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4 hours ago, Saint Toppy said:

Gotta disagree with this one - International Cricket dwarfs virtually every domestic league. Traditional English country cricket is dying on its arris with pittyful attendances and about as much entertainment value as watching paint dry. It it weren't for 'novelty' competitions like T20 being created the game would have died in England at county level long ago.

In many respects Union is the same. Many of their club games have attendances lower than league clubs and its primarily international rugby and European club competitions that rake in the money, attendances and media interest. 

If only Ireland never started the GAA the English would of had a close rival in Cricket and the same with Baseball as before the first code of America was not not Cricket the major sport and imagine the wonders of saying Jamaica v Cuba at the same game but the sad them is due to too many codes of sports only a few are making proper inroads and Football/Soccer could of been below Rugby if only the rights heads of the oval code and thought it out.

Sorry to go subject.

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1 hour ago, The Rocket said:

The problem with what you are saying is that most of these blokes with dual eligibility are as Australian as me, full-on Aussie accents, born and spent their whole life here. If they are made to choose between representing their state ( and $20 000/game ), where they`ve spent their whole life ( and grown up watching SOO ), Staggs in Wellington near Dubbo, Laui St. Mary`s in Sydney etc. etc. etc. etc. they will choose NSW or QLD over the country that either their parents or grand-parents came from.

Now this is not to diminish the passion they feel for those countries, but for long as a choice has to be made in the middle of the year, SOO will largely win out.

So what do you suggest, get rid of SOO and make them choose mid year. As I`ve stated earlier ain`t going to happen, SOO paved the way for a team into Melbourne, it may well pave the way for a team into Perth and further NZ teams and it earns a bucket load of money for the NRL as well.

Therefore the best situation at this stage is to allow these young blokes to represent their state mid-year and then if they want they can then choose to represent the nation of their forebears at the end of the year.

That doesn`t seem like a bad outcome to me.

Let’s not pretend players being able to play for any of SOO/Australia/England/NZ as well as other nations is to help the international game. It is purely a safety net for the established countries in case they miss a player. 

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6 hours ago, RugbyLeagueGeek said:

Any evidence for this? I'll happily be persuaded if you can provide a convincing argument.

Only by personal experience, both in person and watching on tv, and by simply multiplying the number of fixtures in a season. As a combined aggregate.

6 hours ago, RugbyLeagueGeek said:

As a combined aggregate maybe, but nowhere near the same impact in terms of public consciousness. I'm pretty sure most people in the UK could tell you that England won a football world cup in 1966, but I expect very few could tell you who won the league that year. Likewise, the same for England's rugby union and cricket world cup wins.

That’s my point exactly, as a combined aggregate. It is a simple game of mathematics crossed with a high standard of competition. Even in soccer, which has far and away the worlds largest international presence, the club game is the most consumed both domestically and internationally.

Yes, most people could tell you there was a WC win in 66. I am not saying that international sport is not present in the national consciousness. Of course it is, but the simple counter to this is most people wouldn’t be able to tell you what round England were knocked out in 1970, 74, 78, 82 and 86.

Many on here are mistaking my argument as a call for no international RL which it is not. I am a fan of international RL, especially its growing interest in the pacific. Samoa v Tonga is one of my favourite exhibitions of RL. What I don’t want is the international game to suffer what I will call, for the sake of this discussion, the “SL effect”. This is where the season is unnecessarily extended to a point where regular season fixtures (or friendly fixtures, to put it back in international terms) lose their exclusivity. If Wigan played Saints only twice a year outside finals, I expect you will find both matches sold out. Same said for other SL derbies.

If RL had the same number of competitive international teams as football, then I could be persuaded to buy into a mid-season window. The sad reality is that there is not and as such a six week end of season international window is all I think that RL could both suitably capitalise and sustain interest in for the immediate future.

Edited by Sports Prophet
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31 minutes ago, Sports Prophet said:

Only by personal experience, both in person and watching on tv, and by simply multiplying the number of fixtures in a season. As a combined aggregate.

