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14 minutes ago, Dave T said:

RP - comments like that are aimed at SB and others who are absolutely saying we should be moving away from the SH teams thsi will replace it.

Oh ok.. i'm reading their posts as the fact the southern hemisphere are walking away from us, which i think is true, and we need to have other options. There is a potential they wont come over at the end of a season so we need to have an alternative. Your reading it slightly differently (which is the problem of the written word rather than spoken and either of us could be right on that).. fair enough i can see where you are coming from now on that, sorry. 

I am being a little more positive in that they will still come, maybe less regularly as individual nations but that we may get 1 touring each year, which i think is fine. Hence i'm looking more at midseason stuff. 

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5 hours ago, RP London said:

an England with no NRL players (due to obvious logistical reasons) should mean a good match up too.. its a great run out for those on the fringes of the England team, a reason for the group to get together. No one outside of RL will know that the team isnt 100% full strength but even if they do its not now uncommon for this to happen (at least 1 RU international in the autumn is with a weaker side, against a weaker side but its where some shocks happen). 

I'll bang this drum hard and as often as i can but why do we not want to play without our NRL players, surely we cant think we will be beaten without them otherwise the match with them would be closer and nullify the argument that with them it would be a walkover so lets not play! Get internationals on, no NRL players mean the walkover fear should be less, the exposure can only be positive and your building more real estate to sell to the TV companies down the line. 

Also, wouldn´t SL clubs want to promote their products players for commercial reasons not just bring in a load of nrl players, 

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1 hour ago, RP London said:

reading their posts as the fact the southern hemisphere are walking away from us

Yeah I honestly think you may only get Australia or New Zealand once every four years and that is not a serious product that you can build alongside a european tournament that england only take part in every 4 years. So you have to build something else, it´s that or we just pack it in. European nations plus one oceanic nation we pick off (PNG, Tonga, Samoa basically the team that doesn´t get to be in the proper oceanic cup). 

Begging Australia might be the ´strategic plan´ but it´s not a serious one. 

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8 hours ago, Dave T said:

I think we should be looking to rekindle some forms of series here in as many years of a four year cycle as we can.

Tonga and Samoa are hot property, and I really hope that their brand will grow at the world cup this year - if we could get two Southern Hemisphere teams to tour each year at the end of the year, then a Four/Five Nations Series could be played with a qualifier from the Euro Cup. That system was working - we saw Wales, France and Scotland get games and have a viable qualifying process. There is an argument for France to be in with England, then if the Kiwis and Tonga were over you either play 4N with Wales/Scot/Ire being included in tour games, or you stretch it to 5n, but that causes problems from a scheduling pov.

Or you have England/Kiwis/France +1 Euro, but I think that is far less of a draw than a 2nd SH team. 

And when we tour, we try and replicate the same.

 

7 hours ago, Dave T said:

 

I'll try and word this without seeming offensive - but England need to support the developing nations by dragging them up through bigger tournaments, not by joining them down in minor ones. That is probably the place we disagree to be honest.

The Pacific is in this exact same situation with England right now and I think that's what you're not seeing -  within 12 months Tonga was able to do achieve what England/GB had failed to do for the previous 13 years. An entire generation in Australia has only memories of NZ being the only nation capable of beating Australia and Tonga suddenly changed that.

Combine this fact with the context that Tonga are a massive drawcard in arguably the NRLs next most important target market in NZ with guaranteed sellouts in matches between NZ/Tonga/Samoa held there. The NZ tv deal just grew by 70% to over 30 million a year and the NRL are already putting out strong indications that the 18th team will be NZ2 - Tonga/Samoa/NZ/Australia internationals have exploded as the NRLs Origin equivalent to capitalise on exposure in this market before dropping in the 18th team. Given NZ have just had 3 years without professional RL/Internationals domestically there is a lot of work to be done here - we're already seeing this strategy in action with NZ/Tonga being the first match held in NZ in June.

You have plenty more faith than I if you think the NRLs plan for post-season internationals (will still be a relatively small window due to the clubs whining - 5/6 games max would be my guess unfortunately) is to dump matches between these nations in NZ and Aus in favour of sending them to the NH to play England. Fiji and PNG would be more likely prospects because they're slightly more independent of the NRL but again considering the current situation in the Pacific/NRLs ties to the government I wouldn't be surprised if holding matches domestically for those nations was higher on the priority list after the Oceanic Cup.

While I would love to be wrong and for the calendar to be extended past the likely 5-6 games to incorporate England it just doesn't line up with the NRLs strategic objectives at the moment, as such this notion that you'll get 2-3 Nations to tour every year is in all likelihood pure fantasy. 

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The NRL fail to understand that rugby league is not a domestic only product like the AFL. 

They are yet to get the balance right with international football still. 

