Tuks Hold out Ermelo to win Championships

By Daniel Andruczyk

Some rare but always welcome news from that distant and isolated Rugby League land that is South Africa. Over the weekend the Final of the Rhino Cup was played, also the next round of the Lord Derby Cup in France was played with some good results in there. Lebanon’s representative season has started with a solid result for the Presidents XIII and there is some rumour mill today as well as a couple comments on the two organisation in the USA.

South Africa

The South African domestic season has come to an end with the Tuks Bulls defeating the Ermelo Tomahawks by 42-22. In a press release from the South African Rugby League they had this to say:

Tuks Rugby League kept the record straight by winning again the national South African Rugby League Club Championship (The Rhino Cup) 44-22 against Ermelo Thomahawks this past weekend in Vanderbijlpark.

Rugby League consist of play where no line-outs, rucks are used, therefore less “stoppage” during play.  The offensive team gets six tackles whereby the ball gets “hooked” backwards for the next play thus resulting in a much faster attacking/running code of play.  The code suites the running type of player with quick thinking and group-action attitude.

Both the teams did their best to outsmart the other in fast running and good hard group-tackling game.  As a rural squad the Thomahawks did not allowed Tuks to dominate the play at all times.  Tuks application of a RL game plan in both offensive- and defensive- plays resulted in better completion therefore keeping the score board running.

In the first half Tuks started the game with quick successive tries but the Thomahawks made sure this is not going to be a “one-man show”.  At half time Tuks were just in front with the score at 22-16.

Tuks’ fitness started having benefits in the second half by completing the score board with another 4 tries.  The Thomahawks could only score another 1 try to complete their score.

Deon Kraëmer (Tuks RL captain) made sure that the title for “Player-of-the-series” will be his by scoring 2 tries through quick attacks on the opposition’s try line.

First year players Hans du Plessis & Christo (Seep) Louw made their mark in Rugby League by scoring each their first try in a SARL Rhino Cup Final.  JP Nell, Jean Coetzer, Rupert Wells and Franco (Frank the Tank) Vermeulen complete the the rest of the scoring squad with a try each.  At stand-off- Pieter V/d Nest was successful with 5 out of 8 attempts to the sticks.

Stats:

Tuks RL: 8 tries with 5 conversions.  Thomahawks: 4 tries with 3 conversions

“Dawie the Rhino” will therefore “grace” for another year in Pretoria making sure maintenance staff at Tuks can go and sleep well on “maintenance” that will be done well!

The Tuks RL-players will now compete for provincial colors where after national selection will be up for grabs.  The national squad, “The Rhino” will then travel to America (October/November) to qualify for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.  SA Students will also be gearing up to compete at the 2013 Student World Cup.

Tuks RL are now in the process of setting up a process to get the attention of sponsorships to assist in a UK-tour for the club in October-November 2011.

For any enquiries about local Rugby League- contact Fanie @ +27 83 677 2111.

Kind regards,

Fanie Bredenhann

RHINO CUP WINNERS 2011

It also seems that the local news paper is picking up on the sport by at least having an article in the paper about it. Small it may be, but it shows that at least the sport is getting some recognition.

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France

In France the next round Lord Derby Cup was played out. This is France’s annual knock out competition like the Challenge Cup in England. Its been played since 1933 and is one of the sports oldest continually running tournaments. Results were: Albi 28-16 Lyon-Villeurbanne, Avignion 44-02 Villeneuve, Baho 14-54 Pia, Carpentras 16-46 UTC, Toulouse JJ 00-58 Limoux, Carcassonne 12-24 Lezignan, La Reole 06-66 Montpellier and Entraigues 22-26 St Gaudens/Toulouse.

Lebanon

In Lebanon the first of the representative games has been played. In years gone by the Presidents XIII has always got a bit of a raw end of the stick and tended to get pasted a bit by the Liban Espoir. They have lost on average by 29 points and the closest they ever game was by 21. But this year a new selection process was brought in by the Lebanon Rugby League Federation and the talent has been spread out between three teams a bit more evenly. The Presidents XIII has come up against the Federation XIII  over the weekend and it showed that the new criteria is working, with a hard fought game Both teams threw everything into it and at half time the Presidents team was up only 10-4. They finally clicked and were able to really take the game in the second half eventually winning 32-14.

You can read the match report here.