That’s my point exactly, as a combined aggregate. It is a simple game of mathematics crossed with a high standard of competition. Even in soccer, which has far and away the worlds largest international presence, the club game is the most consumed both domestically and internationally.

Yes, most people could tell you there was a WC win in 66. I am not saying that international sport is not present in the national consciousness. Of course it is, but the simple counter to this is most people wouldn’t be able to tell you what round England were knocked out in 1970, 74, 78, 82 and 86.

Many on here are mistaking my argument as a call for no international RL which it is not. I am a fan of international RL, especially its growing interest in the pacific. Samoa v Tonga is one of my favourite exhibitions of RL. What I don’t want is the international game to suffer what I will call, for the sake of this discussion, the “SL effect”. This is where the season is unnecessarily extended to a point where regular season fixtures (or friendly fixtures, to put it back in international terms) lose their exclusivity. If Wigan played Saints only twice a year outside finals, I expect you will find both matches sold out. Same said for other SL derbies.

If RL had the same number of competitive international teams as football, then I could be persuaded to buy into a mid-season window. The sad reality is that there is not and as such a six week end of season international window is all I think that RL could both suitably capitalise and sustain interest in for the immediate future.

I think 6 weeks is too long ...maybe 4.

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2 hours ago, The Rocket said:

The problem with what you are saying is that most of these blokes with dual eligibility are as Australian as me, full-on Aussie accents, born and spent their whole life here. If they are made to choose between representing their state ( and $20 000/game ), where they`ve spent their whole life ( and grown up watching SOO ), Staggs in Wellington near Dubbo, Laui St. Mary`s in Sydney etc. etc. etc. etc. they will choose NSW or QLD over the country that either their parents or grand-parents came from.

Now this is not to diminish the passion they feel for those countries, but for long as a choice has to be made in the middle of the year, SOO will largely win out.

So what do you suggest, get rid of SOO and make them choose mid year. As I`ve stated earlier ain`t going to happen, SOO paved the way for a team into Melbourne, it may well pave the way for a team into Perth and further NZ teams and it earns a bucket load of money for the NRL as well.

Therefore the best situation at this stage is to allow these young blokes to represent their state mid-year and then if they want they can then choose to represent the nation of their forebears at the end of the year.

That doesn`t seem like a bad outcome to me.

No one has said get rid of SOO. It is perfectly possible to have both an international game and SOO. We have already had both for one weekend a year for several years. Previous and more enlightened ex NRL administrators were seeking to expand this.

If players choose SOO then that's fine as it's their choice, similarly its their choice if they choose their country. It's really odd how some people would rather deprive players of any choice, much like what happened with the World Cup. It shows a real insecurity on the part of NRL administrators that they constantly feel the need to do this and take choice away from players and fans.

Edited by Damien
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9 hours ago, Sports Prophet said:

the simple counter to this is most people wouldn’t be able to tell you what round England were knocked out in 1970, 74, 78, 82 and 86.

They really could.

(The only counter being most sports fans not most people.)

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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13 hours ago, Damien said:

No one has said get rid of SOO. It is perfectly possible to have both an international game and SOO. We have already had both for one weekend a year for several years. Previous and more enlightened ex NRL administrators were seeking to expand this.

If players choose SOO then that's fine as it's their choice, similarly its their choice if they choose their country. It's really odd how some people would rather deprive players of any choice, much like what happened with the World Cup. It shows a real insecurity on the part of NRL administrators that they constantly feel the need to do this and take choice away from players and fans.

Ironically one could easily argue that the deprivation of choice actually occurred when players were forced to choose between representing the state in which most were  born and raised in the SOO arena or representing the nation of their forebears in the Pacific Cup test series in a mid-season representative window.

The current arrangement now actually does provide legitimate choice, Kotoni Staggs et.al. can represent the state they were they grew up in SOO mid-year and then if they then so choose can represent either Australia, New Zealand or the country of their forebears at the end of the year.

