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Reflections on WC and the future

titoelcolombiano

First Grade
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5,830
I've often thought the WC should be every two years. The depth in IR isn't there. For smaller and developing nations, four years is a long time to commit to eventually getting smashed by the top-tier nations.

I think a WC every two years would speed up the development of the small/developing nations. There'll be an immediate result for prospective sponsors/investors. In four year cycle, they'll have two cracks at a WC. This is better than four years, where interest might be lost and not bother.
That's not a bad idea mate at this stage of development for international rugby league
 

Perth Red

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I think that'd be overkill and get stale pretty quick. What we do need is a proper 8 year extensive calendar. Its farcical we are now nearly April and they are still deciding if and what test matches well get in October!
We've got enough competitive nations now, and interest, to have a proper 6 nations tournament alternated between southern and northern hemis in between world cups, world nines, tours etc. But have a fricking plan!
 

titoelcolombiano

First Grade
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5,830
I think that'd be overkill and get stale pretty quick. What we do need is a proper 8 year extensive calendar. Its farcical we are now nearly April and they are still deciding if and what test matches well get in October!
We've got enough competitive nations now, and interest, to have a proper 6 nations tournament alternated between southern and northern hemis in between world cups, world nines, tours etc. But have a fricking plan!
I still think it's a crime that we canned the 4 Nations and replaced it with..... nothing. It was just starting to gain traction. You could bring that back to play once every four years so we have a major tournament every two years (WC / 4N).

As you point out, we have many more competitive nations now than we had when it was cancelled. You could easily make a 6 or 8 nation tournament now:

6 nations would be similar to European RU, pick the nations you want to focus on and lock them in. I'd go Aus, NZ, England, France, Tonga and Samoa. Everyone plays each other once and a final (6 weeks total, 5 guaranteed matches for each nation)

8 nations would solve two problems that a 6 Nations would create:

1. It would include the other two obvious candidates, Fiji & PNG
2. It would create a shorter tournament (which would be more palatable for Players Unions / Clubs etc and therefore less likely to have resistance) because you'd play it in two pools of four and a final (4 weeks total, 3 guaranteed matches for each nation) or two pools of four a semi and a final (5 weeks total, 3 guaranteed matches for each nation).

The 8 Nations could actually get a bit of momentum behind it because you could give Tonga, Samoa, Fiji & PNG to host matches in their own countries and they could take their bigger matches to Auckland or Sydney. Any combination of Tonga, Samoa, Aus & NZ double header for example would draw 50k at Eden Park and probably the same at Accor. Could be a real money spinner.

It also has a point of difference from the world cup as you have these better playing nations clashing in the group stages so you are guaranteed blockbusters that you can deliberately plan and schedule for.
 

Perth Red

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67,083
Quite like that idea, maybe with the two pools in each hemisphere
so pool 1 southern based
aus
tonga
samoa
nz

pool 2 northern based
eng
franc
ire/scot
png/fiji

then semis between the two pools and final in one place. Ambitious but if done right could be as big as wc. Maybe img can help with it lol
 
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180
It was always risky and the Pandemic/Russia invasion have not helped.

Probably better to pick a safe bet (Australian tournament) for the WC and focus on smaller events for the new markets (9s, 4 nations. etc)
 

Perth Red

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Yeh it’s a stupid decision but it’s a financial one not a score based one.

the blow out score games in union had full stadiums earning a lot of money. That nz thrashing had 57k people paying a premium ticket price!
Alas when or top teams play a minnow we’re lucky to get 7000 to the game worth everyone whinging at the price of a ticket.
Until RL fans start supporting the game not just their club we are between a rock and hard place.
 
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jim_57

Moderator
Staff member
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4,444
A quick look at the RUWC scores shows why we should persist with a 16 nation WC. For the first time ever we had two decent teams in each pool.

Blow outs happen, we need to get over it

They could have gone to 16 for ‘21 but kept the same format as 2013 & 2017 just adding one team to Pools C & D. The super pool format works for Rugby League, provides more big pool games and keeps Jamaica & Greece away from the big guns. That was the biggest mistake IMO.

Pool A - Australia, England, Lebanon, France (3)
Pool B - NZ, Tonga, Samoa, Ireland (3)
Pool C - Fiji, Cooks, Scotland, Jamaica (1)
Pool D - PNG, Wales, Italy, Greece (1)

Something like that would have attracted more interest in the pool games and that momentum can carry over to the finals. As it went the pool games fell flat because of very few competitive games.
 
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400
They could have gone to 16 for ‘21 but kept the same format as 2013 & 2017 just adding one team to Pools C & D. The super pool format works for Rugby League, provides more big pool games and keeps Jamaica & Greece away from the big guns. That was the biggest mistake IMO.

Pool A - Australia, England, Lebanon, France (3)
Pool B - NZ, Tonga, Samoa, Ireland (3)
Pool C - Fiji, Cooks, Scotland, Jamaica (1)
Pool D - PNG, Wales, Italy, Greece (1)

Something like that would have attracted more interest in the pool games and that momentum can carry over to the finals. As it went the pool games fell flat because of very few competitive games.
These convoluted groups and setups are terrible though. They destroy credibility.

There needs to be a better solution to ensure the fans get to see the best vs the best, while also offering an opportunity for the growing nations.

For me, the top six nations would all be pretty competitive with each other. So I think it’s important they all play each other and give new audiences the opportunity to see what the best of international RL looks like. In my opinion, this will offer the best chance for financial and crowd success too.

My plan included a 20 team WC in 2 phases. Nations 5-20 play in Phase 1, a three week KO tournament to find two nations to join nations 1-4 in Phase 2 which would be a six nation round robin, followed by a WC Final.

