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England vs Samoa Series


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5 minutes ago, Dave T said:

Yes, Brentford doesnt work capacity wise. 

That's why you should play the women's fixture there.

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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Really think England RL should set up some permanent bases for its test matches, keep coming back to the same places instead of picking and choosing on a test by test basis. Returning customers please!

Leeds seems to be the one that has already been picked, and with three stadia in North London that have agreed to host us in the past that would be my next addition. Manchester and/or Newcastle seem like good choices too.

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5 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

Can we play in front of 25k in Wigan?

We need to get something like 90% capacity across both venues to match the aggregate attendance for last season's three match series.

And, answering a different question, Fulham's redeveloped ground has (a) 24,500 capacity and (b) bit of a connection to RL history as well.

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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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16 minutes ago, Tommygilf said:

Can we play in front of 25k in Wigan? I'd love it to happen...

In any case it was just an example. It's barely 2k smaller than Headingley, and could be sold at a higher price than the northern venues too.

I would be very surprised if the game at Wigan doesn't sell out after the last world cup

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7 hours ago, Click said:

You don't think having the national team play in London is a draw? 

I reckon you’d find it difficult to get 200 paying customers in London for England RL v Egypt RL, so no, I don’t think having the national team play in London is enough of a draw.

6 hours ago, RugbyLeagueGeek said:

You think a WC game without England would draw the same as a WC game with England? Or are you saying that it's just another factor? If you're correct then the RFL need to create some prestige around internationals. For starters, I would have England play WC qualifiers, so that what would otherwise be a meaningless one-off game against somebody like France could be instantly turned into something far more meaningful for the wider public.

Of course I am saying the occassion adds to the weight of having England in the match.

Yep, prestige is exactly what is needed. Samoa isn’t exactly abundant with such a resource. I would say only two international opponents have such a pull. Hence my clear position to wait for NZ and Aus tours. 

I like your idea too. It’s a shame the RFL aren’t flush enough to entice NRL players with decent match payments to come over and play in a European Tri Nations. Say England, France and Italy/Greece and have the Final in London.

6 hours ago, Dave T said:

It's all relative. There is no reason we should be looking at 25k+ in London for a test like this, based on the demand level being 11-15k in the North. 

ROI can't be the overriding measure here, even a number cruncher like Wood saw that you need ambition. 

ROI must be the overriding measure of all activity, especially when the organiser isn’t flush with money to go and speculate on non-tangible benefits.

I am all for London and Midlands hosting international fixtures, but they must be the right fixtures, which you have rightly noted are “far between”.

I know international RL is full of unsuccessful 6/10/12 year strategies, but for me, the RFL don’t have a strong enough hand to play in London until NZ and Aus are here. Two very strong opponents which the RFL will have the greatest chance of successfully attaining all the rewards almost everyone on this forum are looking for in the South.

In the meantime, focus on selling out both Samoan tests in the heartlands so the supporters in the south feel like they have actually missed out on something.

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3 minutes ago, Sports Prophet said:

It’s a shame the RFL aren’t flush enough to entice NRL players with decent match payments to come over and play in a European Tri Nations. Say England, France and Italy/Greece and have the Final in London.

I think WC qualifiers would be an easier sell than this. That is a concept the wider public understands and has a meaning, as it is a stepping stone to a bigger thing. An isolated Tri-Nations featuring England and some weak nations would be harder for people to get their heads around and buy into IMO.

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12 minutes ago, RugbyLeagueGeek said:

I think WC qualifiers would be an easier sell than this. That is a concept the wider public understands and has a meaning, as it is a stepping stone to a bigger thing. An isolated Tri-Nations featuring England and some weak nations would be harder for people to get their heads around and buy into IMO.

Yep, you’re probably right.

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15 minutes ago, Sports Prophet said:

 

ROI must be the overriding measure of all activity, especially when the organiser isn’t flush with money to go and speculate on non-tangible benefits.

I am all for London and Midlands hosting international fixtures, but they must be the right fixtures, which you have rightly noted are “far between”.

I know international RL is full of unsuccessful 6/10/12 year strategies, but for me, the RFL don’t have a strong enough hand to play in London until NZ and Aus are here. Two very strong opponents which the RFL will have the greatest chance of successfully attaining all the rewards almost everyone on this forum are looking for in the South.

In the meantime, focus on selling out both Samoan tests in the heartlands so the supporters in the south feel like they have actually missed out on something.