That would be a better definition of choice I would think.

 

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2 minutes ago, The Rocket said:

Ironically one could easily argue that the deprivation of choice actually occurred when players were forced to choose between representing the state in which most were  born and raised in the SOO arena or representing the nation of their forebears in the Pacific Cup test series in a mid-season representative window.

The current arrangement now actually does provide legitimate choice, Kotoni Staggs et.al. can represent the state they were they grew up in SOO mid-year and then if they then so choose can represent either Australia, New Zealand or the country of their forebears at the end of the year.

That would be a better definition of choice I would think.

 

What nonsense. You cannot deprive choice by giving choice, that's laughable. Your first paragraph is a complete contradiction. The definition of choice is choosing from two or more options, taking away a players right to choose is depriving players of choice,.

There was also nothing stopping players doing as you say anyway. If they wanted to choose to play SOO over a mid season international then play for Tonga et al end of season they could have done so. And that would have been their choice. The only thing stopping that would be the NRL wanting players to commit to Australia too, which could still be the case. This move is of absolutely no benefit to any player.

Its really odd how the NRL and a small minority of NRL fans like you are afraid of giving players and fans the choice. Talk about being afraid of letting the genie our of the bottle when it comes to international RL.

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Choices, choices and choices.

Do I play for NSW or do I play for Samoa?

That could be like Sophie’s choice for some players wouldn’t you say @The Rocket?

There is another whole element to this discussion that is being overlooked. If the likes of Tonga and Samoa, NZ and PNG are so downtrodden by the NRLs stance on when and how much international footy is to be played, those governing bodies can always go right ahead and arrange a mid season test match/series themselves. So can England and any other country for that matter. The IRL can sanction those fixtures and the NRL clubs have no right to stop a player representing their country. For as long as the NRL chooses to be a member of IRL at least.

Then we would really see players given a choice. Club/SOO or country. Would be a great test to see just how important international football is in the minds of our top professional players.

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28 minutes ago, Sports Prophet said:

Choices, choices and choices.

Do I play for NSW or do I play for Samoa?

That could be like Sophie’s choice for some players wouldn’t you say @The Rocket?

There is another whole element to this discussion that is being overlooked. If the likes of Tonga and Samoa, NZ and PNG are so downtrodden by the NRLs stance on when and how much international footy is to be played, those governing bodies can always go right ahead and arrange a mid season test match/series themselves. So can England and any other country for that matter. The IRL can sanction those fixtures and the NRL clubs have no right to stop a player representing their country. For as long as the NRL chooses to be a member of IRL at least.

Then we would really see players given a choice. Club/SOO or country. Would be a great test to see just how important international football is in the minds of our top professional players.

We've been there, seen it and done it last year when the NRL prevented players from playing in the World Cup and as a result forced its cancellation.

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24 minutes ago, Sports Prophet said:

If the likes of Tonga and Samoa, NZ and PNG are so downtrodden by the NRLs stance on when and how much international footy is to be played, those governing bodies can always go right ahead and arrange a mid season test match/series themselves. So can England and any other country for that matter. The IRL can sanction those fixtures and the NRL clubs have no right to stop a player representing their country. For as long as the NRL chooses to be a member of IRL at least.

You did see what happened at the World Cup? The organisers were planning to go ahead without Aus and NZ because in theory players could do just that. In reality players and governing bodies were put under some not very subtly pressure to go along with what their paymasters (eg the NRLwant).
 

Tonga, PNG have no money to go their own way. And of course it will stay that way until they are able to host their own tests! A perpetual cycle and one that is controlled by the NRL as they have the money and power over the game and not the IRL.

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23 hours ago, Saint Toppy said:

Gotta disagree with this one - International Cricket dwarfs virtually every domestic league. 

Hmm. Tymal Mills is on £1.4 million annual salary in the IPL. He's pretty much unavailable for England games outside of the world cup as a result. Every test country accepts it won't get first choice of players during the 10-game IPL season.

