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Friday, 22 July 2016


“Rugby league is going global and there’s no turning back,” 
claims former Wigan and Wakefield great and ex-Penrith, Sydney, back rower Bill Ashurst, after visiting Serbia.
Ashurst, who made three appearances for Great Britain in the early 1970s before heading to play in Australia, was a part of the England Lionhearts (North West) U18 coaching stuff that participated in the Belgrade Trophy recently, a four nation tournament for U18s.
“I never imagined that rugby league would bring me to places like Serbia,” he said. “The game has so much grown since my playing time and it’s a wonderful thing, I’m glad that I can still be part of it.”
A professional player for almost 20 years, Ashurst was man of the match, winning the Harry Sunderland Trophy, in the 1970-71 Championship final when at home-town Wigan and was signed by Penrith for a then record fee. He was subsequently voted into the Panthers’ ‘Team of Legends’ in 2006, and also played at Wembley in the 1979 Challenge Cup final after another record transfer to Wakefield.
“This was my first time in Serbia and certainly not the last,” he commented. “I’ve been impressed with the level of commitment of SRL, their hospitality and set up. I’ll make sure that people know those over there love rugby league and are trying their best to develop it.”
“The tournament was a good experience for all of us, we learned from each other and hopefully there can be more like them for youngsters in the sport, wherever they come from.”
Ashurst has also backed Serbia in their bid to qualify for the 2017 World Cup. They face Wales and Italy in the final round of European Qualifiers in the autumn, aiming to get to their first-ever finals.
“I hope they can make it,” Ashurst noted. 
“It would be a big help if the Serbian heritage players chose to play for their country of origin. I’d love to see them there.”

Thursday, 21 July 2016


The RLIF has approved that if Australia qualifies for a Quarter-Final, it will play in Darwin. 
If New Zealand qualifies for a Quarter-Final, it will play in Wellington. 
If Australia and New Zealand were to play each other in a Quarter-Final or Semi-Final, whoever finishes higher in the pool stage will get the home advantage. 
The full Quarter-Final fixture will be finalised at the conclusion of the pool stages, taking in to consideration hosting requirements.

If Australia and New Zealand make the Semi-Finals they will play in Brisbane and Auckland respectively.
Rugby League World Cup 2017 Tournament Draw

*Kick off times to be announced ahead of tournament

Date           Match Type      Match-Up                   Venue
27/10/2017 Pool – Round 1 Australia vs England Melbourne Rectangular Stadium
28/10/2017 Pool – Round 1 PNG v Euro Q1 Port Moresby (venue TBA)
28/10/2017 Pool – Round 1 New Zealand vs Samoa Mt Smart, Auckland
28/10/2017 Pool – Round 1 Fiji vs USA Townsville Stadium
29/10/2017 Pool – Round 1 Scotland vs Tonga Barlow Park, Cairns
29/10/2017 Pool – Round 1 Euro Q2 vs Euro Q3 Barlow Park, Cairns
29/10/2017 Pool – Round 1 France vs Lebanon Canberra Stadium
3/11/2017 Pool – Round 2 Australia vs France Canberra Stadium
4/11/2017 Pool – Round 2 New Zealand vs Scotland Christchurch Stadium
4/11/2017 Pool – Round 2 Samoa vs Tonga Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
4/11/2017 Pool – Round 2 England vs Lebanon Sydney Football Stadium
5/11/2017 Pool – Round 2 PNG vs Euro Q2 Port Moresby (venue TBA)
5/11/2017 Pool – Round 2 Euro Q3 vs USA Townsville Stadium
5/11/2017 Pool – Round 2 Fiji vs Euro Q1 Townsville Stadium
10/11/2017 Pool – Round 3 Fiji vs Euro Q3 Canberra Stadium
11/11/2017 Pool – Round 3 Samoa vs Scotland Barlow Park, Cairns
11/11/2017 Pool – Round 3 New Zealand vs Tonga Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
11/11/2017 Pool – Round 3 Australia vs Lebanon Sydney Football Stadium
12/11/2017 Pool – Round 3 PNG vs USA Port Moresby (venue TBA)
12/11/2017 Pool – Round 3 Euro Q1 vs Euro Q2 Perth Rectangular Stadium
12/11/2017 Pool – Round 3 England vs France Perth Rectangular Stadium
17/11/2017 Quarter Final Darwin Stadium
18/11/2017 Quarter Final Christchurch Stadium
18/11/2017 Quarter Final Wellington Regional Stadium
19/11/2017 Quarter Final Melbourne Rectangular Stadium
24/11/2017 Semi Final Brisbane Stadium
25/11/2017 Semi Final Mt Smart, Auckland
2/12/017 Final Brisbane Stadium