It really can't be. For a sport governing body there are far more KPI's than just pure finance. I'm not suggesting we are just reckless, but fan engagement, player development, commercial partnerships, media profile etc are all important things that have to be balanced, so the return should be assessed on more than just £. 

And of course it is assuming that we make more with 15k in Leeds than say 25k in London. 

Years ago we took the decision to put England on the BBC instead of Sky Sports, and I've no doubt the income is less, but it was done looking at the ###### picture. Now tbh, based on the sport paying lip service to internationals it feels like maybe we should just take a few more quid from Sky Sports and just cash in! 

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7 hours ago, Dave T said:

Wigan and Leeds, using regular SL grounds may be OK, but it hardly scream prestige events. That's what we need to be aiming for for our internationals, we should demand more. 

That’s my point. I don’t think England v Samoa test series is prestige and throwing it at Brentford or The Stoop and getting 15-25k in the nation’s capital to me screams of significantly smaller time than sold out Wigan and Leeds fixtures.

So small time I think it would be more damaging to the brand than supportive.

Focus on selling out Wigan and Leeds and have both matches with fervent/dedicated supporters booming and chanting from the stands for 80 minutes live on BBC will do a pretty good job of being both financially successful and laying the foundations/buzz to get 60,000 in London for NZ and Aus.

From there, the RFL can present a regular and consistent Northern Hemisphere international window to capture the imagination of the NRL overlords, which is what the RFL really need to achieve.

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Since 1990, in London (excluding Watford) Eng/GB have averaged 47k in the biggest games against Oz/NZ. 

In the North that average is 25k.

It is bizarre to me that it the starting position is "Where will the London game be this year?". 

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19 minutes ago, Sports Prophet said:

That’s my point. I don’t think England v Samoa test series is prestige and throwing it at Brentford or The Stoop and getting 15-25k in the nation’s capital to me screams of significantly smaller time than sold out Wigan and Leeds fixtures.

So small time I think it would be more damaging to the brand than supportive.

Focus on selling out Wigan and Leeds and have both matches with fervent/dedicated supporters booming and chanting from the stands for 80 minutes live on BBC will do a pretty good job of being both financially successful and laying the foundations/buzz to get 60,000 in London for NZ and Aus.

From there, the RFL can present a regular and consistent Northern Hemisphere international window to capture the imagination of the NRL overlords, which is what the RFL really need to achieve.

They are England internationals - if we don't position them as prestige events, nobody else will. 

We should be putting our best foot forward, but we've just gone to regular SL grounds again. 

I'm certainly not advocating going to smaller grounds in London, I agree that would be a waste of time. 

Below is a list of attendances from a period of time for GB v NZ:

7k

11k

8k

13k

16k

22k

18k

13k

20k

36k

17k

15k

Does anything stand out there? 

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4 hours ago, Gav Wilson said:

Its all glamour...

 

Pathetic. People concerned Wigan and Headingly screams small time, wait till they get a wind of this. 

It’s all the more glaringly obvious. The RFL don’t have a pot to pee in and can’t afford to play in London.

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4 hours ago, crashmon said:


So a couple of the group I took to the semi final two year ago contacted me once they heard Samoa where coming over (union fans), asking me about dates and games and if I was planning to set up another group to go (they all enjoyed the semi-final apart from the result). Once I told them the location of the two tests, then any interest in going just drained out of them.  

Thats 2 years in a row that potential fans who would have gone to a game are not going. I could have probably got again 10-12 folks interested in a London test, once again no london test. not interested.  They will go watch quins and maybe watch the highlights on TV, but more likely to watch wendyball highlights on sky.

Wait till you see how much they enjoy 50k+ in London for Kiwis and Kangaroos year on year.

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17 minutes ago, Dave T said:

They are England internationals - if we don't position them as prestige events, nobody else will. 

We should be putting our best foot forward, but we've just gone to regular SL grounds again. 

I'm certainly not advocating going to smaller grounds in London, I agree that would be a waste of time. 

Below is a list of attendances from a period of time for GB v NZ:

7k

11k

8k

13k

16k

22k

18k

13k

20k

36k

17k

15k

Does anything stand out there? 

It takes various factors to make an event prestigious. For me the main ones include:

1. The occassion (a friendly, test, series, cup or WC)

2. The participants and their resonance with the public (especially the away team if in fact there is a home side)

3. The stage (the venue)

I don’t think a two or even three test series against Samoa (despite them recently finishing as recent WC runner’s up) suitably satisfy items 1 or 2 (for the rarely initiated). Trying to make this series prestigious with item 3 alone… you may think it’s achievable, but I don’t.

