It is good to see the RFL rejecting gimmicks

Martyn Sadler
Martyn Sadler

I’m very glad to see that the RFL has rubbished the idea that England or Great Britain is being lined up to play a hybrid form of rugby against the touring Australian Wallabies rugby union team next December.

After a superb World Cup tournament, the last thing our game surely needs is a gimmicky match of this sort against rugby union opposition.

Instead we need to develop greater interest in our representative fixtures, which have received a great impetus from the World Cup.

Next year there will be a Four Nations tournament in Australia and New Zealand, and there are vague plans for a tour down under by Great Britain and Ireland in 2015, although no firm plans for either tour have yet been announced.

But at least it’s encouraging to see the man who is probably the most powerful individual in the world of Rugby League making it quite clear that the expansion of the international game is definitely on the agenda.

I was fortunate enough to be invited to meet Dave Smith, the chief executive of the NRL, one-to-one while he was over here for the World Cup, and it was good to hear what he had to say. It was even better to hear that he is familiar with League Express and has a high regard for this newspaper.

You can read my interview with him here, and I suspect that most readers will be impressed by its general tone. At this stage he espouses principles rather than concrete proposals, but it’s interesting to see, as we reported last week, that he would be very keen to see Super League teams competing in the Auckland Nines, which are set to make their debut in February in that New Zealand city.

It looks as though Wigan are likely to play a game against the New Zealand Warriors prior to the Nines weekend, which they will then watch, before moving on to Sydney to face the Roosters the following week.

That looks like being a great Rugby League trip for any Wigan supporters who want to follow their team to the other side of the world.