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"There has never been a Challenge Cup semifinal of 65,000 either individually or combined" - Damien

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13 hours ago, Damien said:

You are comparing apples and pears here.

In Football, RU or Cricket they do not play these nations every year in a tournament, which is the suggestion. They actually play these kinds of nations very infrequently, unless they have to in a qualifier or World Cup. Its really not that different to RL.

The clear point is that people readily accept that at football England will play at least one or two minnows each year in Qualifying for tournaments.  Why is there a difference between playing San Marino, Liechtenstein, Faroe Islands at football and England playing Wales, Scotland,Ireland or France at RL? 

In cricket the 20/20 World Cup to be held every 2 years offers 4 spots for ‘minnows’ to participate.

In RU, England play Italy every year in the 6 Nations and England easily beat them every time.  If this was RL Italy would have been thrown out after year 2!

If RL goes to a 14 team league it gives 2/3 weeks for RL internationals.  Why not have a European Championship every 2 years …. the year before a WC to raise the profile of the WC and one the year after a WC to build on momentum.  The tournaments can be held in the summer so that other internationals against SH teams can take place in Autumn.

What is your way forward for NH teams at international level?

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1 hour ago, Adelaide Tiger said:

The clear point is that people readily accept that at football England will play at least one or two minnows each year in Qualifying for tournaments.  Why is there a difference between playing San Marino, Liechtenstein, Faroe Islands at football and England playing Wales, Scotland,Ireland or France at RL? 

In cricket the 20/20 World Cup to be held every 2 years offers 4 spots for ‘minnows’ to participate.

In RU, England play Italy every year in the 6 Nations and England easily beat them every time.  If this was RL Italy would have been thrown out after year 2!

If RL goes to a 14 team league it gives 2/3 weeks for RL internationals.  Why not have a European Championship every 2 years …. the year before a WC to raise the profile of the WC and one the year after a WC to build on momentum.  The tournaments can be held in the summer so that other internationals against SH teams can take place in Autumn.

What is your way forward for NH teams at international level?

None of that is the debate here. Sure, play these lesser nations, if you take the time to read the posts nobody is against that - but on a thread about growing the game and what IMG should be doing, the suggestion that we should be focusing on a tri-nations with Wales and France and not SH nations is silly. 

Playing Wales and France annually will not be any kind of game changer in the slightest. 

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, RP London said:

Oh ok.. i'm reading their posts as the fact the southern hemisphere are walking away from us, which i think is true, and we need to have other options.

Everyone seems to conveniently forget that there would have been a Kangaroo Tour in 2019. Certainly putting a man in charge who went on four Kangaroo Tours, Mal Meninga, only supports the argument that the NRL wanted to reinstate this as regular fixture every four years. For Christs sakes we got a Kangaroo front of shirt sponsor, Gallaghers, a multinational British based insurance company, for the first time in donkey`s years probably on the back of the Kangaroo Tour and the World Cup and an on-going reengagement with international Rugby League.

That leaves only two vacant end-of-seasons every four years. They`re the two you are going to have to fill.

Perhaps: no touring SH Test teams following WC years; Kangaroo tour second year ( four year cycle) and third year maybe you can lure the Kiwis or one of the Pacific nations up for a month long tournament and fourth year WC again.

The IMG statement very clearly stated in point three and four;

#SuperLeague relegation could be scrapped

📺 Big invesment in streaming

🏉🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 More focus on international matches

🇦🇺 Closer ties with Australia's NRL

Personally I would have thought that point four would come before point three, but if this IMG is the $2 billion dollar company I`m hearing, if they come to the NRL waving a big enough carrot, given V`landy`s nose for a carrot, they will make it work somehow, but it`ll want to be a juicy carrot because I doubt he`ll do it out of the goodness of his heart.

Edited by The Rocket
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6 hours ago, UTK said:

 

The Pacific is in this exact same situation with England right now and I think that's what you're not seeing -  within 12 months Tonga was able to do achieve what England/GB had failed to do for the previous 13 years. An entire generation in Australia has only memories of NZ being the only nation capable of beating Australia and Tonga suddenly changed that.

Combine this fact with the context that Tonga are a massive drawcard in arguably the NRLs next most important target market in NZ with guaranteed sellouts in matches between NZ/Tonga/Samoa held there. The NZ tv deal just grew by 70% to over 30 million a year and the NRL are already putting out strong indications that the 18th team will be NZ2 - Tonga/Samoa/NZ/Australia internationals have exploded as the NRLs Origin equivalent to capitalise on exposure in this market before dropping in the 18th team. Given NZ have just had 3 years without professional RL/Internationals domestically there is a lot of work to be done here - we're already seeing this strategy in action with NZ/Tonga being the first match held in NZ in June.

