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Rugby League World Cup 2021 (Merged Threads)


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7 minutes ago, londonrlfan said:

Why can't we just play it without Aus/NZ? Are we admitting they're bigger than the sport?

No, we're admitting that a World Cup without Australia and NZ is clearly an inferior product. 

Bankrupting the Northern Hemisphere game just to prove some sort of point gets us nowhere.

This decision now is basically about choosing the least worst option financially. Only the organisers really know the facts of that. 

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5 minutes ago, Toby Chopra said:

No, we're admitting that a World Cup without Australia and NZ is clearly an inferior product. 

Bankrupting the Northern Hemisphere game just to prove some sort of point gets us nowhere.

This decision now is basically about choosing the least worst option financially. Only the organisers really know the facts of that. 

NZ didn't even make the semis last time and Australia have a 50% win ratio in the last 4 years. It'd only be inferior to Aussies who think SOO is the be all and end all, but they think that regardless anyway. 

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6 minutes ago, londonrlfan said:

NZ didn't even make the semis last time and Australia have a 50% win ratio in the last 4 years. It'd only be inferior to Aussies who think SOO is the be all and end all, but they think that regardless anyway. 

So you think replacing the Kangaroos and the Kiwis with Serbia and the United States will have no discernible affect on the quality of the rugby or our ability to promote the tournament as world class sport? You're entitled to your view but mine is that a RLWC without those two will be profoundly affected. It may also be that that is still the least worst option, however bad, which show's the dire straits we're in.        

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1 minute ago, Toby Chopra said:

It may also be that that is still the least worst option    

I agree. That's what we're waiting for the organisers to decide. If they do go ahead though, I will see it as a damage limitation World Cup, rather than one that is truly showcasing the best that the sport has to offer.

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44 minutes ago, Whippet13 said:

This morning's press conference is on Chasing Kangaroos:

https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/bonus-world-cup-emergency-press-conference/id1441882710?i=1000530387116

Heavy emphasis on the player engagement currently underway being the key.

Bizarrely, Brian Carney sneaks in with a question five minutes from the end introducing himself as 'Bradley Cowper'! 

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5 minutes ago, Toby Chopra said:

So you think replacing the Kangaroos and the Kiwis with Serbia and the United States will have no discernible affect on the quality of the rugby or our ability to promote the tournament as world class sport? You're entitled to your view but mine is that a RLWC without those two will be profoundly affected. It may also be that that is still the least worst option, however bad, which show's the dire straits we're in.        

No I'd rather they were there. But we shouldn't be cancelling the WC or bankrupting the sport just because of their egotism and greed. 

I said years ago RL needed to build IRL without Australia, due to their attitudes towards it. They never did and now look what's happened. 

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If we look at what the impact may be of leaving these teams out.

Aus group games - Hull, Coventry and St Helens. Maybe 15k, 20k, 15k. (50k)

Kiwi Group games - Wire, Leeds, Leeds. Maybe 15k, 17.5k, 17.5k. (50k)

Quarters - Aus @ Hudds (15k), Kiwis @ Hull (15k) - total (30k)

Semi Final - Leeds (30k)

Final - (70k)

 

So games involving these teams would probably total 230k fans. But if you take out the final and Semi as less likely to be impacted, and halve the other games then this works out at around an impact of c65k fans over the tournament. Of course these are guesstimates, so it could be more, could be less. If you did manage to replace these with rebel Aussie and Kiwi teams, then the crowd impact would be far less imho. 

Where there is likely to be a challenge is around the corporate and media deals from Oz and NZ - but again, these may be reduced rather than zero - and maybe the fact that we get very modest return from those territories anyway will be a blessing in disguise for this. Hopefully the actual financial impact of those teams not coming would be very modest. 

Whilst some fans may challenge the credibility - in reality, it would be a very, very entertaining comp if the other nations could get full teams out. There would be genuine interest in who was going to make the final, rather than who will play Oz in the final - I actually think there is a real opportunity here if we can guarantee the other nations will come.

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1 hour ago, Dave T said:

I accept that this is an issue for you, I disagree that it is a big issue for the population. I think the bigger issue is that the governing body do things half-assed, and that the whole focus is on Origin and NRL.