Team P W D L B PD Pt
1 Presidents XIII 1 1 0 0 0 28 2
2 Liban Espoir 1 0 0 0 1 0 0
3 Federation XIII 1 0 0 1 0 -28 0

Comments on the USA

No this is not any remarks on the whole split, as you may all know, David Niu and the AMNRL or Star Group still have not come out and said anything officially. So I will still hold out any comment on that side. But I do feel there are some remarks on both sides that can be made… well maybe a comparison of sorts or something. Basically every week, well almost everyday I go on the AMNRL and USARL websites.

The AMNRL website, as has been for years now is effectively non existent and still remains that way. What is curious now though I have noticed that it automatically directs to the We Are Rugby website. Now this is where things get murky as this seems to suggest that WAR and the Star Group who own them are indeed involved in the direct running of the AMNRL. It can’t be a good thing for sponsorship deals for the AMNRL if there is no site and it goes to a site that may well be a rival one for them. Its not a ‘Rugby League’ or ‘AMNRL’ specific site and to find any news on the AMNRL means sifting through the news site. Fantastic statistics for WAR and Star Group, poor for the AMNRL where when it comes to sponsorship on through the web numbers mean everything. The longer http://www.amnrl.com is no running I can only see more and more damage being done.

Having said that the USARL website is not much better. One of their big points as I understand it was the fact that there was no website for sponsors and fans of the sport in the USA and around the world to go to and reference. You would think that after the split the one thing you would go and do is make sure that you get a great website up and running … bzzzzzz … apparently not. Its not much better than the AMNRL site. It does have a couple of ‘articles’ on there but nothing has been updated or changed in nearly a month. Again if the USARL are looking for sponsors and to direct them to a site they need to fix this up big time otherwise they aren’t any better than the AMNRL site that they had the issues with.

Maybe we all should go to Centrebet and stick a fifty on to see who get their site up and running first? It makes me wonder as I know from my own experience with this site how easy it can be to set up and update and maintain a site. Once you have the layout, you only need about 30 mins a day to keep things current. you can youse LiveWriter or WordPress to write stories and articles and they can get published from anywhere in the world to the site. So I say to both c’mon people, get cracking and get the info out there and the sites done!

Rumour Mill

The rumour mill this time comes courtesy of the Germans. I am hearing that to coincide with this weeks Rugby League European Federation AGM in Frankfurt, Rugby League Deutschland will also be having theirs, and there will be a changing of the guard with one of the senior members on the board stepping down. A new president will be voted in and its expected to be a German running RLD from now on. I should have some more on this next week.

Speaking of the RLEF and their AGM, its also expected that this years internationals and venues will also be announced. We all wait in anticipation as there should be some great match up this year especially with a World Cup Qualification tournament in Europe this year.

A disappointing rumour from the USA with apparently the AMNRL pulling support for the Denver Wolverines team. As it turns out I may have been right with some of my earlier comments that some of the WAMNRL teams would struggle to get teams up and ready for this years season. Not meaning they would fold, but the training, recruiting and promotion process needed at least another year. This according to some was not good enough for the AMNRL and they pulled support. It upset some as they were staunch AMNRL supporters too. I hear that they are now talking with the USARL about possibilities to eventually join them.

Daniel Andruczyk’s email: daniel@rugbyleagueinternationalscores.com
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76 Responses to “Tuks Hold out Ermelo to win Championships”

  1. dragons4eva says:

    Good post Druzik. Good to hear news from around the world. Good on the Saffies and i hope the Tuks do well.

    As for the situation in USA it’s beyond a joke now. Look i know different people have done fantastic work in the US with the sport, however it has gotten WAY out of hand.

    BOTH the Amnrl and the USARL should pull up their socks, work together and do what’s best for RL in the USA.

  2. Shaun says:

    We all spend so much time on these forums and websites waiting for big news out of the USA.
    I think we should just stick to canada, jamaica and the european countries. They are all developing much more rapidly than the us, and much more effectively.
    I hope the USA can improve, but italy, serbia, russia, lebanon and malta are all much better to follow – not inregards necessarily to websites, but just in general.

    • druzik says:

      That is a fair point, they all seem to be going well at the moment.

      One difference I can see between them and the way the USA was structures at the top is that there’s a team of people running the National bodies, you have a president, treasurer, vice president development officer and others involved, See Jamaica, Russia, Serbia etc… are all part of the RLEF, and one of their stipulations to be a member of that organisation is that you have a proper structure in place and not, say just one person running the show as has been the case in the past with some countries.

