No one seems happy with the way international Rugby League is being run right now.
The eligibility rules are completely ridiculous and need changed, the scheduling of games is terrible, one off test matches give erratic results and too many one sided contest, basically no one likes the way anything is being run.
The only time the entire international Rugby League community really gets a fair go is during a World Cup. When a World Cup is being played, everyone gets a run. Everyone plays games against different levels of opposition.
Good teams play bad teams, bad teams play average teams, and by the end of the tournament pretty much every side can look back and see some growth in themselves.
Then, we don’t play a World Cup for another 4 years….
All the good work that was put in gets lost. Players retire, they decide to switch nations, it is a real shame because after 2008 and 2013 all of the momentum international teams build just went to waste.
I personally believe the Rugby League World Cup should be played every 3 years.
This would allow international sides to have an incentive for players to stay. It would allow them to build their teams on a faster cycle than than do now. It would allow players with long careers to play 3, sometimes even 4 World Cup competitions over their career.
Another advantage is that it would allow the World Cup to be moved around more frequently. If you are playing 3 World Cups every decade, why not take a shot at playing one somewhere other than Australia or England. It would open up new opportunities for the game and allow it to take chances.
Now, clubs won’t like this idea at all. I haven’t forgotten them though.
With the World Cup played every 3 years you have two free off seasons to play with. During one of these off seasons I would bring in an international club competition. The format and length of this competition doesn’t really concern me. As long as clubs get what they want out of this competition I think they would agree to the new 3 year World Cup cycle.
It might be an international knockout competition, it might be an expanded World Club Challenge…I think it would actually be a great thing for the game. Sure it would mean no international football for one year but keep in mind, players would still be getting international exposure and they would be able to look forward to their next World Cup a lot sooner than they do now.
As for the other free year you’d have in this cycle, that is the perfect opportunity to have traditional tours. On a 3 year cycle you could still have a Kangaroos, Kiwis and Lions tours occur once every decade. That is not too bad considering how rarely they happen now and how often we would see these teams compete in World Cups.
If you took this three year cycle and overlay it with say an Under 20’s World Cup during the off season assigned to a club competition, all of a sudden you have a very nice looking international calender that caters to international teams as well as clubs. You have enough wiggle room for players to get a rest when needed as it doesn’t mean missing out on their one or two chances they will ever have to take part in international competitions and at the end of the day you get more international games played over a 3 year cycle than we see right now.
I really can not see any draw back to a 3 year World Cup cycle at all. I’ll be interested to see what other people think though. So go to the comments section below this article and have your say!
League Freak’s Proposed Three Year World Cup Cycle
Year One: Rugby League World Cup
Year Two: International club competition and Under 20’s World Cup
Year Three: Traditional tours by Aus, NZ and Eng on it’s one 3 years cycle as well as other competitions such as European and Pacific Cup competitions