The last 15 years or so have been far more competitive than at any time I have been watching in over 35 years. The first time I saw the Aussies lose a series was 2005. In fact that was the first time they had lost a series in my lifetime. I was born in 1978 when they lost to France, but they won every series, World Cup etc. until 2005. 

They then lost the World Cup in 2008. 

They then lost the Four Nations in 2010.

They then lost another Four Nations in 2014. 

They won a very tight World Cup final 6 nil versus England at home.

They lost their last Test match versus Tonga.

Considering the quality of the Kangaroo players, to lose four series over this period, and lose to Tonga really is way off, and shows that the lack of competition is a bit of a red herring.

Wider than that we then have England v Kiwis being pretty even - we tend to win over here, they win over there. The emergence of the Pacific Nations has seen Tonga beat Aus, NZ and GB in recent years, Fiji beat NZ, PNG beat GB and so on. The international game is more varied and competitive than at any other team in the modern game. 

There`s a few things in there. 

I remember really enjoying Test matches between our two countries in the 80`s and 90`s, even though we generally won the series, Great Britain was producing world class backs that I loved watching, Schofield, Hanley, Lydon, Connolly, Senior, my two favourites Sculthorpe and Carney, Currier and all the rest, many of them played over here so we knew how good they were, and when they played Oz we knew we where in for a tough, entertaining battle. Forwards have never been England`s problem.

Now getting back to your first point, maybe you still have those world class game-breaking backs but given the disorganisation surrounding international League I just haven`t seen them, I`m quite prepared to concede that point. But you had a hell of a lot in the past and we knew were in for an exciting match when you came up against them. Maybe if we saw a few more of your better players a bit more often it would be easier to get excited, I suppose these days none are coming over with the reputation like so many in the past had, when you couldn`t wait to see them play.

I suppose therefore it is no coincidence that the other time I started really looking forward to international League again was the rise of the Kiwi`s in the late 2000`s led by a champion play maker with world class attacking backs. When Benji came through with Toopi, Vagana, Meli, Vainokolo, I thought we were going to be onto something big with the rivalry, but it fizzled, Kieran Foran didn`t kick-on and the Kiwis have proved very inconsistent, and it`s hard to get excited when you know half the time your going to win easily.

The Kiwis I think are on the verge again of putting together a team that is as good as ours, but they need to play more often. Your country, I don`t know, I`ve seen your great forwards, a world class half-back, Herbie Farnworth a better than average centre, I wouldn`t say world-class just yet, but the rest are a complete mystery to me.

Maybe this is where the problem lies, for at least me any way, when I see a team play us, I want to see teams that can match us with flair and creativity, grinding out wins or close losses only entertains so far and it`s hard to get excited about.

Not asking for much am I.🥴

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2 minutes ago, Dave T said:

If we look at what the impact may be of leaving these teams out.

Aus group games - Hull, Coventry and St Helens. Maybe 15k, 20k, 15k. (50k)

Kiwi Group games - Wire, Leeds, Leeds. Maybe 15k, 17.5k, 17.5k. (50k)

Quarters - Aus @ Hudds (15k), Kiwis @ Hull (15k) - total (30k)

Semi Final - Leeds (30k)

Final - (70k)

 

So games involving these teams would probably total 230k fans. But if you take out the final and Semi as less likely to be impacted, and halve the other games then this works out at around an impact of c65k fans over the tournament. Of course these are guesstimates, so it could be more, could be less. If you did manage to replace these with rebel Aussie and Kiwi teams, then the crowd impact would be far less imho. 

Where there is likely to be a challenge is around the corporate and media deals from Oz and NZ - but again, these may be reduced rather than zero - and maybe the fact that we get very modest return from those territories anyway will be a blessing in disguise for this. Hopefully the actual financial impact of those teams not coming would be very modest. 

Whilst some fans may challenge the credibility - in reality, it would be a very, very entertaining comp if the other nations could get full teams out. There would be genuine interest in who was going to make the final, rather than who will play Oz in the final - I actually think there is a real opportunity here if we can guarantee the other nations will come.