You have plenty more faith than I if you think the NRLs plan for post-season internationals (will still be a relatively small window due to the clubs whining - 5/6 games max would be my guess unfortunately) is to dump matches between these nations in NZ and Aus in favour of sending them to the NH to play England. Fiji and PNG would be more likely prospects because they're slightly more independent of the NRL but again considering the current situation in the Pacific/NRLs ties to the government I wouldn't be surprised if holding matches domestically for those nations was higher on the priority list after the Oceanic Cup.

While I would love to be wrong and for the calendar to be extended past the likely 5-6 games to incorporate England it just doesn't line up with the NRLs strategic objectives at the moment, as such this notion that you'll get 2-3 Nations to tour every year is in all likelihood pure fantasy. 

I'd say you are over-thinking this, and I understand the negativity towards the Aussies in the way they acted around the World Cup, but I have no doubts that Aus and NZ will continue to play a prominent part in end of season tests with England. 

We don't need to overstate the Oceania Cup - it's two games FFS, and the Aussies even showed that they are happy to pull out of that tournament to tour here for an Ashes series. 

People need to get over the last couple of years and understand that the pandemic was unprecedented and stop being childish with claims like we are begging SH teams. 

In reality, the most commercially viable internationals are in England. The Aussies may not be as into internationals as us, but them and the Kiwis have toured for the history of the game, and will continue to do so. 

IMG would be wise to focus on extending that beyond those two and push to engage the new kids of Tonga etc. 

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6 minutes ago, The Rocket said:

Everyone seems to conveniently forget that there would have been a Kangaroo Tour in 2019. Certainly putting a man in charge who went on four Kangaroo Tours, Mal Meninga, only supports the argument that the NRL wanted to reinstate this as regular fixture every four years. For Christs sakes we got a Kangaroo front of shirt sponsor, Gallaghers, a multinational British based insurance company, for the first time in donkey`s years probably on the back of the Kangaroo Tour and the World Cup and an on-going reengagement with international Rugby League.

That leaves only two vacant end-of-seasons every four years. They`re the two you are going to have to fill.

Perhaps: no touring SH Test teams following WC years; Kangaroo tour second year ( four year cycle) and third year maybe you can lure the Kiwis or one of the Pacific nations up for a month long tournament and fourth year WC again.

The IMG statement very clearly stated in point three and four;

#SuperLeague relegation could be scrapped

📺 Big invesment in streaming

🏉🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 More focus on international matches

🇦🇺 Closer ties with Australia's NRL

Personally I would have thought that point four would come before point three, but if this IMG is the $2 billion dollar company I`m hearing, if they come to the NRL waving a big enough carrot, given V`landy`s nose for a carrot, they will make it work somehow, but it`ll want to be a juicy carrot because I doubt he`ll do it out of the goodness of his heart.

Thank you Rocket. 

People point to the Oceania Cup as a problem, yet ignore the fact the Aussies were not bothering with that to come and play in England, and ignore it again in 2021 to come for the WC. 

As you rightly say, money talks. 

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Posted (edited)
50 minutes ago, The Rocket said:

Everyone seems to conveniently forget that there would have been a Kangaroo Tour in 2019. Certainly putting a man in charge who went on four Kangaroo Tours, Mal Meninga, only supports the argument that the NRL wanted to reinstate this as regular fixture every four years. For Christs sakes we got a Kangaroo front of shirt sponsor, Gallaghers, a multinational British based insurance company, for the first time in donkey`s years probably on the back of the Kangaroo Tour and the World Cup and an on-going reengagement with international Rugby League.

That leaves only two vacant end-of-seasons every four years. They`re the two you are going to have to fill.

Perhaps: no touring SH Test teams following WC years; Kangaroo tour second year ( four year cycle) and third year maybe you can lure the Kiwis or one of the Pacific nations up for a month long tournament and fourth year WC again.

The IMG statement very clearly stated in point three and four;

#SuperLeague relegation could be scrapped

📺 Big invesment in streaming

🏉🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 More focus on international matches

🇦🇺 Closer ties with Australia's NRL

Personally I would have thought that point four would come before point three, but if this IMG is the $2 billion dollar company I`m hearing, if they come to the NRL waving a big enough carrot, given V`landy`s nose for a carrot, they will make it work somehow, but it`ll want to be a juicy carrot because I doubt he`ll do it out of the goodness of his heart.

I dont disagree and i am not at anytime saying that you play Wales and France instead of the end of season SH matches if they come or we go over there. Its about mid season work which IMHO is hugely important in getting new people interested because its not a one off hit then wait for months before the next bit of RL on tv (hence the bit of my post that you didnt quote where I said i think they will come but it will be only 1 and as individual nations it may be less often)

I also disagree with @Dave T that playing Wales or France will not be any kind of game changer.. not in itself (and maybe not Wales) but this with a strategic plan for France could make big strides in growing the game in France again which in turn helps the UK game IMHO. 

