC Semi finals and nobody has batted an eyelid. And those tournaments were absolutely contrived, with super groups etc. 

People are used to manufactured tournaments, there seems to be very little noise about this, it doesn't appear to be an issue. I appreciate it may not be to your taste, that's fine.

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