Benefits of a 20 nation WC whilst Phase 2 accommodates the fans with 16 of the highest quality fixtures international RL can serve up.
 

Last Week

Bench
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3,662
These convoluted groups and setups are terrible though. They destroy credibility.

There needs to be a better solution to ensure the fans get to see the best vs the best, while also offering an opportunity for the growing nations.

For me, the top six nations would all be pretty competitive with each other. So I think it’s important they all play each other and give new audiences the opportunity to see what the best of international RL looks like. In my opinion, this will offer the best chance for financial and crowd success too.

My plan included a 20 team WC in 2 phases. Nations 5-20 play in Phase 1, a three week KO tournament to find two nations to join nations 1-4 in Phase 2 which would be a six nation round robin, followed by a WC Final.

Benefits of a 20 nation WC whilst Phase 2 accommodates the fans with 16 of the highest quality fixtures international RL can serve up.
That's more convoluted than the original suggest that you quoted.
 
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400
That's more convoluted than the original suggest that you quoted.
Nothing convoluted about it. Phase 1 with a fair and equitable opportunity to qualify for phase 2 as opposed to unsymmetrical groups all being played at the same stage where teams 4 in the two “Super Groups” get shafted.
 

jim_57

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Staff member
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4,444
Nothing convoluted about it. Phase 1 with a fair and equitable opportunity to qualify for phase 2 as opposed to unsymmetrical groups all being played at the same stage where teams 4 in the two “Super Groups” get shafted.

Not really though, the 4th teams in those groups should be 9th/10th ranked/seeded and they would only have to beat 7th/8th to make the quarters finals. If it goes to form you still have the same 8 finalists with more high profile games to beef up the group stages.
 
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400
Not really though, the 4th teams in those groups should be 9th/10th ranked/seeded and they would only have to beat 7th/8th to make the quarters finals. If it goes to form you still have the same 8 finalists with more high profile games to beef up the group stages.
It’s just not symmetrical and as such biased and in turn lacks parity and is unfair. Why should top ranked nations in the other two groups get an easy ride to quarters? If you can’t run four groups properly, then don’t run four groups.
 

jim_57

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Staff member
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4,444
It’s just not symmetrical and as such biased and in turn lacks parity and is unfair. Why should top ranked nations in the other two groups get an easy ride to quarters? If you can’t run four groups properly, then don’t run four groups.

Disagree. It’s not biased if it’s based on rankings and seedings. 5-6 do get an easier run to the finals but that could also work against them as it’s hardly the best prep, but no worse than the 2022 format.

I don’t think we need to do something just because every other sport does it, we could have had a WC with the same amount of games and most likely the same finalists but with significantly more marquee match ups in the pools game. Rugby league isn’t Football or even Union unfortunately where Tonga 100 def Greece 2 will draw a crowd and audience just because it’s a World Cup.

Doesn’t matter now until at least 2034 I guess.
 
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Coastbloke

Bench
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4,077
Food for thought. 15,000 Australians went to LA to attend NRL.

How many Australians visited England for the 2022 RLWC? If it was substantially smaller - which I’m sadly assuming - then this is something the IRL needs to seriously look at..
 

Perth Red

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Food for thought. 15,000 Australians went to LA to attend NRL.

How many Australians visited England for the 2022 RLWC? If it was substantially smaller - which I’m sadly assuming - then this is something the IRL needs to seriously look at..
Are you suggesting playing the world cup in Vegas? People went for the city more than the rugby. the NRL games were just a reason to go somewhere they wanted to travel to.

It was shame the France WC has been cancelled as it would have got a good amount of overseas fans I reckon. We were planning a 2 week trip around France when it was on!
 

Perth Red

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From the RFL website on RLWC2021 benefits

The significant social impact delivered off the pitch by RLWC2021 was recognised by UK Sport as setting the standard for future sporting events. The report, commissioned by RLWC2021 and delivered by The Sports Consultancy and Substance, found that RLWC2021 and its social impact programmes “demonstrated meaningful impacts for those that watched, engaged, attended and took part.” Because of the geographic footprint, and impact of the tournament’s social impact programmes, 96 per cent of the public believe that hosting RLWC2021 benefited the North of England. Led by £30m of investment, the tournament achieved its ambition of making a positive difference in communities, in grassroots rugby league clubs, and in the lives of people living across the country, especially in the most deprived areas of England.

• £26.4m of investment into communities across the country through the CreatedBy Grants Programme, delivered in partnership with the RFL, DCMS, Sport England and The National Lottery, including 31 large-scale grants and 248 small-scale grants. Of these, 52 per cent of the capital grants were awarded to the top 30 per cent most deprived areas, with 60 per cent of total investment directed towards the top 30 per cent most deprived communities;
• Three volunteer programmes engaged more than 1,300 people in volunteering opportunities, including an accessible volunteer programme for volunteers with mental, physical and learning disabilities through a partnership with Community Integrated Care. This programme supported volunteers with mental, physical and learning disabilities and gave people valuable opportunities to learn new skills, with 95 per cent of inclusive volunteers saying that their experience has made them want to seek out paid work or other volunteering opportunities;
• A multi-disciplinary Cultural Festival attended by over 370,000 people in total, delivered in conjunction with Arts Council England, city partners and delivered by Pinwheel including touring public art, poetry and a programme of engagement projects rolled out across 33 Library Services;
• 56 per cent of the general public, including TV viewers, felt inspired to do more physical activity as a result of RLWC2021. As the most inclusive rugby league tournament ever, the social impact programme improved accessibility to physical activity, with more than 80 per cent of clubs in receipt of large grant recipients saying that the new and improved facilities will improve access for disabled people and women and girls;

 
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