      Websites are an important part of an organisation being visible particularly when starting out. Many of the wensites are not the best looking ones, but they have them and the info is on there and updated for sponsors and fans to see.

  3. Interested Observer says:

    Shaun, you may be right but I hope not. It would be such a shame to see the USA lose their momentum after working so hard and making some big gains over the last few years.

    With talk of Russell Crowe wanting an event in Vegas, the success of RL in Philadelphia and in Florida and talk of a west coast expansion, this was the year to capitalize on the interest of RL in America.

    I would hate to see the game take a big step backwards in the States. Both the AMNRL and the USARL can promise all sorts of concepts and ideas but they will be judged by what actually happens and what they deliver for players, fans and spectators. Someone needs to get their act together quick smart.

    • druzik says:

      I don’t think the USA will lose momentum.

      The Crowe thing was pie in the sky, it was publicity for him and Souths and nothing more. It achieved nothing, here in the USA no one picked up the story or mentioned it and Russel himself never said anything about it while on the TV talk shows here. if Russel was indeed a true lover of Rugby League, the night before the opening match of the Atlantic Cup when he was on Leno he should have mentioned and talked about it and not the Inglis Saga…. there was no mention of the AMNRL or the Atlantic Cup. The only news services that picked up Russel’s comments (from japan no less) weree the Daily tele, NRL.com and the SMH and a couple other Aussie sports sites.

      Dont get me wrong, russel has done wonders for Souths, but in terms of “Rugby League” I think he is no different to 90% of the RL fans in Australia who dont even realise that the sport is played in 40 other countries around the world.

      As you say it will come down to results. We’ll see who is the first to actually do something properly. AMNRLS first big test is in a month and a half with the USA v Ireland “Donnybrook Cup”.

  4. KeighleyWeb says:

    It was getting to look like the USA would finaly reach the World Cup with a good strong league running until last month, it now is starting to look like league in the states could sink into a big black hole now.

    Come on guys, shake and make up.

    • druzik says:

      Actually my money was gonna be on the Jamaicans this year…. from waht I saw in the Atlantic Cup they were clearly the more impressive. The USA won but only just. Jamaica with a more professional attitude would have taken that first game giving them the Atlantic cup. they have improved markedly in one year… with the Accelerator program money and help I think its going to make a real difference to their local players in particular. It will pay for training, equipment, coaches to really get prepare them properly.

      The USA recent;y had a comp for their players, but as I have been told by several people now they did not take the Accelerator money, choosing to go it alone.

      • deluded pom? says:

        I can’t figure David Niu out. Why wouldn’t you accept the accelarator money? Is it because the AMNRL would then have to have a board of people running the game rather than one man? Maybe I CAN understand his logic.

      • druzik says:

        Don’t know…. look there may be good reasons behind it. Then again I only have heard this from other sources and not from the AMNRL as they are not really saying anything… so who knows.

        You make an interesting point though, is the AMNRL just a 1 man show or does it have a board. Thinking about it I have only ever seen DN name with the AMNRL and no one else in terms of a board…. so you may have a point there.

        This is why I feel having something like and Atlantic federation where you have a body that makes sure teams fall in the guidelines is important. The RLEF clearly has brought in some stability into teams with clear outlines of where they need to be to be recognised and get support.

      • jannerboyuk says:

        On the board thing, the usarl facebook page has pics of a board with many people named. They already seem a thousand times more open then the amnrl or the rfl, rlif, nrl for that matter!

      • druzik says:

        Sure, the USARL board is Peter Illfield as CEO with one representative from every club I believe.

        The RFL board is no secret as is the NRL and RLIF… those are pretty much public domain…. no?

      • deluded pom? says:

        You do sometimes see other alleged AMNRL board members who seem to be Aston Bulls members i.e Bill Hansbury, Jeff Preston. The coaching squad for the Tomahawks is almost always exclusively Bulls too with maybe the exception of Robert Balachandran. The exceptions to this are when they get a pro coach involved for big games or tournaments like Jon Cartwright or Matt Elliott.

      • druzik says:

        Oh, I never seen their names associated with a board on the AMNRL?

        Mmmm Vassy is from the Bulls too… he is one of the coaches with the Tomahawks as well.