For what it’s worth, I think the RFL could still have done better for this two match series. I believe Samoa are a bigger draw in the North amongst the establishment than they are amongst the southerners with less consciousness/understanding.

I still think a two game series is the go, but I would have been more satisfied to see game 1 at Newcastle or Elland Rd and game 2 at Man City or Bolton. I think this would have been a safer bet at fulfilling item 3, whilst playing it locally to enough individuals to think both teams meet item 2.

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3 minutes ago, Sports Prophet said:

It takes various factors to make an event prestigious. For me the main ones include:

1. The occassion (a friendly, test, series, cup or WC)

2. The participants and their resonance with the public (especially the away team if in fact there is a home side)

3. The stage (the venue)

I don’t think a two or even three test series against Samoa (despite them recently finishing as recent WC runner’s up) suitably satisfy items 1 or 2 (for the rarely initiated). Trying to make this series prestigious with item 3 alone… you may think it’s achievable, but I don’t.

For what it’s worth, I think the RFL could still have done better for this two match series. I believe Samoa are a bigger draw in the North amongst the establishment than they are amongst the southerners with less consciousness/understanding.

I still think a two game series is the go, but I would have been more satisfied to see game 1 at Newcastle or Elland Rd and game 2 at Man City or Bolton. I think this would have been a safer bet at fulfilling item 3, whilst playing it locally to enough individuals to think both teams meet item 2.

City isn’t an option at the moment due to building work, but I get your point. If anything, they’d probably jump at the chance of some cash coming in that isn’t via Dubai. 

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20 minutes ago, Sports Prophet said:

It takes various factors to make an event prestigious. For me the main ones include:

1. The occassion (a friendly, test, series, cup or WC)

2. The participants and their resonance with the public (especially the away team if in fact there is a home side)

3. The stage (the venue)

I don’t think a two or even three test series against Samoa (despite them recently finishing as recent WC runner’s up) suitably satisfy items 1 or 2 (for the rarely initiated). Trying to make this series prestigious with item 3 alone… you may think it’s achievable, but I don’t.

For what it’s worth, I think the RFL could still have done better for this two match series. I believe Samoa are a bigger draw in the North amongst the establishment than they are amongst the southerners with less consciousness/understanding.

I still think a two game series is the go, but I would have been more satisfied to see game 1 at Newcastle or Elland Rd and game 2 at Man City or Bolton. I think this would have been a safer bet at fulfilling item 3, whilst playing it locally to enough individuals to think both teams meet item 2.

I agree with much of this. My preference would have been one North and one South, but at least prestigious grounds in the North would have shown some ambition. 

On your first point, I'm OK with the prestige level of a test series, although clearly not as big as a World Cup or Nations Series, but general Rugby fans in London are used to standalone tests being a thing they want to attend, and football fans attend friendlies for the occasion, so I think London is a little unique in that respect. 

On the participants, I understand your point, and clearly Samoa would be less attractive than the Kiwis or Aussies, but they do have the advantage of playing 18m ago in a semi final classic, beating England. That is fresh history to play with. Also, again using RU, general Rugby fans in London are clearly comfortable with attending in large numbers against lesser opposition, we see huge numbers at Twickenham and Wembley for some questionable match ups. 

So Im not being dismissive of your challenges, I just don't give them as much weight as you do. And that's where we obviously come to a different conclusion. 

 

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13 hours ago, Sports Prophet said:

It takes various factors to make an event prestigious. For me the main ones include:

1. The occassion (a friendly, test, series, cup or WC)

2. The participants and their resonance with the public (especially the away team if in fact there is a home side)

3. The stage (the venue)

I don’t think a two or even three test series against Samoa (despite them recently finishing as recent WC runner’s up) suitably satisfy items 1 or 2 (for the rarely initiated). Trying to make this series prestigious with item 3 alone… you may think it’s achievable, but I don’t.

For what it’s worth, I think the RFL could still have done better for this two match series. I believe Samoa are a bigger draw in the North amongst the establishment than they are amongst the southerners with less consciousness/understanding.

I still think a two game series is the go, but I would have been more satisfied to see game 1 at Newcastle or Elland Rd and game 2 at Man City or Bolton. I think this would have been a safer bet at fulfilling item 3, whilst playing it locally to enough individuals to think both teams meet item 2.

100% agree. If this was in Newcastle i would be booking my flights home and tickets already. I've been to Wigan and Leeds 1000 times and the event element seems much lower at these grounds than a day out in Newcastle... (or London etc) 

I do feel we are in a no win situation though - take it to Newcastle and sell 20k tickets people say it's a half full event etc etc - take it to Headingly and sell 17k and it looks full etc but its not an event etc...

