BBC Sport | Rugby League | UK Edition

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

England U16 26 - 34 France U16 Widnes


France U16s defeated England U16s 34-26 in the first Test at the Stobart Stadium in Widnes on Friday 29/3/13. In a closely contested game from start to finish, it was the French who left victorious thanks to a spell of domination in the second half which saw them score three tries in 15 minutes to overturn a 14-12 half time deficit.
CLICK HERE for more info
Despite a defeat in the second test, the French proved they are more than competitive at this level and have the raw talent available. They lack the sophisticated coaching and development schemes available in England and Australia but hopefully Les Catalans (and possibly another SL franchise) will put this right 

Sunday, 17 March 2013

International RL Welcomes Trinidad & Tobago

The Trinidad and Tobago Rugby League Association has been recognised by their Ministry of Sport, the second Caribbean nation to achieve such a mark.

They look forward to playing matches against Jamaica, USA and Canada in the growing North American scene.
Interest exists in Guyana and St Lucia too 

CLICK HERE for more info

Monday, 11 February 2013

Working for the Australian Dollar

From the Pacific peso to parity with the greenback and now beyond: the Australian dollar goes not so much from strength to strength but from historic new high to historic new high.

CLICK HERE to read more

RL teams in the UK can no longer afford to sign top Australian stars and transfer traffic now predominantly heads towards the NRL where GB stars, if they're good enough, can earn good money. James Graham, the Burgess brothers and others now play in Australia and demonstrate this. Ryan  Hoffman, Brett Finch etc have returned from Wigan to Australia, Leeds have signed two unknowns and Warrington haven't signed anybody at all. 

Nobody can doubt that top international Australian and NZ stars enhance our competition but on too many occasions our SL clubs have employed far too many ordinary players (and coaches) from down under. For too long our young players have been denied opportunities as a result and too many talented players have become disillusioned  

The current strength of the Australian dollar may help save our game 

Hopefully in the future our clubs will be forced to develop their own young players and will have to give them the chance to play because imports are too expensive. I am convinced that a significant number of Championship players could play in SL if given the opportunity. Look at Chris Hill

All SL teams should follow the example set by the top clubs. Wigan, Warrington and St Helens develop their own players from within and even have a surplus. All SL clubs should look to the Championship for new recruits rather than overseas. This used to happen and they might even find another Zac Hardaker. 

Competition for places would increase and teams would become more evenly matched. Just like the not so distant past, results would be less predictable with local players playing for local teams and fewer mercenaries. Crowds would increase as each local hero came forward and some currently struggling clubs might even be revived especially if promotion was a possibility. Our player pool would increase and our chances at international level would improve dramatically.

The excessive influx of Antipodeans has plagued RL in the UK since about 1980. 

Maybe it's no coincidence that our problems at international level started then.     


Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Dickie's Meadow 2

Has Dickie's got a new meadow?



CLICK HERE to find out

"Dickie's Meadow", a well-known Northern expression, possibly refers to Sandals Meadow where the battle of Wakefield took place and where Richard met his end. The common view held that Richard was ill-advised to fight here. The expression is usually used to warn against risky action. ("If you do that you'll end up in Dickie's Meadow")

CLICK HERE for more info

Monday, 28 January 2013

At Last

"At Last" was a famous song by Etta James very much associated with the civil rights movement and was used as part Barak Obama first inauguration. Beyonce famously sang a cover version at Glastonbury.

While the start of the 2012 Rugby League season can't can't claim the same historical significance as Obama's inauguration and no player has legs like Beyonce we are seeing a welcome innovation.

AT LAST an effort is being made to market rugby league

The Bradley Wiggins and Sam Tomkins clip produced by SKY was fantastic.

CLICK HERE to see it

AND

the Rugby League of Extraordinary People footage was shown during the FA Cup games on ITV

 

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Graveyard of the Aussies



I have just discovered these two photos of an empty Station Road just before it was demolished.

This "graveyard of the Aussies" is now an anonymous housing estate on the outskirts of Manchester but I prefer to remember it in its full glory hosting Rugby League Tests Matches and full to the rafters. It's an indication of how times changes and it's also very very sad.

Not very far away is the City of Salford Stadium which was built at considerable expense by Salford Council as the home ground of Salford City Reds and it's opening was supposed to herald a new dawn for the club.
The council have now withdrawn their support and the future of the club is now in serious doubt. This is understandable in these harsh economic times and is also very sad but it begs the question, why did the council build the stadium in the first place? Surely the stadium will be a white elephant if Salford Reds go out of business. Surely it was all or nothing i.e. no support no stadium or stadium and total support.