Coming out of the pandemic we dont know how that will affect attitudes around touring, especially with a country that always seemed reluctant (and I know they pulled out of the oceanic cup for the ashes etc but it always feels like your pulling teeth getting the aussies to agree to anything). 

Its not, and never will be, a zero sum game... we should be having end of season games and mid season games, if we tour Aus we CANNOT have a year with no home internationals, that is just an embarrassment and it is happening far too often. We have to put the time in to build something. Get 2 tests against France mid season at the least IMO one in France one in the UK and then lets go from there. 

Edited by RP London
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7 minutes ago, RP London said:

I dont disagree and i am not at anytime saying that you play Wales and France instead of the end of season SH matches if they come or we go over there. Its about mid season work which IMHO is hugely important in getting new people interested because its not a one off hit then wait for months before the next bit of RL on tv. I also disagree with @Dave T that playing Wales or France will not be any kind of game changer.. not in itself (and maybe not Wales) but this with a strategic plan for France could make big strides in growing the game in France again which in turn helps the UK game IMHO. 

Coming out of the pandemic we dont know how that will affect attitudes around touring, especially with a country that always seemed reluctant (and I know they pulled out of the oceanic cup for the ashes etc but it always feels like your pulling teeth getting the aussies to agree to anything). 

Its not, and never will be, a zero sum game... we should be having end of season games and mid season games, if we tour Aus we CANNOT have a year with no home internationals, that is just an embarrassment and it is happening far too often. We have to put the time in to build something. Get 2 tests against France mid season at the least IMO one in France one in the UK and then lets go from there. 

I can see the argument for France. We do sort of have a plan happening there. We now have two SL clubs in France, with more French players than ever in the comp. Who knows whether that becomes permanent or even more in a future structure? 

We also have a 2025 World Cup, which should deliver growth. 

So I'm all for more games against France, although we need to be careful to rmemeber that they need to step up themselves, as quite often France RL are a basket case, but that does appear to be improving. 

Whether that is mid-season (I don't think Catalans and Toulouse would be too supportive) or as part of end of season comps, Im not too fussed. 

There is also more that can be done within France that could benefit SL in particular, we currently get £0 and I can't believe that is the full potential value! 

So I think there is a strong argument for IMG to want to focus on France, and more internationals for them would be expected to be part of that. 

I'm for targeted focused strategies, something we often struggle with and I think France could be near the top of the list there. 

Wales are a completely different proposition, and I know you aren't pushing this too much, but this discussion started based on an Annual Tri series including Wales. Rugby Union struggles to create strong clubs in Wales, I'm not sure how we are going to go in and do any better. I think there is potential there around grassroots, and the focus should be like Newcastle, but in reality, Wales are miles off being in annual comps with England. That's not to say they should not play Eng, Aus, NZ etc. but we are barking up the wrong tree if we think Wales at Test level are offering any kind of commercial value (and let's remember this whole thread is about commercial value). 

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1 hour ago, Dave T said:

I'd say you are over-thinking this, and I understand the negativity towards the Aussies in the way they acted around the World Cup, but I have no doubts that Aus and NZ will continue to play a prominent part in end of season tests with England. 

We don't need to overstate the Oceania Cup - it's two games FFS, and the Aussies even showed that they are happy to pull out of that tournament to tour here for an Ashes series. 

People need to get over the last couple of years and understand that the pandemic was unprecedented and stop being childish with claims like we are begging SH teams. 

In reality, the most commercially viable internationals are in England. The Aussies may not be as into internationals as us, but them and the Kiwis have toured for the history of the game, and will continue to do so. 

IMG would be wise to focus on extending that beyond those two and push to engage the new kids of Tonga etc. 

I'd wager expansion of the Oceanic Cup beyond 2 games is a certainty as the 2019 edition was essentially a concept tester that was very successful - especially in the current context of NZ.

Lots has happened between the organisation of that Ashes tour and now, Tonga beat Australia, the NZ tv deal has given the NRL genuine reason to go there for the 18th team, Australia didn't bother playing GB even though they were touring, GB got whitewashed on said tour by Pacific Nations, NZ had three years without pro RL on their shores.

Can IMG investment entice the NRL to do something that isn't necessarily in their best interests? Maybe. 

It'll have to be something massive to put their own interests in NZ on the backburner in favour of helping out England.

 

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14 hours ago, Dave T said:

There isn't. Not for the product that we can offer them, say next year. And remember the post I responded to said that he doesn't want existing fans - this is for newbies.

Your examples are irrelevant - when England play San Marino they get a crowd built up on the England football brand, but the crowd will be lower than other games. Same in the RUWC where England can fill Twickenham no matter who they play. 