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18 minutes ago, theswanmcr said:

You did see what happened at the World Cup? The organisers were planning to go ahead without Aus and NZ because in theory players could do just that. In reality players and governing bodies were put under some not very subtly pressure to go along with what their paymasters (eg the NRLwant).
 

Tonga, PNG have no money to go their own way. And of course it will stay that way until they are able to host their own tests! A perpetual cycle and one that is controlled by the NRL as they have the money and power over the game and not the IRL.

Tonga, PNG and the rest won't ever be able to host their own Internationals and make money from them because those countries are all too poor; even matches in New Zealand (like the money-losing 1996 GB tour) aren't guaranteed money-makers.

This weird idea that the rise of these tiny third world countries will do anything substantial to boost the game's profile, image and fortunes really is divorced from reality.

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20 minutes ago, Big Picture said:

Tonga, PNG and the rest won't ever be able to host their own Internationals and make money from them because those countries are all too poor; even matches in New Zealand (like the money-losing 1996 GB tour) aren't guaranteed money-makers.

This weird idea that the rise of these tiny third world countries will do anything substantial to boost the game's profile, image and fortunes really is divorced from reality.

Your first point is fair enough - but if there was a proper mid season window then England etc could offer them money to come here.

However, these tiny countries do plenty to boost the game’s profile. Nobody knows or cares really what the size of Samoa is but they do know they are good at ‘rugby’ and offer a legitimate big game for the start of our World Cup.

And without them then we are back to just the old three nations playing rugby league. We are/were beginning to move away from that but the current NRL/Aus insular stance on reducing the number of internationals really doesn’t help this.

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30 minutes ago, Big Picture said:

This weird idea that the rise of these tiny third world countries will do anything substantial to boost the game's profile, image and fortunes really is divorced from reality.

You're right. People only watch teams from big, rich countries.

Like the West Indies in cricket.

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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1 minute ago, gingerjon said:

You're right. People only watch teams from big, rich countries.

Like the West Indies in cricket.

The West Indies in cricket is a good analogy for the Pacific Island countries in RL.

West Indies isn't one country, it's a composite team for a collection of countries.  It's likely the only way those countries can compete with the bigger, richer countries in cricket.  And unlike the Pacific Island countries in RL the West Indies is nowhere near the top of the tree in cricket; they finished 9th out of 10 teams in 2019 and were royally thrashed by New Zealand (by 143 runs!!) in a quarter-final four years before that.

So they don't disprove my point, quite the contrary in fact.

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1 minute ago, Big Picture said:

The West Indies in cricket is a good analogy for the Pacific Island countries in RL.

West Indies isn't one country, it's a composite team for a collection of countries.  It's likely the only way those countries can compete with the bigger, richer countries in cricket.  And unlike the Pacific Island countries in RL the West Indies is nowhere near the top of the tree in cricket; they finished 9th out of 10 teams in 2019 and were royally thrashed by New Zealand (by 143 runs!!) in a quarter-final four years before that.

So they don't disprove my point, quite the contrary in fact.

World Cup Champions twice and T20 World Champions in 2012 and 2016.

Teams move up and down the rankings quite a bit in cricket.

But, probably better they don't bother. They are poor after all.

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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11 minutes ago, gingerjon said:

World Cup Champions twice and T20 World Champions in 2012 and 2016.

Teams move up and down the rankings quite a bit in cricket.

But, probably better they don't bother. They are poor after all.

Cricket is a sport largely (though not exclusively) confined to Commonwealth countries.  The West Indies is still a composite team representing a group of countries, and they're the only team from poor island countries in a field of anywhere from 10-20 teams depending on the particular tournament and they're only in the knockout stages some of the time.

That's not at all the same as having half of the quarter-finalists in a World Cup from such countries as RL had in 2017 and likely will again this year.

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1 hour ago, Big Picture said:

This weird idea that the rise of these tiny third world countries will do anything substantial to boost the game's profile, image and fortunes really is divorced from reality.

