RL Commercial chief breaks silence on potential NRL buy-out of Super League and why Las Vegas could host World Club Challenge

LAST WEEK, a story hit the news that the NRL was planning an audacious bid to take over the Super League competition.

Speaking on SEN League, rugby league veteran Matty Johns said: “The rumour I’m hearing, and it’s getting stronger, is that the NRL are seriously looking to possibly buy the English Rugby League.

“They have to do that, and they should move it back in England to being a winter sport. That way, it broadens the base and adds to the depth of both competitions.”

That set tongues wagging on both sides of the world, but RL Commercial’s Managing Director, Rhodri Jones, has poured cold water on the speculation.

“I don’t actually know, it’s nothing to do with me that story. I got a text like a lot of people that said ‘have you seen this?’ and I was shocked,” Jones said on The League Express podcast.

“I watched the Matty Johns podcast and wondered where he got that from. It’s news to us and we are not entirely sure where it’s come from.

“I’m sure it will get mentioned in Las Vegas and we might see where the source is. We have engagement with the NRL and we will see them this week in Vegas but we haven’t had engagement in those terms.”

But, there is the potential to take the World Club Challenge to Las Vegas in the future, with Jones meeting with ARCL chief Peter V’landys in the USA ahead of the NRL’s historic double-header.

“It’s quite interesting, in the build-up to the World Club Challenge, we were talking about having the World Club Challenge in the Las Vegas weekend now knowing that the deal is for five years rather than a one-year hit,” said Jones.

“I think we were probably two months too late for this year when we got round the table with Penrith and Wigan. The question was asked but the NRL had committed to the double-header.

“But, the talk pre-World Club Challenge had been wouldn’t it be great for this game to be in Vegas? Not many people were saying this was a terrible idea and then Peter V’landys (ARCL chief) said that it would be great if we could see it in Vegas – that wasn’t coordinated.

“Do I think it’s a possibility? I do. I don’t know how much of a possibility it will be at this point but this week there will be conversations about it.”

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