England RL in the world cup have shown they can get decent crowds - but that isn't what is being proposed here. 

We have seen over the years what an England v Wales Test match brings in - not very many!

What these other sports have done is exactly what we should be doing - they integrate the smaller nations into successful tournaments - we did it with the 4N and have done it with the World Cup. That is what your post is advocating.

What is being proposed is England RU setting up an annual tournament with Romania and Georgia - but even worse because England RL doesn't have the sound footing that England RU does.

But you have rather missed the point - I'm not concerned with mis-matches - we will get plenty in the World Cup I expect, but going out of your way to organise a new standalone tournament that is a mis-match is not something anyone is clamouring to do. Do you have any examples of that?

A lot to respond to there DaveT.  But here goes.

Para 1.  Putting established fans to one side.  I believe that a newbie may be more attracted to either attending or watching an international event involving their country than ever attending a RL club game.

Para 2. Are you saying that because home nation RL teams are not regarded as ‘big’ brands then we should not bother with international games?  I am no marketing guru but I would advise that the only way you build a brand is to expose potential customers to it. Therefore I would argue that the only way to build an ‘England’ or ‘Wales’ or ‘Scotland’ etc, RL brand is to expose more people/newbies to more international games and games that involve the best that RL has to offer in the NH. 

Para 3. It is NOT ALL about England!  England do get decent crowds in RL tournaments.  My point is that I want other home nations to increase their crowds. By offering a greater number of international games including regular games against England the we might just do that.

Para 4. I agree.  But by not holding regular fixtures within a tournament structure involving England surely contributes to the lack of numbers and apathy.  I.e. England v Wales in a European Championship - not a stand alone fixture - may attract 10k and be televised but in previous years games in that competition, without England, have struggled for four figures.

Para 5. Yes I support integrating countries into tournaments.  But for Gods sake give the ‘lesser’ countries a fighting chance by exposing them to higher class opponents on a regular basis.  Throwing Scotland for example into a 4 Nations tournament without them playing a tier 1 team since Brigadoon was last sighted is not conducive to them doing well.

Para 6. Don’t understand this paragraph unless you are saying that England v Wales/Scotland/Ireland at RL is akin to England playing Georgia/Romania at RU.  If so, we all know that the RU example would never be implemented as RU has a long history of international presence in the NH.  Meanwhile international RL in the NH remains invisible.  That is a sad indictment on the game in the NH.

Para 7. Here is the big issue.

You have to start somewhere.  Developing NH nations so that in years to come they may have a greater playing pool, more local teams, more income, more supporters and more viewers taking an active interest takes years and years of hard graft and pain … and it might not work.  But if we want RL to become more established in all home countries and France then we cannot sit back and wait till other home nations can challenge England before we organise a regular tournament.  That day will never arrive.

IMHO the only option is to organise a bi-annual RL European Championship including England.  Ok, England should win their games in the first few years by 50 points but the other games in the tournament will be closer affairs. We have to realise that the long term objective is to create a tournament where eventually England will be beaten.  Without the attraction of England then international RL in the NH will remain invisible and the opportunity to attract existing followers and a new audience to attend or view international RL is wasted. 

Your last sentence.  No, I cannot think of a sport that today would offer a tournament where one team is so far ahead in terms of ability.  And do you know why?  That is because other sports took that route many, many, many years ago without fear to spread their game.

 

 

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18 hours ago, Jughead said:

Looking at past attendances, there is less interest in England football playing a San Marino, Andorra or the like than there is against bigger nations and it would appear that the same is true of Rugby League, looking at attendances of games against France in the past in non-tournament fixtures. 

But the point is that although there may be less interest in England playing Andorra as they did recently, they DID play them and no one said that the game should not go ahead because of the huge gulf in quality of the teams.  Football can quite happily live with that discrepancy.

Meanwhile expecting a one-off game between England and France at RL to be successful is like plaiting fog!  If the game only attracts 5k then we hear the dry of ‘It’s not worth the bother’.  So that plan is ditched.  Games have to mean something!

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1 minute ago, Adelaide Tiger said:

But the point is that although there may be less interest in England playing Andorra as they did recently, they DID play them and no one said that the game should not go ahead because of the huge gulf in quality of the teams.  Football can quite happily live with that discrepancy.

Meanwhile expecting a one-off game between England and France at RL to be successful is like plaiting fog!  If the game only attracts 5k then we hear the dry of ‘It’s not worth the bother’.  So that plan is ditched.  Games have to mean something!

England don’t play San Marino or Andorra annually, as many suggest we should do with Wales or France, they play those nations as meaningful games in qualifiers for major tournaments, although they’re very much a forgone conclusion. That’s the difference. 
 