Tuesday, 19 July 2016


The RLWC2017 has announced the draw for the tournament to be co-hosted by 

Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. 

Melbourne Rectangular Stadium will host a blockbuster opening match of the
RLWC2017, when the home nation – the Kangaroos – begin their campaign under 
lights against England on Friday, October 27. 
The following day the Kiwis first pool match will be played at the home of Rugby
League in New Zealand – Auckland's Mt Smart Stadium – when they take on 
Pacific rivals Samoa. 
Port Moresby will host the PNG Kumuls' three pool matches against two European
Qualifiers and the USA. The first match is scheduled for Saturday, October 28 and 
in a country where Rugby League is the national sport, the passionate fans of PNG 
are sure to embrace the sport's pinnacle event. 
The World Cup Final will be decided at Brisbane Stadium on Saturday December 2,
as the two finalists battle it out for the right to hold aloft the Paul Barrière trophy and 
claim the title of World Champions. 
RLWC2017 chief executive officer Michael Brown said the Organising Committee
made a deliberate decision to take the Rugby League World Cup to more fans than 
any World Cup has done before. 
"The Tournament Draw demonstrates how far and wide we are taking matches, 
from established Rugby League communities, to those new and emerging fan bases 
in all three countries," he said.
"Over the course of the pool stages we have looked to position matches in strong 
Rugby League communities and where large populations of ex-pats, Pacifica and 
indigenous fans live, to give those who love the sport and their national teams the 
chance to see some World Cup action. 
"The decision to take matches to places like Darwin, Perth, Christchurch and Port 
Moresby were made with the future of the game in mind. They are matches we 
believe will give profile to the sport in markets that have already shown an appetite 
for rugby league."
The RLWC2017 Tournament Draw is family-friendly by intention, with all matches
to be played across the weekend including Friday night games. There will be three 
double-headers in Cairns, Perth and Townsville, providing additional value for 
money for fans. 
When not attending games, fans will experience some of the most iconic sporting
destinations in the world. Sports enthusiasts will be able to explore the diversity
of the eight host cities across Australia to New Zealand's compact nature that 
simplifies travel and makes it easy for visitors to access all venues while experiencing 
a variety of tourist attractions along the way. The welcome and hospitality supporters 
will receive when visiting all three host nations will make the RLWC2017 a bucket 
list item for sports fans worldwide. 
"We not only want to see traditional rugby league fans come out to support their 
national team, we aim to engage with the local communities of all participating teams 
to deliver an event that will entertain the world, inspire communities and celebrate 
rugby league," continued Brown. 
“Rugby league is truly a game for everyone. We hope the Rugby League World Cup 
2017 leaves a legacy for the game that sees it continue to grow and dominate the 
sporting landscape."
Tournament Pools 
With 11 teams already confirmed, the final three teams will come from the European
Qualifying Tournament to be played in October and November this year. 
The pool structure reflects that of the successful 2013 Tournament. The composition
of the pools for RLWC2017 were shaped by a number of considerations, including 
the final placings from the 2013 World Cup and current world rankings 
Pool A: Australia, England, France, Lebanon
Pool B: New Zealand, Samoa, Scotland, Tonga
Pool C: Papua New Guinea,  European Qualifier 1, European Qualifier 2
Pool D: Fiji, USA, European Qualifier 3 

Monday, 18 July 2016


Canada made an impressive start to the new America’s Championship, with a comprehensive, seven-try win over the Reggae Warriors in Levittown, Pennsylvania, USA, home of the Bucks County Sharks. 