Of course it does. Having more close, competitive teams at the top level and 6 competitive nations instead of 3 helps immensely. No one cares where those teams are from. The misconception that some like to throw at RL about it being only 3 countries is one of the biggest criticisms thrown at international RL. The England v Tonga 2017 World Cup final smashed perceptions in this country and no one cared how big Tonga is or what their economy is like. Just as they do not care in RU.

It is also not a binary choice. The PI nations do not stop larger countries coming to the fore. It is not a case of choosing between China or Tonga and the game does not have that luxury.

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1 hour ago, theswanmcr said:

Your first point is fair enough - but if there was a proper mid season window then England etc could offer them money to come here.

However, these tiny countries do plenty to boost the game’s profile. Nobody knows or cares really what the size of Samoa is but they do know they are good at ‘rugby’ and offer a legitimate big game for the start of our World Cup.

And without them then we are back to just the old three nations playing rugby league. We are/were beginning to move away from that but the current NRL/Aus insular stance on reducing the number of internationals really doesn’t help this.

I have been told off for suggesting that some of our posters perhaps are motivated more by any chance to talk down our game rather than concern for it. Far be it for me to note that PNG is the second most populous country in the region, and could fill any stadium they care to build, such is their love of TGG. They have already shown that they will turn out in massive numbers for their stars, and as they slowly develop as a nation will be an ever greater presence in our game. In addition, Tonga’s love for its international side, and our game was aptly shown by their declaring a national holiday when Tonga beat the Aussies.

The “vision” set out by 2 of the posters on here could not be more divorced from the reality - it is telling that they never mention or comment on any actual players or teams, as they have no interest in what happens on the pitch. Nevertheless, in the Hannah Montana sweetness and light TRL land we now live in, it is always great to read any insights, even into how 9 million PNGers constitute a tiny group.

 

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1 hour ago, Big Picture said:

The West Indies in cricket is a good analogy for the Pacific Island countries in RL.

West Indies isn't one country, it's a composite team for a collection of countries.  It's likely the only way those countries can compete with the bigger, richer countries in cricket.  And unlike the Pacific Island countries in RL the West Indies is nowhere near the top of the tree in cricket; they finished 9th out of 10 teams in 2019 and were royally thrashed by New Zealand (by 143 runs!!) in a quarter-final four years before that.

So they don't disprove my point, quite the contrary in fact.

The West Indies are not a composite team for the reasons you are trying to cling to. They are an anachronism of the British Empire and were originally set up to represent English speaking colonies in the Caribbean. None of the countries that are members of the West Indies were independent states when the West Indies Cricket Board were formed. As the ICC sees areas represented by boards, like the England and Wales Cricket Board, and not countries per se this anachronism has never been an issue, for the majority anyhow.

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1 hour ago, Damien said:

Of course it does. Having more close, competitive teams at the top level and 6 competitive nations instead of 3 helps immensely. No one cares where those teams are from. The misconception that some like to throw at RL about it being only 3 countries is one of the biggest criticisms thrown at international RL. The England v Tonga 2017 World Cup final smashed perceptions in this country and no one cared how big Tonga is or what their economy is like. Just as they do not care in RU.

Do you have some evidence that the England vs Tonga World Cup semi-final "smashed perceptions" in the UK or is that just a presumption on your part?  It seems more likely to me that having a team representing a tiny little country like Tonga make the semi-finals is more likely to reinforce that negative perception of RL than change it considering that in other sports (soccer and RU both come to mind) countries like that hardly ever get to the knockout stages.

The West Indies can get a pass in cricket because of cricket's establishment connections and as @Damienpoints out that team is traditional and reflects the halcyon days of empire.  The Pacific Island teams in international RL don't have the same advantage.

1 hour ago, Exiled Wiganer said:

I have been told off for suggesting that some of our posters perhaps are motivated more by any chance to talk down our game rather than concern for it. Far be it for me to note that PNG is the second most populous country in the region, and could fill any stadium they care to build, such is their love of TGG. They have already shown that they will turn out in massive numbers for their stars, and as they slowly develop as a nation will be an ever greater presence in our game. In addition, Tonga’s love for its international side, and our game was aptly shown by their declaring a national holiday when Tonga beat the Aussies.