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Adelaide Tiger said:

The clear point is that people readily accept that at football England will play at least one or two minnows each year in Qualifying for tournaments.  Why is there a difference between playing San Marino, Liechtenstein, Faroe Islands at football and England playing Wales, Scotland,Ireland or France at RL? 

In cricket the 20/20 World Cup to be held every 2 years offers 4 spots for ‘minnows’ to participate.

In RU, England play Italy every year in the 6 Nations and England easily beat them every time.  If this was RL Italy would have been thrown out after year 2!

If RL goes to a 14 team league it gives 2/3 weeks for RL internationals.  Why not have a European Championship every 2 years …. the year before a WC to raise the profile of the WC and one the year after a WC to build on momentum.  The tournaments can be held in the summer so that other internationals against SH teams can take place in Autumn.

What is your way forward for NH teams at international level?

That wasn't the debate. We were talking about growing the game on a strategic level and you started to compare apples and pears. Almost every comparison you can make with football, and it happens often on here, is worthless as the sports operate in such different spheres 

I have already said what the northern hemisphere needs to do to grow the game in Wales and France. That is a heck of a lot more than just playing Wales and France once a year and thinking that is going to make a difference. Everything remaining as it is now then England walloping Wales once a year does nothing for Wales, it does not grow the game there and does not grow the international. Same to a lesser degree with France. Pushing these things when countries are way off what's needed can certainly do more harm than good to the development in those countries and/or the concept too.

I have long advocated mid season matches against Wales and France, maybe more often France because they are much more advanced at the moment. My posts have always been clear on this. However to me it's incredibly simplistic to think that just by playing these teams more often that these teams will just get hugely better. They won't as they have few elite level players to pick from. It's not a lack of games that really holds them back its a lack of players and clubs.

As I said previously on a strategic level you need to work to increase the pool and clubs that these countries have to pick from. Without that you are flogging a dead horse when it comes to internationals. Discussions whether we should have standalone games tri nations or European championships is all fluff unless as a game we take that strategic decision to build these countries up. Then we can make real progress with internationals.

Edited by Damien
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2 hours ago, The Rocket said:

Everyone seems to conveniently forget that there would have been a Kangaroo Tour in 2019. Certainly putting a man in charge who went on four Kangaroo Tours, Mal Meninga, only supports the argument that the NRL wanted to reinstate this as regular fixture every four years. For Christs sakes we got a Kangaroo front of shirt sponsor, Gallaghers, a multinational British based insurance company, for the first time in donkey`s years probably on the back of the Kangaroo Tour and the World Cup and an on-going reengagement with international Rugby League.

Bingo. People forget that international Rugby League is far more profitable in England than elsewhere. That is why Kiwis love touring here and why the Aussies traditionally do too.

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1 hour ago, UTK said:

I'd wager expansion of the Oceanic Cup beyond 2 games is a certainty as the 2019 edition was essentially a concept tester that was very successful - especially in the current context of NZ.

Lots has happened between the organisation of that Ashes tour and now, Tonga beat Australia, the NZ tv deal has given the NRL genuine reason to go there for the 18th team, Australia didn't bother playing GB even though they were touring, GB got whitewashed on said tour by Pacific Nations, NZ had three years without pro RL on their shores.

Can IMG investment entice the NRL to do something that isn't necessarily in their best interests? Maybe. 

It'll have to be something massive to put their own interests in NZ on the backburner in favour of helping out England.

 

I'd be stunned if the Aussies put all of their efforts into the Oceania Cup, as quite simply it would mean that they would have to stage international games, which has never really been their thing in modern times. Even much of the stuff they do are double or triple headers, or staging events in a way that gets a reward for minimal effort. There aren't the indications there that they are likely to abandon over a hundred years of Test history for this cup - quite the opposite - they have shown that they were happy to play in it it 2019 and then abandon it for 2020 and 2021 to come to the UK.

I accept the risk you present, but an assessment of that would not rank it excessively high.

The Aussies have never really been able to capitalise on international RL in modern times - in reality, the money to be made is in the UK (and we are miles off where we should be).

There is a place for all of these games if it makes commercial sense.

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56 minutes ago, Adelaide Tiger said:

A lot to respond to there DaveT.  But here goes.

Para 1.  Putting established fans to one side.  I believe that a newbie may be more attracted to either attending or watching an international event involving their country than ever attending a RL club game.

Para 2. Are you saying that because home nation RL teams are not regarded as ‘big’ brands then we should not bother with international games?  I am no marketing guru but I would advise that the only way you build a brand is to expose potential customers to it. Therefore I would argue that the only way to build an ‘England’ or ‘Wales’ or ‘Scotland’ etc, RL brand is to expose more people/newbies to more international games and games that involve the best that RL has to offer in the NH. 

Para 3. It is NOT ALL about England!  England do get decent crowds in RL tournaments.  My point is that I want other home nations to increase their crowds. By offering a greater number of international games including regular games against England the we might just do that.

