Cross Code Game Between Great Britain Rugby League Team And The Wallabies Set For Wembley Stadium In 2014

In a huge story broken by Phil Rothfield in today’s Sunday Telegraph, it is being reported that an agreement has been made between the Rugby Football League and Australian Rugby Union to play a cross code match at Wembley Stadium in 2014.

The game would see the Great Britain Rugby League team taking on the Australian Rugby Union team in a match that is a much needed money spinner for both administrations.

A similar proposal has been pushed for well over a decade that would see the World Champion Australian Kangaroo’s Rugby League team take on the Australian Rugby Union team, but with the ARL not needing the money, and being unwilling to give its direct competition a free two hour advertising slot on to their massive audience, the game has never come to fruition.

That is not an issue with the Rugby Football League in England. Not only is the RFL desperate to make money any way it can, but it will not feel it has any issues in terms of long term impact by allowing its fan base to be exposed to the rival code. If anything it may actually give the Great Britain Rugby League team a bigger audience as British Rugby Union fans tune in to see how they play against the Wallabies.

I tend to think that these cross code mates are rubbish. I have no interest at all in watching Rugby Union. The game bores me to tears. I don want to watch 80 minutes of it, I don’t want to watch 40 minutes of it. I would much rather see Great Britain playing 80 minutes of Rugby League against ANYONE.

Unfortunately for the Rugby Football League, they simply can not turn down the money. The game in England is in a dire financial position. You can most certainly look at this as a desperate move by the Rugby Football League.

It is a similar case with the Australian Rugby Union. With ARU players facing pay cuts, the ARU losing millions of dollars every season, and with Rugby League in Australia in rude financial health, the ARU really needs to look at any way they can make money.

They are in a very similar position to the RFL really. They either take the money on offer, or they risk the entire sport going broke in their country.

Which team would win the proposed cross code match?

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How the game turns out on the field is anyone’s guess. I’d suggest that every single ARU player will have some Rugby League experience, if only at the junior level. I doubt every single Great Britain Rugby League player has played Rugby Union before though.

I would suggest that which half is played by which set of rules will be a huge deciding factor. I’d guess that if the first half is played by Rugby Union rules the Great Britain team would simply look at damage control in the first half, and then to run the Australian Rugby Union teams forwards off the park in the second half.

If it is played the other way around, with Rugby League rules first, the Australian Rugby Union team would do a similar thing. Try to limit the damage in the first half, then just try to grind away the win in the second half against an opposition that is not only battling fatigue, but an unfamiliarity with the rules.

I also wonder if both teams select their regular lineups, or if they selected a team of specialists instead. It would make sense for the ARU to select a team full of former Rugby League players with the RFL selecting a team full of former Rugby Union players.

Considering that neither team is the best in the world in either code, I don’t think the outcome will say much about either game. That is unless, one side completely destroys the other!

This may also be seen as bait…

If the Australian Rugby Union team won the match I have little doubt that Kangaroo’s players would be dying to gate their hands on the Wallabies and teach them a real lesson.

Should that happen I can imagine the All Blacks wanting to get their shot at the Kangaroos!

While officials from both codes would no doubt be horrified at the escalation, these are all competitive athletes. They will all get fired up to prove a point against any opposition.

One thing that needs to be kept in mind is the ramifications of this happening…

We are coming off the back of possibly the most successful Rugby League World Cup ever. Everyone in the game wants to build upon the World Cups success.

The very first thing the Rugby Football League has done after the World Cup is to turn its back on playing another Rugby League playing nations in exchange for money to play an exhibition game against a Rugby Union team.

I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sit right with me. Where do the Rugby Football League priorities lie? Yes they need to make money, but at what cost? Does the end justify the means? I’m not sure it does.

Had there been an offer on the table to play the Australian Kangaroos in a one off test at Wembley Stadium simply to make money, I’d say gat. Go for it. In this case though I really am not all that sure about the Rugby Football League’s priorities here.