  5. CravingStability says:

    I wish it could be as simple as the two parties just hammering out differences and getting on with the future. In fact, it seems overwhelmingly stubborn and childish that they cant.

    What I would give to have a look at any contract made between stargroup and the AMNRL – and check to see if there is an escape clause or not.

    Rugby League needs a STRONG USA, desperately. Otherwise the sport will be condemned to being nothing more than that ‘game played without pads’ and ‘I think the US would really like this’ and more of the same wishful comments that have echoed forums since the birth of the internet.

    Please Please Please Gents you have made your points, get back together in time for the WC qualifiers. You need each other if you want to make it to England and actually win some cash.

    • druzik says:

      Escape clause on what? I think many people would like to see that contract if one exists.

      Though I am not sure why Rugby League needs a “strong USA” ? Union and Soccer don’t necessarily have strong USA teams and they do just fine.

      What the sport needs is a strong RLIF that is able to promote the sport properly around the world.

  6. Tomo says:

    “A new president will be voted in and its expected to be a German running RLD from now on”.

    Hmmmm…. dont tell the President who is stepping down he is not German, Druzik 🙂

    • druzik says:

      Weeeell…. Coops is German in a sense. His Dad is full German from Hamburg and Simon is a citizen and has lived in Germany for … 10 years or so now I think. He may have been born and lived in the Halifax and there’s where he loves Rugby League, so he may be considered not German in that regard.

      But I’ll have more next week.

  7. Tomo says:

    Fair comment mate but Si is 100% Halifax 500% DRL.
    Going to be hard to find a guy more committed,maybe more “sasy” (is that a Cumbrian word ???) in the management side but I think DRL will still see a lot of commitment form the guy behind the development scene.
    Big raps to all the work he has done in Germany over the last 6 or 7 years.

    • druzik says:

      Well if what I am hearing from sources is correct they do have someone just as good and committed.

      I suspect that Si’s stepping down because of his pending nuptials and preparing for that.

      But he indeed has been a huge reason for their success. I think the biggest thing was that he was able to form a great management team that was able to run things. It never fell on the shoulders of just one person.

  8. Interested Observer says:

    The Star Group have been mentioned a number of times in various threads and I think some clarification on what their actual role is with RL in the USA/AMNRL is needed.

    It sounds like they want control over RL in the USA and have over stepped the mark of being just an advertising and marketing group. Again, we all await some type of word from the AMNRL.

    Perhaps someone from the USARL can shed some light on the Star Group given the breakaway teams were said to be unhappy with the Star Group and their links to the AMNRL?

  9. Steve says:

    If rugby league wants to go forward in the USA then all AMNRL teams should jump ship to the USA Rugby League. In my vision the USARL will go further then the AMNRL if you look at it AMNRL will only have 4 or 5 teams, USARL will have 9 teams which are the more professional clubs with proper facilities and they will go furtheer does Niu want to the sport to develop over there?

    Obviously the first step is qualifying for the World Cup and if they miss out they only have themselves to blame. Just when things started to look positive with further expansion teams such as the WAMNRL, Southern Chiefs, Florida League it all goes down the drain.

    They also really need to focus on developing JUNIOR TEAMS in whatever way they can- the more they have young kids growing up playing rugby league the better they will be in the future.

    Grow some balls AMNRL and do what’s right for the game!

    Steve

    • druzik says:

      I think its way too early to say if the AMNRL or USARL are the right ones to go. First lets make sure that the USARL get their 2 new clubs up and running and the competition happening.

      I have only seen the Jacksonville facilities and been told about the Phily and Pittsburgh ones, they are meant to be pretty flash. Don’t know what the AMNRL ones are like though.

      Juniors are important, but in the USA I don’t think critical to its success… not initially anyway.

  10. deluded pom? says:

    Any chance you can get in touch with the S. Africans dru and explain that you’d be willing to post any relevant news items on here to get the word out on S African rugby league? They really are a mystery to 99.9% of rugby league fans, even international fans. Insularity is never a good thing. I know they host tours by BARLA and also come to the UK but news from SA is like hen’s teeth.

    • druzik says:

      Yes… good idea…. am onto it!

      • Cheyne Maher says:

        Good to hear some news from South Africa Dan. Like yourself and deluded pom have insinuated they really are isolated and being a minority sport obviously they don’t enjoy the sort of financial support that the Springboks do, meaning they will struggle come up with the funds to travel for tournaments/major tours overseas. I think from memory this is why they pulled out of the Atlantic WC qualifiers in 2006 (for the 2008 WC)?