Para 4. I agree.  But by not holding regular fixtures within a tournament structure involving England surely contributes to the lack of numbers and apathy.  I.e. England v Wales in a European Championship - not a stand alone fixture - may attract 10k and be televised but in previous years games in that competition, without England, have struggled for four figures.

Para 5. Yes I support integrating countries into tournaments.  But for Gods sake give the ‘lesser’ countries a fighting chance by exposing them to higher class opponents on a regular basis.  Throwing Scotland for example into a 4 Nations tournament without them playing a tier 1 team since Brigadoon was last sighted is not conducive to them doing well.

Para 6. Don’t understand this paragraph unless you are saying that England v Wales/Scotland/Ireland at RL is akin to England playing Georgia/Romania at RU.  If so, we all know that the RU example would never be implemented as RU has a long history of international presence in the NH.  Meanwhile international RL in the NH remains invisible.  That is a sad indictment on the game in the NH.

Para 7. Here is the big issue.

You have to start somewhere.  Developing NH nations so that in years to come they may have a greater playing pool, more local teams, more income, more supporters and more viewers taking an active interest takes years and years of hard graft and pain … and it might not work.  But if we want RL to become more established in all home countries and France then we cannot sit back and wait till other home nations can challenge England before we organise a regular tournament.  That day will never arrive.

IMHO the only option is to organise a bi-annual RL European Championship including England.  Ok, England should win their games in the first few years by 50 points but the other games in the tournament will be closer affairs. We have to realise that the long term objective is to create a tournament where eventually England will be beaten.  Without the attraction of England then international RL in the NH will remain invisible and the opportunity to attract existing followers and a new audience to attend or view international RL is wasted. 

Your last sentence.  No, I cannot think of a sport that today would offer a tournament where one team is so far ahead in terms of ability.  And do you know why?  That is because other sports took that route many, many, many years ago without fear to spread their game.

 

 

1 - The starting point would be to look at the evidence. Welsh fans have little desire to watch their team get battered by England. In fact lets look at the Welsh interest in recent years in credible Tests. I've kept out the Euro Cup games, which generally see around 1k fans):

2016 WC Qualifier v Serbia (902 @ Llanelli)

2013 WC v Cook Islands (3.3k)

2013 WC v USA (8k)

2013 WC v Italy (45k in a double header with Eng v Aus)

2012 Tri_nations v Eng (4k at Wrexham)

2012 mid-season Test v France (1.5k at Wrexham)

2011 4N - v Australia (5.2k at Wrexham)

2011 4n warmup - v Ireland (2.2k v Ireland)

There is an argument that these are 'new' fans - and if they aren't why haven't they shown the slightest bit of interest so far? 

2. No, nobody has said that, so I won't bother to reply to this point.

3. You are making it all about England. Wales play tests and World Cups with no growth. I'm not sure how that makes them at the forefront of commercial growth that IMG should look at. This whole discussion has become that Wales can get a bigger crowd when they play England. Of course they can - but where is the real value to the game? An extra 2k at Wrexham is not doing much.

4. The 2013 WC included England, and we ended up with 3k in Neath. the 2011 4N included England (and Aus and NZ) and we got 5k in Wrexham. I get the principle of what you are saying, but in reality we may go from 1k crowds to 6k, which would then tail off as the mis-match becomes evident. England RL are not that much of a draw in Hull, never mind Cardiff!

5. As part of the integration, we do need to look at games between Tiers 1 and 2 (for want of a better phrase) - I agree on this. But that doesn't come by just organising random games or creating tournaments that are unattractive. There is the elephant in the room as well of many of these nations not really being much more than a handful of amateurs, volunteers, a kit and a bunch of heritage players. 

6. This is flawed - and with this emotional thinking it is no wonder you come to the conclusions you are. International RL may not be where we want it to be, but we are due a large WC this year, on the back of the biggest ever a decade ago, the pandemic has put paid to an Ashes that showed more ambition than a series for a long time, and we have played some other major tournaments here during the last decade - with games at Wembley, Olympic Stadium, Elland Road, Anfield etc. 

7. Your last para is just weird thinking. There is literally no logic to it whatsoever. It just doesn't justify organising weak tournaments and blindly saying they will grow into something big. We are trying to put the cherry on top of an empty cake tin.

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Dave T said:

The Aussies have never really been able to capitalise on international RL in modern times - in reality, the money to be made is in the UK (and we are miles off where we should be).

This could change very quickly though I suspect if NZ, Tonga, Samoa and Fiji  can reach their potential. 

If the Kiwis, who I think are the most likely, can start beating us as often or more often than we beat them Australian audiences will sit up and take notice pretty quickly. Union does not have a mortgage on Bledisloe Cup size crowds and ratings in either country if the Kiwi`s in League are seriously and consistently competitive.