Thanks for crunching some numbers Dave, that's very useful. If your best case scenario played out, then clearly we should go for it.

I do wonder though what effect the current crisis - and the reality of the Aus/NZ absence when kick off comes - will have on the image of the tournament. Ticket sales across more than just the games directly affected will depend on that, especially with the non-RL audience we've clearly been targetting. 

I think a lot will come down to the BBC, and it's ability to help us create a 'national moment'. They'd need to be on board to provide the effort they were going to previously to have the cut through we need.

I think it's almost impossible to know at this point which scenario will occur - so the question is can we afford to take a gamble on positive scenario unfolding.     

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8 minutes ago, Toby Chopra said:

So you think replacing the Kangaroos and the Kiwis with Serbia and the United States will have no discernible affect on the quality of the rugby or our ability to promote the tournament as world class sport? You're entitled to your view but mine is that a RLWC without those two will be profoundly affected. It may also be that that is still the least worst option, however bad, which show's the dire straits we're in.        

 

7 minutes ago, 17 stone giant said:

No, it would be considered inferior by plenty of other people too.

Maybe a change in mindset is needed. Clearly the standard of Rugby won't be as good with some lower teams replacing the two best teams in the World. But that isn't necessarily the main sell of a World Cup.

Look at 2013, the Aussie games not involving England or the Kiwis were not enjoyable or big draws - they returned some of the lowest crowds and the most one-sided games. 

The Kiwis were better value, and certainly more of a draw. The battle with Samoa was great for example, and personally I loved the game vs Scotland. That semi too 😭

But if you think about the real highlights of that tournament it was the likes of Fiji and Ireland at a packed Spotland, Scotland's games up in Cumbria versus Tonga and Italy, Tonga v Italy at Halifax was brutal, Tonga v Cooks and so on. 

These games would be put front and centre if these two teams don't make it, and tbh, the competition would be better for it.

In Group B if Oz are replaced by USA - that group becomes very, very open, and tbh, more enjoyable. 

In Group C if the Kiwis are replaced by a weaker team then that group opens up too. 

Of course we would want a WC with the best teams - but instead of looking at what we will lose, we can look at what we would gain. It would be a more competitive tournament, with far fewer walkovers. That won't suit everyone, but that's life.

The problem with all of the above is that it doesn't even consider the women's and wheelchair cups. 

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5 minutes ago, Toby Chopra said:

Thanks for crunching some numbers Dave, that's very useful. If your best case scenario played out, then clearly we should go for it.

I do wonder though what effect the current crisis - and the reality of the Aus/NZ absence when kick off comes - will have on the image of the tournament. Ticket sales across more than just the games directly affected will depend on that, especially with the non-RL audience we've clearly been targetting. 

I think a lot will come down to the BBC, and it's ability to help us create a 'national moment'. They'd need to be on board to provide the effort they were going to previously to have the cut through we need.

I think it's almost impossible to know at this point which scenario will occur - so the question is can we afford to take a gamble on positive scenario unfolding.     

I think we need a few guarantees. Firstly that we can get the teams over. Secondly, that our partners are happy to support at the levels they have committed. I think we can make ticket sales work, but if some of the corporate deals have to change, or the BBC decide that they ar not now getting what they paid for, it could be problematic. 

I would like to think the government could maybe cover an extra couple of million to fund any gaps. It really is a modest investment despite being huge for RL.

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10 minutes ago, The Rocket said:

I remember really enjoying Test matches between our two countries in the 80`s and 90`s, even though we generally won the series, Great Britain was producing world class backs that I loved watching, Schofield, Hanley, Lydon, Connolly, Senior, my two favourites Sculthorpe and Carney, Currier and all the rest, many of them played over here so we knew how good they were, and when they played Oz we knew we where in for a tough, entertaining battle. Forwards have never been England`s problem.

Now getting back to your first point, maybe you still have those world class game-breaking backs but given the disorganisation surrounding international League I just haven`t seen them, I`m quite prepared to concede that point. But you had a hell of a lot in the past and we knew were in for an exciting match when you came up against them. Maybe if we saw a few more of your better players a bit more often it would be easier to get excited, I suppose these days none are coming over with the reputation like so many in the past had, when you couldn`t wait to see them play.