        This is why i really believe moving forward the MENA concept should be expanded to a “MEGA” region, to include all African nations as well as those from the Middle East and Northern Africa.

        Just from doing a few quick calculations over the internet these are approximate distances from South Africa to some of the major nations in a proposed MEGA region

        6700KM TO LEBANON
        6600KM TO PAKISTAN
        6200KM TO UAE
        7300KM TO MOROCCO

        This is opposed to the distances from South Africa to some of the major nations in the current “Atlantic” region, which spands through all time zones across the world

        12800KM TO NEW YORK
        12600KM TO JAMAICA
        14100KM TO CANADA
        13300KM TO JAPAN

        and even one of their closest potential “rivals”from an Atlantic group Argentina are still 8568km away.

        The more i think of this, the better off i think South Africa would be if they were in this group.

        This would give us four strong regions; Europe (all continental European teams), South Pacific (Aus, NZ, PNG and Pacific Islands), MEGA (Lebanon, UAE, Morocco, South Africa, Pakistan etc) and AMEA (Americas and East Asia, which would include Japan, USA, Canada, Jamaica and hopefully eventually the likes of Argentina).

        Say in a 16 team WC, which seems to be the general consensus for 2017 you could still have the 7 South Pacific Spots, 6 European spots, 1 AMEA spot, 1 MEGA spot and 1 repercharge spot (which would be the winner of a four team knockout, the four teams being second in the MEGA region, 2nd in the AMEA region, 7th in Europe and 8th from the Pacific). If the host came from either the MEGA or AMEA region (highly unlikely that any country from this region would be ready), that region would be granted an extra position, either by scrapping the repercharge or reducing the no. of automatic spots from either the South Pacific or European regions.

        Based on current rankings here is what such a WC could look like

        South Pac: Aus, NZ, PNG, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Cook Is.
        Europe: Eng, France, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Italy
        MEGA: Lebanon
        AMEA: USA

        Repercharge: The winner of a knockout between South Africa, Jamaica, Russia/Serbia and Solomon Islands.

        This would result in a pretty good representation of the best 16 teams in the world and ensure that all four regions have a presence.

        Long term my vision would allow the MEGA region to split into Middle East and Africa and the AMEA region would split into Americas and East Asia. This would only happen when these smaller regions had enough teams playing RL to be viable (ie the likes of China, India, Argentina, Namibia etc) and when there is AT LEAST one nation from each of those regions that you could say are strong enough to compete in a WC (say when the likes of South Africa and Japan improve to the standard of Lebanon and USA/Jamaica, which may not be far away?)

        I would then have a 20 team WC with spots allocated as follow; 7 SOUTH PACIFIC, 7 EUROPEAN, 1 AMERICAs, 1 EAST ASIA, 1 MIDDLE EAST, 1 AFRICA, 1 REPERCHARGE BETWEEN second placed Africa, second placed Middle East and possibly eighth placed Europe, 1 REPERCHRAGE BETWEEN second placed Americas, second placed East-Asia and possibly eighth placed South Pacific.

        If the host didn’t qualify through their group they would be given one of the repercharge spots and the to repercharge winners would play off for the one remaining repercharge spot.

        Ideally i would also have one spot available for the defending cup holder, but chances are they will qualify any way – if they didn’t perhaps either the no. of European or Pacific spots available could be reduced by one.

        THAT IS MY LONG TERM PIPEDREAM ANYWAY….

        Wow a little off topic, but once i start i just get on a roll haha!!

        Main point i wanted to make is that South Africa should be included in the proposed MEGA region to help accelerate their development and help make it logistically possible to develop some local rivals instead of trekking across the globe to meet teams in the same group.

        Cheers Cheyne

      • druzik says:

        That is a pretty well thought out post.

        Your MEGA idea actually has some meritt looking at that. Indeed the last time in 2008 when South Africa did tour, they chose to do it in the UK. You are correct that basically the SARL did not have the money to do the atlantic qualifiers for the World cup and from what I know felt that saving money from 2006-2008 for the UK tour would serve them better development wise. I saw them play Lancashire at Leigh the day after the ESL grand final in 2008, they had a decent size squad with 30 players come over and I know that everyone over the 4 matches played got to have at least 2 runs in the Lanashire, Yorkshire and Cumbria games before their match against GB BARLA.