Like it or not there is a credibility gap with international League that is going to take a while to correct, but once corrected it will pretty quickly feed into crowds, ratings and broadcast rights value.

The bad news for SL/IMG is that it will cost more to entice them up there, the good news, they will be worth more, when and if they do.

 

 

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11 minutes ago, The Rocket said:

This could change very quickly though I suspect if NZ, Tonga, Samoa and Fiji  can reach their potential. 

If the Kiwis, who I think are the most likely, can start beating us as often or more often than we beat them Australian audiences will sit up and take notice pretty quickly. Union does not have a mortgage on Bledisloe Cup size crowds and ratings in either country if the Kiwi`s in League are seriously and consistently competitive.

Like it or not there is a credibility gap with international League that is going to take a while to correct, but once corrected it will pretty quickly feed into crowds, ratings and broadcast rights value.

The bad news for SL/IMG is that it will cost more to entice them up there, the good news, they will be worth more, when and if they do.

 

 

We shouldn't be afraid of the Aussies playing these teams - in fact it's what we've been wanting for years. 

The Aussies have had the Kiwis for years, and the Kiwis have beaten them pretty regularly including in major games, yet that last Oceania Cup still saw them get 18k in Wollongong (iirc). The Aussies and Kiwis could have made themselves massive already, everything they needed has been there for the last 15 to 20 years. 

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28 minutes ago, Dave T said:

1 - The starting point would be to look at the evidence. Welsh fans have little desire to watch their team get battered by England. In fact lets look at the Welsh interest in recent years in credible Tests. I've kept out the Euro Cup games, which generally see around 1k fans):

2016 WC Qualifier v Serbia (902 @ Llanelli)

2013 WC v Cook Islands (3.3k)

2013 WC v USA (8k)

2013 WC v Italy (45k in a double header with Eng v Aus)

2012 Tri_nations v Eng (4k at Wrexham)

2012 mid-season Test v France (1.5k at Wrexham)

2011 4N - v Australia (5.2k at Wrexham)

2011 4n warmup - v Ireland (2.2k v Ireland)

There is an argument that these are 'new' fans - and if they aren't why haven't they shown the slightest bit of interest so far? 

2. No, nobody has said that, so I won't bother to reply to this point.

3. You are making it all about England. Wales play tests and World Cups with no growth. I'm not sure how that makes them at the forefront of commercial growth that IMG should look at. This whole discussion has become that Wales can get a bigger crowd when they play England. Of course they can - but where is the real value to the game? An extra 2k at Wrexham is not doing much.

4. The 2013 WC included England, and we ended up with 3k in Neath. the 2011 4N included England (and Aus and NZ) and we got 5k in Wrexham. I get the principle of what you are saying, but in reality we may go from 1k crowds to 6k, which would then tail off as the mis-match becomes evident. England RL are not that much of a draw in Hull, never mind Cardiff!

5. As part of the integration, we do need to look at games between Tiers 1 and 2 (for want of a better phrase) - I agree on this. But that doesn't come by just organising random games or creating tournaments that are unattractive. There is the elephant in the room as well of many of these nations not really being much more than a handful of amateurs, volunteers, a kit and a bunch of heritage players. 

6. This is flawed - and with this emotional thinking it is no wonder you come to the conclusions you are. International RL may not be where we want it to be, but we are due a large WC this year, on the back of the biggest ever a decade ago, the pandemic has put paid to an Ashes that showed more ambition than a series for a long time, and we have played some other major tournaments here during the last decade - with games at Wembley, Olympic Stadium, Elland Road, Anfield etc. 

7. Your last para is just weird thinking. There is literally no logic to it whatsoever. It just doesn't justify organising weak tournaments and blindly saying they will grow into something big. We are trying to put the cherry on top of an empty cake tin.

 

 

When's your next time and motion appraisal?

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3 minutes ago, Dave T said:

We shouldn't be afraid of the Aussies playing these teams - in fact it's what we've been wanting for years. 

The Aussies have had the Kiwis for years, and the Kiwis have beaten them pretty regularly including in major games, yet that last Oceania Cup still saw them get 18k in Wollongong (iirc). The Aussies and Kiwis could have made themselves massive already, everything they needed has been there for the last 15 to 20 years. 

But they'll get it right next time, just you see.

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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 hour ago, Jughead said:

England don’t play San Marino or Andorra annually, as many suggest we should do with Wales or France, they play those nations as meaningful games in qualifiers for major tournaments, although they’re very much a forgone conclusion. That’s the difference. 
 

So England football team playing one or two minnows - who are lucky to have a shot on target - each year is acceptable to you.

But England RL playing in a tournament, say every 2 years against teams such as Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France or even Jamaica is not!

No wonder international RL is derided.

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