The “vision” set out by 2 of the posters on here could not be more divorced from the reality - it is telling that they never mention or comment on any actual players or teams, as they have no interest in what happens on the pitch. Nevertheless, in the Hannah Montana sweetness and light TRL land we now live in, it is always great to read any insights, even into how 9 million PNGers constitute a tiny group.

A number of posters have lamented the fact that the game's biggest pro league (the NRL) being located in what in world terms is a smallish country population-wise in an out of the way part of the world is a negative for the game.  That being the case, no matter how popular RL is in an even smaller country in that same out of the way part of the world such as PNG, that's not going to change much about negative views of RL based on the perception that it's a small time regional game with limited appeal.

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14 minutes ago, Big Picture said:

Do you have some evidence that the England vs Tonga World Cup semi-final "smashed perceptions" in the UK or is that just a presumption on your part?  It seems more likely to me that having a team representing a tiny little country like Tonga make the semi-finals is more likely to reinforce that negative perception of RL than change it considering that in other sports (soccer and RU both come to mind) countries like that hardly ever get to the knockout stages.

I live in the UK and it was quite evident in news outlets and through reaction on social media. I'm sure others can testify. People raved about the match, the close finish and the atmosphere, They couldn't believe that Tonga were that good or that anyone but the big 3 played RL and that fans of other countries other than the big 3 were that passionate about RL. The UK is a nation where many are completely oblivious to the fact that RL is bigger than RU in Australia and are amazed that we have more than 3 nations that play the game. The fact that we can hold a 16 team World Cup with a decent spread of nations from around the World surprises many in itself. Many are surprised the game is played in France. With that backdrop any competitive RL nation is good news and smashes preconceptions.

If you aren't aware of the impact that the Tonga game had and aren't based in the UK then it seems a little silly you proceeding to argue what is likely to you versus reality. As is trying to make out that people are obsessed about the size of a country when it is quite clear they are not. Even in Football when a country like Iceland gets to the quarter final of the Euros it is celebrated. No one bemoans a tiny country in NZ dominating RU either.

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24 minutes ago, Damien said:

I live in the UK and it was quite evident in news outlets and through reaction on social media. I'm sure others can testify. People raved about the match, the close finish and the atmosphere, They couldn't believe that Tonga were that good or that anyone but the big 3 played RL and that fans of other countries other than the big 3 were that passionate about RL. The UK is a nation where many are completely oblivious to the fact that RL is bigger than RU in Australia and are amazed that we have more than 3 nations that play the game. The fact that we can hold a 16 team World Cup with a decent spread of nations from around the World surprises many in itself. Many are surprised the game is played in France. With that backdrop any competitive RL nation is good news and smashes preconceptions.

If you aren't aware of the impact that the Tonga game had and aren't based in the UK then it seems a little silly you proceeding to argue what is likely to you versus reality. As is trying to make out that people are obsessed about the size of a country when it is quite clear they are not. Even in Football when a country like Iceland gets to the quarter final of the Euros it is celebrated. No one bemoans a tiny country in NZ dominating RU either.

I get that the Brits who heard about the match were surprised and those who saw it might well have raved about the match, the finish and the atmosphere.  Seeing that it was played in the early morning UK time (6 PM NZDT being 5 AM GMT), who else besides dedicated RL followers is in the latter group?  As for the others, being surprised by it is one thing and the important question is did it impress them?  That after all is what's needed to change perceptions of the sport.

Iceland in soccer doesn't counter anything I've said either, because making the quarter-finals of the Euros (only once to date) in a sport where as other posters have pointed out upsets are much more common than in RL is a far cry from making the semi-finals of a World Cup in a sport where upsets are few and far between.  Of course no one bemoans NZ being one of the top countries in establishment-connected RU, that sport's establishment connections give it an advantage.

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