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England vs Samoa Series


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1 hour ago, nadera78 said:

The introduction of SL gave us an opportunity to really develop France and Wales (London too). We didn't take it. The early 00s gave us an opportunity to really develop Lebanon and Serbia. We didn't take it. We currently have an opportunity to develop Greece. I think we all know what's going to happen there.

We're paying the price for never really taking the bull by the horns and doing what was necessary to develop the sport outside of the M62 corridor and now suddenly everyone's panicking. If this doesn't make a few people sit up and re-assess where we are as a sport then nothing will.

100% this. The sport has bumbled along thinking we'll always have the Kangaroos and Kiwis.

Now we're getting turned down by Samoa and have very little to choose from.

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9 hours ago, Damien said:

If England play France and Wales 20 times each next year I'm not convinced there would be any significant improvement from game 1 to game 20 if nothing else changes.

A second French club in SL for a few years would help France significantly more than playing more games. 

I would still play them but it is not as simple as just playing more games and expecting France and Wales to be remotely competitive. 

Good point. 

From a kiwis perspective they need to go hand in hand. The professional player pool of French Players playing in SL needs to increase to a consistent percentage per player in SL (I belive there are 25% Kiwis or kiwi eligible players currently playing in the NRL and growing year on year). That type of player pool to select from will then provide a good base to then play internationals against the likes of England.

As we saw with the Kiwis playing more tests is important as well. We lost against the Kangaroos then one week later we beat them 30-0. We only would've known about the second result because we got to play them again and correct our errors etc. It proved though that the Kangaroos weren't unbeatable but you needed the extra game to prove it. Now you could've had a 3 test series built off those 2 performance based on hindsight.

Now the kiwis did have the top tier of players to be able to correct those mistakes and put on a performance in the Final, in front of a home crowd, a poor crowd but a home crowd nonetheless. 

A 2 test series against France is probably the right number of games but you also wouldn't see the marked improvement in a second game like the kiwis because of the quality of player but you could see some improvement. it may be 50-12 in the first game in england, then it might be 36-18 in france. Its improvement and you've given the french some data to see where they stand. 

But youre absolutely right until they can get a percentage of french players in the SL system it will continue to be a blowout each time they play. It could grow as French players became popular SL players it would then translate to the internationals. 

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11 hours ago, Damien said:

If England play France and Wales 20 times each next year I'm not convinced there would be any significant improvement from game 1 to game 20 if nothing else changes.

A second French club in SL for a few years would help France significantly more than playing more games. 

I would still play them but it is not as simple as just playing more games and expecting France and Wales to be remotely competitive. 


Like you say the focus needs to be on getting more Professional players. For France Toulouse is the obvious one and hopefully they can keep their top 12 grading spot and be in Super League for several years starting from 2025.

Incentives to get more French players over to English clubs and NRL clubs for that matter is another avenue that should be looked at, preferably at a younger age if possible.

A different angle would be revisiting the Pacifique Treize idea. That could hopefully be looked at again with the government $ being splashed around the Pacific. Another source of players from New Caledonia playing in the Australian systems could be very handy in the medium-long term if it comes off.

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6 hours ago, Wahs Up said:

Good point. 

From a kiwis perspective they need to go hand in hand. The professional player pool of French Players playing in SL needs to increase to a consistent percentage per player in SL (I belive there are 25% Kiwis or kiwi eligible players currently playing in the NRL and growing year on year). That type of player pool to select from will then provide a good base to then play internationals against the likes of England.

As we saw with the Kiwis playing more tests is important as well. We lost against the Kangaroos then one week later we beat them 30-0. We only would've known about the second result because we got to play them again and correct our errors etc. It proved though that the Kangaroos weren't unbeatable but you needed the extra game to prove it. Now you could've had a 3 test series built off those 2 performance based on hindsight.

Now the kiwis did have the top tier of players to be able to correct those mistakes and put on a performance in the Final, in front of a home crowd, a poor crowd but a home crowd nonetheless. 

A 2 test series against France is probably the right number of games but you also wouldn't see the marked improvement in a second game like the kiwis because of the quality of player but you could see some improvement. it may be 50-12 in the first game in england, then it might be 36-18 in france. Its improvement and you've given the french some data to see where they stand. 

But youre absolutely right until they can get a percentage of french players in the SL system it will continue to be a blowout each time they play. It could grow as French players became popular SL players it would then translate to the internationals. 

I think this is a good point, worth thinking about, and exploring. 6 games across 2 or 3 series is probably better for France than 6 standalone games in terms of development.

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11 hours ago, nadera78 said:

I don't expect the RFL to grow the game anywhere, I've been watching RL long enough to have given up on that. But perhaps they could try to be less of an impediment? Greece are unlikely to be allowed to take part in the RLWC qualifiers, while Scotland will be involved despite not meeting any of the criteria. I'd say the RFL has a pretty big role in that, given they are the main driving force behind the IRL (until the NRL recently took control, I guess). Whether the RFL is directly responsible or only tangentially, I think it's pretty obvious we're about to miss the boat on Greece just like we did the other places I mentioned.

So you reckon the RFL used to be the lead

in the IRL. And that was when Greece played in the World Cup. 

And now you say the NRL lead it. And Greece won't be in the qualifiers. Because of the RFL? 

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24 minutes ago, Dave T said:

So you reckon the RFL used to be the lead

in the IRL. And that was when Greece played in the World Cup. 

And now you say the NRL lead it. And Greece won't be in the qualifiers. Because of the RFL? 

The one bright spot, for a time, was the structure the RLEF (European Rugby League now?) gave to lower tier European countries. They may not have done much else - I don't know - but that seemed to be consistent and well thought out.