 Both sides were very different to the squads that played in the World Cup Qualifiers seven months ago, the Wolverines forced into further last minute changes which saw coach Jamie Lester come out of retirement after young half Barak Pauls failed his fitness test at the captain’s run a few hours before the game. 

 “Our forwards laid the platform with some strong running and the whole team defended well which was most pleasing,” said Lester. 

“To keep your opposition from scoring a try is always what you hope to achieve." 

The match was disrupted by a thunderstorm which forced the sides to leave the field for half an hour, by which time Canada were 24-0 ahead. The power of prop Denny McCarthy close to the line opened the scoring, Josh Kelly converting, Robin Legault doubling the lead when he capitalised on a Jamaica handling error, twice hacking on before regathering for a fine solo score which Kelly also goaled. Alex Boyd ran onto a nice pass to cruise over minutes later with Kelly once again adding the extras as the heat and humidity told but ominous black clouds began to gather. Cam Grace powered his way through the Jamaican defence on his recall to the Canadian ranks, Kelly again surefooted but a minute before half time the storm struck and play was halted as it passed over. 

The wet ball proved to be a problem for both sides thereafter affecting handling, the Jamaicans – despite some strong running from their forwards – unable to find the last pass to capitalise. In the last ten minutes the Wolverines extended their advantage, skipper for the day Christian Miller bursting through tackles to score out wide, Kelly landing his fifth conversion. Rick Schouten made a 30 metre break down the right before passing inside to debutant Tyler Hergott who raced away to score between the posts, Tony Felex missing the easy conversion, centre Schouten then going over himself to ensure seven different try scorers, Billy Gemmell off target with the kick. 

 Lester was sin binned in the last minute for talking back to American referee Vince Lawson and, with the final action, Adrian Myers stepped up to kick the penalty goal to ensure the Jamaicans weren’t nilled. 

 JRLA head coach Romeo Monteith commented: 

“Our forwards worked hard but we couldn’t get over the try line despite the opportunities we created out wide. We are a team in transition, but we’ll have to come out next week and lift ourselves against a very tough USA team.” 

 Game 2 will see USA Hawks take on Jamaica next weekend in Philadelphia.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016


Professional sports club seeks athletes for playing contracts 

All Suitable Applicants Welcome

The Toronto Wolfpack are the newest professional sports club in North America and they are seeking athletes to play one of the most demanding and spectacular sports on the planet – Rugby League.

They are hosting open trials in eight separate venues across the USA and Canada in August, September and October 2016

The Toronto Wolfpack are based at Lamport Stadium, Toronto Canada and are a brand new club which has been admitted to the British Rugby League for the 2017 season. 
Visit to sign up for this unique opportunity

Monday, 4 July 2016

French Federation Elect New President

Marc Palanques is the new Federation Française de Rugby a Treize president, the federation’s 15th leader, following elections held this weekend.
Twenty-four directors have also been elected from whom an executive committee will be appointed under Palanques, who will resign his seat on the AS Carcassonne XIII board as he replaces Toulousain incumbent Carlos Zalduendo.
Monsieur Palanque won 218 of 332 votes following a three-month campaign that promised to prioritise the French Elite championship and the national team, and he will now work to re-unify what amounts to two blocs within the electorate.
FFRXIII will nominate a new director to the RLEF Board in due course.
Monsieur Zalduendo will also step down from the Rugby League International Federation Board, where he sat as one of two RLEF-nominated directors, alongside Graeme Thompson.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Further expansion of Pacific RL