Not trying to tell you what you think (especially as I enjoy reading your well-considered posts), but is a reason for your current lack of interest perhaps linked to the numbers of games that are played?

During the peak period that you cite above (including the times when Carney and Sculthorpe were playing), Eng/GB played Australia 35 times between 1982-2003. Since 2003, Eng/GB have only played Australia 17 times. So the international calendar and opportunities to see England/GB in action and get to know the players has massively reduced, and there is a complete lack of familiarity and no rivalries can develop. Plus, the international calendar used to be set in stone, and you knew when the next ashes series was happening. Now, we don't have a clue.

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8 minutes ago, Dave T said:

These games would be put front and centre if these two teams don't make it, and tbh, the competition would be better for it.

In Group B if Oz are replaced by USA - that group becomes very, very open, and tbh, more enjoyable. 

In Group C if the Kiwis are replaced by a weaker team then that group opens up too. 

Still feel sorry for the Welsh in Group D lol... two massive teams pull out and they don't catch a break!

Agree with all your points.

 

 

.

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2 minutes ago, GeordieSaint said:

Still feel sorry for the Welsh in Group D lol... two massive teams pull out and they don't catch a break!

Agree with all your points.

 

 

.

I think Ben Flower is still deciding whether he is going to be washing his hair in October too. 

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18 minutes ago, The Rocket said:

There`s a few things in there. 

I remember really enjoying Test matches between our two countries in the 80`s and 90`s, even though we generally won the series, Great Britain was producing world class backs that I loved watching, Schofield, Hanley, Lydon, Connolly, Senior, my two favourites Sculthorpe and Carney, Currier and all the rest, many of them played over here so we knew how good they were, and when they played Oz we knew we where in for a tough, entertaining battle. Forwards have never been England`s problem.

Now getting back to your first point, maybe you still have those world class game-breaking backs but given the disorganisation surrounding international League I just haven`t seen them, I`m quite prepared to concede that point. But you had a hell of a lot in the past and we knew were in for an exciting match when you came up against them. Maybe if we saw a few more of your better players a bit more often it would be easier to get excited, I suppose these days none are coming over with the reputation like so many in the past had, when you couldn`t wait to see them play.

I suppose therefore it is no coincidence that the other time I started really looking forward to international League again was the rise of the Kiwi`s in the late 2000`s led by a champion play maker with world class attacking backs. When Benji came through with Toopi, Vagana, Meli, Vainokolo, I thought we were going to be onto something big with the rivalry, but it fizzled, Kieran Foran didn`t kick-on and the Kiwis have proved very inconsistent, and it`s hard to get excited when you know half the time your going to win easily.

The Kiwis I think are on the verge again of putting together a team that is as good as ours, but they need to play more often. Your country, I don`t know, I`ve seen your great forwards, a world class half-back, Herbie Farnworth a better than average centre, I wouldn`t say world-class just yet, but the rest are a complete mystery to me.

Maybe this is where the problem lies, for at least me any way, when I see a team play us, I want to see teams that can match us with flair and creativity, grinding out wins or close losses only entertains so far and it`s hard to get excited about.

Not asking for much am I.🥴

I do think there is something in the change of season which means we don't see the top players guesting in the respective comps and building up some recognition across the two territories. And there is certainly something in there about the quality of some English backs particularly, but I think we did have a couple of once-in-a-lifetime players in Hanley and Offiah particularly. 

But while you say the Kiwis didn't kick on - they did win Four major titles which is an unprecedented level of success in the history of RL. In almost 100 years, the Kiwis beat the Aussies in only 3 series' and won no World Cups. Then in 15 years the Kiwis won one World Cup and took three tournament wins versus the Aussies. That is an outstandingly successful period for the Kiwi team versus the Aussies. 

The thing that ultimately tells me that this isn't a major issue for many is that some of the crowds and viewing figures have been very good for internationals in Oz. And then we see a lack of commitment to the following year instead of growing on it. And we see that in England too, but generally the England fans back international RL more readily.

The Aussie authorities generally mess it up with lack of interest, the English authorities mess it up with lack of funding and strategy.