        If SA were to go to the MEGA region it would be imperative then that Japan come in under the Atlantic region…. or as you call it AMEA (great acronym BTW). Some great food for thought there.

      • deluded pom? says:

        Plus SA have the advantage of being English speaking, even if it’s a second language, so that it’s not like their news would have to be translated into English.

      • druzik says:

        Yep…. I have spoken with them and they are going to get a whole bunch of info to me for me to write something…. you’ll need to give me a few weeks though.

      • deluded pom? says:

        Don’t woory if it takes a couple of weeks to write up dru. We’ve waited long enough, a few more weeks won’t matter.

  11. Cheyne Maher says:

    Thanks mate.

    Cheers I am not sure how to pronounce it exactly AM-EE-AH or AIM-AH, haha. I figured an acronym would be easier than Asian-Atlantic though, but i supose it could be called anything really…. Atlantasia?? For now we’ll stick with AMEA, unless someone comes up with something else??

    Yeah as you say the “AMEA” group would need Japan to bulk up their numbers as there are not yet enough American countries for them to have their own region. You really need AT LEAST four to have a region and ideally a governing body similar to the RLEF, so for them to eventually split you would need say Argentina or other South American countries to AT LEAST reach the standard that Canada are at and preferably more like where Jamaica are.

    Similarly Japan need the American teams for the same reason – the number of other teams that play RL to their standard in East Asia is currently zero, so they shouldn’t leave the AMEA group until the likes of China, India, Thailand, Korea etc jumped on board and got up to a decent standard with proper infrastructure.

    Same goes with the possibility of MEGA splitting up into the Middle East and Africa.

    So realistically when i talk about a long term vision it is like a 25-50 year vision probably, before you could potentially split the four regions into six, but the potential is there if RL does manage to gain a real foothold across the globe (in a similar way to Rugby Union, which is played on a small scale in 100+ countries). This long term vision would ensure that Asia, Africa and the middle East are all represented in a WC, which is important as these regions all contain vast resources and are emerging as serious economies.

    For now though you could have four pretty strong regions, which could be grouped into two spheres from a funding/development support point of view – a Euro sphere (Europe and MEGA) and an Oceanic sphere (South Pacific and AMEA). This splits the total number of countries currently playing RL and the total number of potential countries fairly evenly between the two spheres.

    • druzik says:

      Well yout acronym… your pronounciation I guess lol

      If Singapore and Bali and a couple other nations do come into it it would boost the numbers up potentially with the AMEA. It would still mean there has to be a regional governing body though…. Bali however I can see trying to join into the pacific group… I mean they essentially are all part of the same Indonesian archipeligo as with PNG…. to me that would make sense.

  12. Steve says:

    @Cheyne Maher wouldn’t Japan be better off competing with teams from the Pacific? obviously not against the likes of Samoa, Tonga, Fiji and Cook Islands but Niue? Solomon Islands? I have heard Singapore to be included in an Asian Cup. Maybe Japan could play Singapore, Niue, Solomon Islands, or even China in the future.

    • druzik says:

      Japan at the moment are desperate to play anyone. They have 3-4 domestic teams, and travel every February for the International 9s and also try to get one 13s game in while there against anyone. they always put invites to teams to go and tour there and yet no one seems to want to go.

      Solomon Islands I think never really got off the ground…. there was lots of talk but there has been nothing for over a year from there. China at the moment is one guy trying to get something going…. India and Thailand are dreams at the moment, no one there doing anything. Singapore as we know is getting up and running again and Niue is a bunch of Kiwi and Aussie ex-pats with lots of experience and in essence should be thrown in with the other PI teams.

  13. Ryan says:

    I don’t think Japan would be too far ahead of any new nations that may pop up in Asia. They would get slaughtered by the US, Canada and Jamaica though. I agree with Steve. If Japan has no Asian competition then they can play “second-tier” Pacific sides.

    Agree thoroughly with your “MEGA” idea though.

    • Cheyne Maher says:

      Thanks for the feedback boys,

      I did think about putting Japan into an Asia-Pacific group, which would still allow this region to split in the long term to simply an Asian and Pacific group. This does make sense from a time zone point of view and with countries like Indonesia also technically part of Asia but so close to PNG and Aus. is a real possibility.