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48 minutes ago, Jack GB said:

I do feel we are in a no win situation though - take it to Newcastle and sell 20k tickets people say it's a half full event etc etc - take it to Headingly and sell 17k and it looks full etc but its not an event etc...

I think this is a dangerous mindset that the RFL have already adopted, which leads to taking the 'safe' option every time.

We absolutely have a win-situation here and that is to stage a bigger event well that all evidence shows will draw a bigger crowd. 

I've been posting all sorts of numbers on this thread which show how crowds react to bigger events. 

Example 1 - In the 80's GB v NZ attracted between 10-22k in this country. In 1993 they went to Wembley - 36k. The two games after Wembley got 15/16k.

Example 2 - In the 00's and 10's we delivered good growth in heartlands versus NZ, regularly getting 20k+ at RL grounds. We took a game to the Olympic Stadium - 44k. The last series saw us get 17k at Hull in the 1st Test, followed by 26k and 32k at Anfield and Elland Road. 

Example 3 - the biggest games at the 4N have all been at marquee grounds - Olympic Stadium, Wembley, Anfield, Elland Road, Etihad - none of these crowds have dropped below a standard SL ground. 

The evidence is there. I do accept that this is one measure - attendances, but it's a pretty fundamental one. 

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1 hour ago, Dave T said:

I think this is a dangerous mindset that the RFL have already adopted, which leads to taking the 'safe' option every time.

We absolutely have a win-situation here and that is to stage a bigger event well that all evidence shows will draw a bigger crowd. 

I've been posting all sorts of numbers on this thread which show how crowds react to bigger events. 

Example 1 - In the 80's GB v NZ attracted between 10-22k in this country. In 1993 they went to Wembley - 36k. The two games after Wembley got 15/16k.

Example 2 - In the 00's and 10's we delivered good growth in heartlands versus NZ, regularly getting 20k+ at RL grounds. We took a game to the Olympic Stadium - 44k. The last series saw us get 17k at Hull in the 1st Test, followed by 26k and 32k at Anfield and Elland Road. 

Example 3 - the biggest games at the 4N have all been at marquee grounds - Olympic Stadium, Wembley, Anfield, Elland Road, Etihad - none of these crowds have dropped below a standard SL ground. 

The evidence is there. I do accept that this is one measure - attendances, but it's a pretty fundamental one. 

I'm in 100% agreement - my preference for this test initially was Newcastle (Tap into opening ceremony crowd - big event to kick it off) then maybe 2 test oin heartland or one heartland one london. But then it's become 2 tests but i still feel Newcastle or London + one heartland was the way to go. 

 

my comment on the no win situation was more on the nature of us RL fans loving to see the negatives in any choices made by the governing body 

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2 hours ago, Jack GB said:

my comment on the no win situation was more on the nature of us RL fans loving to see the negatives in any choices made by the governing body 

True but the RFL never let us down in that respect.

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19 hours ago, Sports Prophet said:

Wait till you see how much they enjoy 50k+ in London for Kiwis and Kangaroos year on year.

My group won't be part of it.  By 2027 they will have forgotton completely about RL.  They came to the WC semi, enjoyed it, wanted more of it. A game the next year builds on this, after 2 years they still have memories, but by 2027 the interest will have gone.

You need a yearly test in London for the International game to grow. 2027 is three years too late regardless of who we are playing

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1 hour ago, crashmon said:

My group won't be part of it.  By 2027 they will have forgotton completely about RL.  They came to the WC semi, enjoyed it, wanted more of it. A game the next year builds on this, after 2 years they still have memories, but by 2027 the interest will have gone.

You need a yearly test in London for the International game to grow. 2027 is three years too late regardless of who we are playing

So they came out of the blue once and you don’t think they will come out of the blue again. Despite great memories of the last occasion albeit it having been played in 2022?

Sounds pretty absurd to me.

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This could well be the last time England play a big international in front of a home crowd until 2027. That’s got to be a USP of sorts to get crowds in, on the flipside that’s the scary reality of international RL in its current form.

2025: Ashes (Australia)
2026: World Cup (Australia)

 

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3 hours ago, Sports Prophet said:

So they came out of the blue once and you don’t think they will come out of the blue again. Despite great memories of the last occasion albeit it having been played in 2022?

Sounds pretty absurd to me.

How long have you worked for the RFL?

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