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8 minutes ago, GeordieSaint said:

Still feel sorry for the Welsh in Group D lol... two massive teams pull out and they don't catch a break!

Agree with all your points.

 

 

.

Wales could be given three byes and they'd still mess it up! 😆

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5 minutes ago, RugbyLeagueGeek said:

Not trying to tell you what you think (especially as I enjoy reading your well-considered posts), but is a reason for your current lack of interest perhaps linked to the numbers of games that are played?

During the peak period that you cite above (including the times when Carney and Sculthorpe were playing), Eng/GB played Australia 35 times between 1982-2003. Since 2003, Eng/GB have only played Australia 17 times. So the international calendar and opportunities to see England/GB in action and get to know the players has massively reduced, and there is a complete lack of familiarity and no rivalries can develop. Plus, the international calendar used to be set in stone, and you knew when the next ashes series was happening. Now, we don't have a clue.

But at the same time, you don't want overkill. The Kiwi tour sold poorly in 2018, as it becomes boring playing them all the time. Oh look, we're planning to play them again next year. Yawn.

Getting rid of the Four Nations was a disaster, especially as Tonga would have been a genuine contender and not just making up the numbers. 

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2 minutes ago, londonrlfan said:

Getting rid of the Four Nations was a disaster, especially as Tonga would have been a genuine contender and not just making up the numbers. 

At the behest of the Aussies wasn't it? Why split the pot four ways when you only have two teams in a Series.

Hadn't realised we were due to play NZ again in 2022... 😥

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3 minutes ago, londonrlfan said:

But at the same time, you don't want overkill. The Kiwi tour sold poorly in 2018, as it becomes boring playing them all the time. Oh look, we're planning to play them again next year. Yawn.

Yeah that's a fair point. The old ashes series were every 2 years - one in Oz and the next in GB. This felt the right amount without it being overkill. Playing the Kiwis so regularly was starting to feel like it was by default because (a) the Aussies wouldn't come, and (b) we were too 'big time' to play France or the other home nations (which is a disgrace IMO). Writing this reminds me that this WC incident isn't the first time in recent years that the Aussies have shown complete apathy for the international game*. From memory, it was originally supposed to be the Aussies coming here in 2018, and also the GB tour was supposed to take in an Aussie leg, but they weren't interested.

*This may be my mind playing tricks on me, and I'm just using it as an excuse to bash the Aussies. Will happily be corrected!

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1 minute ago, Dave T said:

I think we need a few guarantees. Firstly that we can get the teams over. Secondly, that our partners are happy to support at the levels they have committed. I think we can make ticket sales work, but if some of the corporate deals have to change, or the BBC decide that they ar not now getting what they paid for, it could be problematic. 

I would like to think the government could maybe cover an extra couple of million to fund any gaps. It really is a modest investment despite being huge for RL.

Agree with all of that. I think the government is something we can push, and you're right, the level of extra support needed is chicken feed.

Frankly it's in their political interest to help us further: it can't leave the north dangling given how it supported the region in the first place, and also it'll be keen to show Britain is "open for business". 

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7 hours ago, gingerjon said:

I was just idly looking through the list of most watched sporting events in the US earlier and in there, ahead of some college football games, NBA play offs, March Madness and the US Open is England v Italy in the Euros final.

Not sure it's top 5 in the world - so many variables about how you get that - but it's definitely ahead of every other football confederation tournament by some distance.

The overall point though that the RLWC isn't anywhere near that table still stands though.

Going off topic slightly, but yes, it’s huge. I live in the states and every work call started with Euros updates. Enthusiastic discussions on Denmark v Russia.

In international sport only the soccer World Cup and olympics are bigger in my humble opinion.

to tie it into this thread, it really shows the impact a top international tournament can have. I’ve not had many state of origin discussions on work calls.

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10 minutes ago, GeordieSaint said:

At the behest of the Aussies wasn't it? Why split the pot four ways when you only have two teams in a Series.

Hadn't realised we were due to play NZ again in 2022... 😥

Oh was it the Aussies? Another intelligent idea from them, not. Dinosaurs taking the sport backwards. 

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