One thing a World Cup does is open the eyes of certain people that forget that the game isn’t just played in Sydney and Yorkshire.
Unfortunately for Rugby League, these ignorant types are usually the people running the game.
As the World Cup gets to the business end of the competition and teams finish their campaign, we are seeing pretty much every country putting their hand up and asking for more help developing the game.
I thought I’d highlight some of the things Rugby League nations have been asking for.
Samoa have really used this World Cup to build a lot of momentum. They have got government backing from Samoa to get Rugby League played in schools over there and professional players have openly stated that they will play for Samoa over New Zealand if they get regular matches.
Samoa have called for a Four Nations competition comprising of Samoa, Tonga, PNG and an Australia A side. They feel having an Australian side of some capacity is critical to improving their own standards.
I think we will defiantly see regular games between Samoa and Tonga and I hope that the winner of those games gets to take up a place in a Four Nations competition that comprises Australia, New Zealand and England.
Papua New Gunea
The PNG government has announced that, with the support of the Australian givernment, they will pledge $20 million dollars towards a PNG based NRL side. They have said this money will go into getting the right facilities and junior development.
This comes on the back of many mining companies in PNG stating they will sponsor a team, and with over 6,000,000 people living in PNG, its a market that’s ready made as far as player and supporter base goes.
I believe they should have a team as soon as they can build at least a 30,000 seat stadium that has enough security to host regular NRL matches. I think we’ll see the first NRL stadium with high fencing surrounding the playing surface.
This is all up to the NRL now. They are terribly reluctant to expand the competition, even with such amazing backing being offered. Its a terrible position to take.
France have probably just shaded England as the most dissapointing team in the World Cup. Their performance has been so bad that they have probably cost themselves a place in the Tri Nations expansion which was going to see them added to the games played between Australia, New Zealand and England.
France have called on the RFL to add another French team to Super League, and I think they will get their wish very soon. We may even see that all announced by this time next year.
Tonga haven’t been as vocal as Samoa in regards to wanting more games, but there is no doubt they are ready for it.
They will likely be involved in playoffs against Samoa for a place in the expanded Tri Nations and you would think Penrith would be the first place you would host such a clash.
Ireland has been a real quiet achiever in this World Cup and their performance can only add weight to the stirrings happening of Ireland wanting a Super league club of its own.
There is now a competition being played in Ireland and I think we’ll probably see a few Super League games being played there just to test the waters over the next few years.
Ireland are sure to call for regular internationals against England in the near future.
As you can see, there is a lot of great ideas being thrown about by other nations, its just a case of the powers that be in Australia and England jumping on board and taking a few chances.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com