None of this is final. This deal may still fall through. As I wrote earlier, this hybrid game has been pushed by the media for well over a decade and THIS is the furthest the concept has ever got. This game has got beyond a “No way, never, ever!”.

I guess it’s up to the RFL to come clean now. We’re they negotiating to play a hybrid match on the back of the Rugby League World Cups success? If so it would have to go down as an extremely selfish move that would have to crush England’s chances of hosting a Rugby League World Cup for a very long time to come.

Time will tell I guess…

This match also throws up one horrifying outcome I don’t think any of us are willing to face. The day that I start cheering on the Great Britain Rugby League team!

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6 thoughts on “Cross Code Game Between Great Britain Rugby League Team And The Wallabies Set For Wembley Stadium In 2014

  1. While I applaud the idea of getting cash and raising profile I have to admit that such games are essentially pointless and can bring out the worst in their respective fans. Having witnessed several of these, not always by choice, I have a number of points to make. I don’t wish to shock you here but they largely mean the ru side winning the ru bit and the RL side well I’m sure you get the picture, There were several matches played during the war entirely under ru rules and won by the RL side. When Saints played Sale the ru side just shaded the aggregate score despite Saints never touching the ball in the ru half of the match. Do they prove anything – no, Do they achieve anything – no. Will it raise the profile of RL possibly but only if they win. A loss will just be wonderful for the Canary Wharf ru propaganda machine
    ( otherwise laughingly referred to as the british press ) . So a calender where a world Club Challenge , properly organised and marketed or the same with Origin in the UK or an ashes test series might do wonders for RL profile I do have doubts about a game like this. I Have no doubts what so ever about the bias reporting that will almost certainly take place whether or not England were to win,

  2. Oddly enough I’ve never been forced to watch one of these games and always thought they brought out the best in fans. Saints n Sale came together for charity as did Bath n Wigan, In Wigan’s case at least charity toward the education of RU. And i’m sure the 40 minutes of “boring, boring” that accompanied every second of Sales possession was instructive as well.
    Of course there isn’t a media stream in the UK that can make it work for RL. Even if the sky rains blood, the seas boil and RL loses no one will be talking of RU having to stick it up their jumpers and crawl up the pitch.
    Gary Connolly veteran of the Twickers game said at half time Wigan were furious at being lulled into a game of RU and came out with a plan to play it more RL like. There can be a plan formed about these games from experience which must include RL in the first half. There is nothing in this though for RL, unless it was played the week of the 6 Nations and we utterly crushed the U team.

    1. It’s not things like the charity but the “boring, boring” taunt from the Saints fans at that game you quote that I was referring to however accurate not good relations. Though having some of the real nasty comments made by ru fans on sites recently maybe good relations is better under the file name “miracle”!
      I am so glad this story seems to have no foundation and is simply the Sunday Telegraph finally seeing the light and trying to see some decent Rugby for a change.

      1. Yet to see any benefit of good relations. RU seems to prosper very well in spite of its product and lack of knowledge of RL by its fans. Ignorance of RL is an invaluable tool in accepting RU’s mythos after all.
        Yes certainly no newsflash from the British media.

  3. I’ll watch the Union half, but not the league.

    Watch one League game then you’ve seen them all, always kicking on the 5th such a predictable they need to change that bore fest of a game up. It’s also played by thick bone heads that don’t know how to pass a ball.

  4. RUWC 2011 average passes/game England = 148
    RLWC 2013 average passes/game England = 229
    That’s only 64% of the passes shown in U as compared to RL, equivalent teams/competition.
    Oh and said England RL team played in RLWC games averaging 35 kicks per game, compared to RUWC 2011 41 kicks per game.
    Of course none of the RL kicks were straight into the crowd.
    Reality = RL much more passing less kicking than RU.
    Fiction = RL can’t pass and boringly always kick.
    I mean they don’t hide this sort of information, what sort of bonehead would think otherwise?

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