Sunday, 1 July 2012

Dickie's Meadow


This week I have been watching, recently departed RFL supremo Richard Lewis, giving interviews in his new role as Wimbledon CEO and have been reflecting on his time in office.

There is no doubt that he provided much needed stability when it was very much needed and RFL revenue has increased under him.  Dickie Lewis has presided over the introduction of the licensing process which has resulted in improved facilities and increased professionalism at SL level. He will be remembered for an expansion of the international game throughout the northern hemisphere and I believe this will bear fruit in the future.

While the financial situation has improved at the RFL (although in my opinion it started from a very low base and needs to increase much more) we have witnessed the Crusaders debacle, the Stobart non-sponsorship and now the problems at the Bradford Bulls. London still play in front of very low crowds (3600 v Leeds yesterday) and they along with other clubs are struggling to keep up. Some of our most famous teams live hand to mouth below SL level and feel excluded by the licencing process. We have replaced Great Britain with England but still struggle to compete internationally against Australia and NZ. Sceptical supporters endure Magic Weekends and the Exiles concept but no Ashes series or Lions Tours.


Meanwhile, Dickie gets interviewed on SKY News with Wimbledon in the background but RL's media profile declines by the hour. We await news of his replacement


Note:
In Dickie's meadow is a north of England phrase which means to be in trouble. 
It refers to King Richard III and his meadow was Bosworth Field

Monday, 4 June 2012

Hoots mon it's a bracht bricht moonlit nicht

After watching Salford launch their new stadium in the snow we are all glad that RL in the UK is now played in summer. Despite a warm spring period and a very hot Magic Weekend, the cold weather has continued and RL spectators have been enduring a very cold wind up their collective kilts

I watched Featherstone Rovers play Pia in the Anglo French Challenge on Sunday which was again played in dreadful conditions and neither side looked as though they wanted to be there. After a dreadful start, Pia we actually quite competitive and I believe the top French sides and top Championship teams would be evenly matched if given a fair chance.

An Anglo-French Challenge or a Treize-Tournoi would be great idea but it must be organised correctly and positioned properly within the calender. The end of the French season coincides with the middle of the Championship and this is not good timing for either. September would be better but it must be organised in advance, publicised properly and if Sheffield, Halifax or Leigh don't want to play they should make way for a team who does

Apart from Les Catalans, French sides seem to be intimidated by English opposition and are often beaten before the match begins. They need to overcome this losing mentality and have more confidence in themselves. English teams have the same problem when facing Australians

After another woeful marketing performance by the RFL, did anybody actually know that this match was on? Did anybody know that three other games were also being played over the weekend? Could anybody find out the results?

Did anybody know that a Nines Competition is currently being played?

The RFL continue to organise their Mickey Mouse competitions and the media profile of the sport continues to decline


 

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Exile All Golds 2012



Just as an Exile Kangaroo XIII could be selected from players based in Europe, an Exile Kiwi XIII could be selected too. What about this team for starters and again I realise that some "might" be considered Samoan, Tongan or even English. If any problems occur we could ask we ask for volunteers in NZ and I'm sure some would jump at the chance to represent their country.

1  Webb
2  Lulia
3 Soliola
4 Sa
5  Meli
6  Hohaia
7  T Leuluai
8  Lima
9 Faiuma
10 Moa
11  Manu
12  Puletua
13  L Anderson 

With V Anderson, K Leuluai, Solomona, Webster, Chase, Isa, Witt, Kite, Lauititi, Temata, L Paea and other in reserve a strong squad could be selected to compete internationally with England, France, Wales, Exile Australia and others. It would be nice to have official backing from the NZRL but if not, they could be called the "All Golds" who were formed in similar circumstances 

The Exile Kiwi XIII could participate in the existing international competitions organised by the RLEF who could begin to expand their operations world wide. 

As the NRL,  with the clubs calling the shots, go there own way and become increasingly isolated, the Kangaroos will become less of a priority and play fewer games. The Kiwis, who have the majority of their players contracted to NRL clubs, will be in the same position whether they like it or not. The Pacific Island Nations will not be consulted 

As they become increasingly frustrated with the lack of opportunities to represent their country, non-NRL aligned NZ based Kiwis might want to join the Exile Kiwi's  in the expanded RLEF organisation as might the home based Pacific Island Nations who are in the same position. This could actually lead to a  rejuvenated national NZ club competition

Further down the line, this could lead to regular, increasing, meaningful international competitions between nations throughout the world who could compete on equal terms. They could be organised by the independent but renamed RLEF without interference from any vested interests e.g. NRL clubs. Regular fixtures would decrease the need for players to embarrass us and themselves by continually swapping countries

We could look forward to a rejuvenated and thriving international RL scene and thus a much higher media profile. Bring it on