For reasons I'm not sure I understand, that seems to have evaporated this season.

I'm not blaming the RFL for that but I think that's where the problem of any future development is now. Where has that structure gone?

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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 minute ago, gingerjon said:

The one bright spot, for a time, was the structure the RLEF (European Rugby League now?) gave to lower tier European countries. They may not have done much else - I don't know - but that seemed to be consistent and well thought out.

For reasons I'm not sure I understand, that seems to have evaporated this season.

I'm not blaming the RFL for that but I think that's where the problem of any future development is now. Where has that structure gone?

I agree. For me, getting the right governance in place is crucial (and that goes for the club game too) - but having an empowered World governing body and then empowered regional bodies was the right thing to do. We weren't quite there, but the RLEF providing structure to the Euro Nations, and then the IRL working towards the regular World Cups and Federation Cups to provide regular income streams to fund this development was all sound in principle. Of course there was a Pacific federation meant to mirror the RLEF but I don't think they really did owt. The broad structure of that works though, and it's why I'll give the RFL some credit (although not for implementation of many things). I still think that structure works, but it won't work now the IRL are a puppet. 

The best thing the Tier 1 nations can do is to support the international governing bodies, through funding and expertise, consistently and with an open mind. To an extent, having a two-tier international game isn't a major issue if you then have the major tournaments that bridge this gap. But by not delivering the Fed Cup, and reducing the World Cup, we have gone backwards massively imo. Maybe my opinion will change if the Pacific Cup grows bigger and bigger and is a huge tournament in 10 years. But history suggests that isn't where we will be.

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  • 2 weeks later...
34 minutes ago, Damien said:

Hopefully the RFL learn their lesson and step up their offering.

“You won’t believe the size of Blackpool tower … and we can get you a free tour.”

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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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Such a weird narrative again....

"The European Rugby League is working on a Euros competition to coincide with the desired Samoan tour to England, giving the Northern Hemisphere the most international content in recent memory at the end of next season."

Have they forgotten about the World Cup 12m ago? 

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44 minutes ago, Dave T said:

Such a weird narrative again....

"The European Rugby League is working on a Euros competition to coincide with the desired Samoan tour to England, giving the Northern Hemisphere the most international content in recent memory at the end of next season."

Have they forgotten about the World Cup 12m ago? 

they mean purely NH

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i'm not getting my hopes up until we have a confirmed tour with venues etc announced. (Hopefully Newcastle, Wigan, Leeds!)

I really hope they can make this happen - Maybe Samoa playing Tonga before heading to UK and us playing france as warm ups (as long as it doesn't interfere with frances prep for their own tournament) 

i do hope we however come up with some solid plans to strengthen the likes of France and Wales - would be great if they could become viable opponents for us to have tournaments with within my lifetime... 

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Mixed feelings about this. On the positive side if Samoa do come then England should have some meaningful games that I can get tickets for. On the flip side, it's going to provide a sticking plaster for NH international RL, and give the RFL  a get-out-of-jail-free card to yet again allow them to devote zero time and energy towards trying to create some sort of meaningful NH international competition that would benefit more nations. Begging and pleading for tier 2 SH nations to tour is not a viable long-term solution (and please nobody cite the proposed international schedule with incoming tours from Aus and NZ - I'll believe those when I see them)

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6 minutes ago, RugbyLeagueGeek said:

Mixed feelings about this. On the positive side if Samoa do come then England should have some meaningful games that I can get tickets for. On the flip side, it's going to provide a sticking plaster for NH international RL, and give the RFL  a get-out-of-jail-free card to yet again allow them to devote zero time and energy towards trying to create some sort of meaningful NH international competition that would benefit more nations. Begging and pleading for tier 2 SH nations to tour is not a viable long-term solution (and please nobody cite the proposed international schedule with incoming tours from Aus and NZ - I'll believe those when I see them)

Who would you prefer to see England playing?

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18 hours ago, RugbyLeagueGeek said:

Mixed feelings about this. On the positive side if Samoa do come then England should have some meaningful games that I can get tickets for. On the flip side, it's going to provide a sticking plaster for NH international RL, and give the RFL  a get-out-of-jail-free card to yet again allow them to devote zero time and energy towards trying to create some sort of meaningful NH international competition that would benefit more nations. Begging and pleading for tier 2 SH nations to tour is not a viable long-term solution (and please nobody cite the proposed international schedule with incoming tours from Aus and NZ - I'll believe those when I see them)

Well we do have a calendar (and those mentioned tours), and surely the IRL telling Samoa they preferred them to come to England shows intent from on high to stick to the plan.

I know as international fans we are many-times-bitten, many-times-shy, but there does seem to be a really large NRL drive behind the international game at the moment, and as much as I would prefer equality between the hemispheres, I actually think that helps steady the ship.

Plus, if you look at the original announcements of calendar schedule back in August, 2024 & 2029 were the only ones where England's plans were TBC. 

Edited by BristolDevonCharlie
Bad spelling
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36 minutes ago, Dave T said:

Who would you prefer to see England playing?

It's not a case of who I'd prefer England to play next year (as I said - I'd be quite happy with Samoa). It's more a case of wishing that the RFL would be proactive in taking a lead to try and create some sort of long-term, sustainable NH international programme. But all the evidence suggests they're not going to, and Samoa touring gives them another excuse to kick the can down the road again.

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I wonder whether there's an argument for a one-off England v Samoa game rather than a 3 match series. It clearly reduces costs and potentially allows Samoa to still take part in the series with Australia, NZ etc. If we're going to get an aggregate of below 40K for 3 games anyway, then a one-off at say Bolton or Elland Road might be more profitable.

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