The NRL and Digicel have come together in a three year partnership with the aim to use RL as a tool to educate and empower countries in the Pacific.
  • NRL Pacific Outreach Program: educating youth and women across the Pacific with a focus on achieving real social change.
  • Sponsorship of the Australian Prime Minister’s XIII tours
  • Introduction of a ‘Pacific Warrior’ program to uncover RL talent in the Pacific

The announcement of the partnership was made on Tuesday at the National Football Stadium in Port Moresby.
The two player ambassadors of the partnership are captain of the Australian Jilaroos, Ruan Sims and PNG’s very own Stanton Albert who is playing for the Penrith Panthers in the New South Wales Cup.
The partnership has three priorities:
More than 200, 000 students and 1,000 teachers across a 100 schools in PNG, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga will benefit from this partnership with the NRL implementing tailored educational resources and health and awareness programs.
CEO of Digicel PNG, Maurice McCarthy said community sponsorships were at the heart of Digicel and the company was delighted to be in this partnership with the NRL.
Rugby league is arguably the most loved sport in the Pacific and we are proud to partner with the NRL to ensure more communities have greater opportunities to develop the skills required to play sport, and learn positive values including teamwork and mateship,” said McCarthy.
Chief Commercial Officer of the NRL, Michael Brown added that the partnership would see RL continue to grow from strength to strength in the Pacific.
He said the NRL was looking forward to the success of this partnership that will not only help uncover more RL talent in the Pacific but also bring a greater level of education particularly to youth and women.
I watched the Pacific Test and I can say it was the toughest and most skilful rugby league I’ve seen played this year,” said Brown.

Friday, 1 July 2016

RLIF Reviews Eligibility Criteria

The RLIF is set to review eligibility criteria for international RL and is considering allowing players from AustraliaNew Zealand and England to nominate a second country for which they qualify.
AustraliaNew Zealand and England would be classified as "Tier One" nations and all other countries "Tier Two." An eligible player could swap from a Tier One nation to a Tier Two nation but could not swap between two Tier One nations. The aim of the move is to increase the chances of Tier Two nations and make them competitive at international level. It would also still give players who qualify for Tier Two nations e.g. Tyson Frizzel the chance to play SoO.
As the Kangaroos players receive approximately $20 000 (Australian) per game, the financial incentive of playing for Australia are obvious but the RLIF want to expand international RL and do not want to reduce the chances of FijiSamoaScotland, Wales etc from being more competitive.
The new rules might come as a blow for new England coach Wayne Bennett who is possibly targeting Josh and Brett Morris as well as Trent Hodkinson for his England side. The Morris twins have already played for Australia and would not be eligible for England. Hodkinson has played for NSW but not the Kangaroos and would be eligible for England.
Irish international, Tyrone McCarthy criticised the move on twitter saying the top nations would be able to cherry pick the best talent from developing countries and discard them when they want. 


Thursday, 30 June 2016

Rugby League Continues to Expand in Chile

Rugby League continues to expand in South America with significant efforts being made in the Bio Bio region of Chile.

In a joint initiative between Latin Heat and the Chile Rugby League XIII, efforts are continuing to establish a domestic competition to follow on from Chile's first full international against El Salvador earlier this year.
Development has been focused around the region of Bio Bio with the cities of Negrete, Santa Barbara and Cabrero embracing the efforts to establish the code.
In the city of Cabrero, the local Chilean Rugby League has been conducting a series of junior clinics, engaging around 100 juniors from the local area and educating in the skills of Rugby League.
Negrete and Santa Barbara have both established Rugby League clubs, with both teams conducting training twice a week with aims for the two cities to play each other later in the year.
Chile is the latest Latin American nation to take efforts to establish Rugby League locally in the past two years, joining the likes of Argentina, Mexico and Brazil.