      However this means that Japan is competing against the likes of Tonga, Samoa, Cook Is etc for a place in the WC. I hope I’m wrong but Im not sure they will be on the same level as these teams in our lifetime. I agree they aren’t at the same level as USA and Jamaica yet either, but i would guess similar to Canada though? Like you say Steve they would definitely compete with the likes of Solomon Is. and Nuie etc, but i figured they would be a better chance of making a WC in the next 20 years being in with USA etc.

      Maybe though it doesn’t matter and realistically they won’t get past those teams any time soon either – maybe they wont get into a WC until the East-Asia region split from whoever they are grouped with for now (either the Americas or Pacific).

      So it is a toss of the coin, both have good points. In terms of exposure and logistics it probably helps Japan to be in an East-Asia Pacific group (which is kind of the point of the Middle East and Greater Africa concept), but that leaves the Americas group with just three teams at the moment. Perhaps though by the time 2017 WC qualifiers start there could be one or two more countries from south and central america step up to “bulk” up this group.

      I would be happy with either, just long term i would like to see them Eastern Asia on their own (not before they are ready though). Asia is such a big market and an eastern asian presence in a WC is crucial if the RL WC is to ever reach the scale of a RU WC in terms of revenue generated and exposure. I guess this really highlights the importance of building up these other nations you guys have mentioned.

      Good constructive points. Im not sure which way i am leaning now? Before typing my original post in this blog i had weighed up both scenarios and was happy that the AMEA concept was better than the Asia Pacific, but Im probably back on the fence now. Both have their advantages and either could work though.

      • druzik says:

        Japan v Canada would be a great game at the moment. I have seen both teams play and I think their standard is about right. it would be a tough call….. hmmmmmm now I have the creative juices working…

    • druzik says:

      Japan just continue to plug away… it would be nice if more teams travel or they can get to travel more to other places and improve. Still Kapru and David over there do a great job.

  14. Cheyne Maher says:

    I totally agree with what you say about Bali/Indonesia. They would definitely be more likely to come into the Pacific group, as you say they are in the same island chain as PNG and given the Aussie influence there it makes sense to have them belong to this group.

    It would definitely be good to see some teams travel to Japan, this is crucial to their development.

    In the short term maybe an Aussie PM XIII tour could be organised to go to PNG, Bali, Singapore and Japan, while a NZ PM XII tour could travel to USA, Canada, Jamaica. 2012 would be a good year for such a tour and could be used by the Aussies and Kiwis as a development tour, for those players who are on the fringes to give the usual stars a rest year (which i have read the ARL want to do in 2012).

    Maybe the two PM XIII teams could even meet up in Japan for a one off game at the end of such a tour(like the All Blacks and Wallabies do). This would be a massive event and such exposure could lead to RL gaining a credible foothold in Japan and giving their “rugby” players an alternative to Union.

    Thats my short term (prior to 2013) exposure plan, medium term (from 2014 onwards) group them into either AMEA or Asia Pacific (leaning slightly toward AMEA) and long term (when they are ready) have an East Asian region in their own right to ensure this region are represented in a WC.

    • druzik says:

      Though I am an advocate for not worrying about blow out scores in tournaments …. a tour like that with the PM XIII would do more harm than good I suspect.

      Actually the whole PMXIII concept is a strange one and seems to be only in the domain of Rugby League. No other sport has these kinds of teams.

      If I was to have any sort of team go overseas, outside of the reghular national team and tournaments, I would kill two birds with the one stone and have a comboined Australian Affiliated States team and the NZ residents team head over. These two seems to always get neglected heavily in promotion and they need to get wider exposure to not only Australian crowds but also international ones.

      It has always bamboozled me why during SoO the opening games before them is not the Affiliated states championships. You have six rep teams right there that can play through the 3 SoO games as well: Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Combined Northern Territory and ACT and NZ residents. All are at about the same level and it would be a massive honour and boost for the local teams.

  15. Cheyne Maher says:

    Good point – such teams would be at a much more appropriate level for the likes of Japan etc, think i was just getting a bit ahead of myself there, haha.

    The PM XIII concept certainly is a bit unique, but i think RU did something similar where they had Australia “A” and a “Maori” team compete in a Pacific Nations Cup with Tonga, Samoa, Fiji and Japan. I am not a fan of having “A” teams compete in such tournaments, but do believe that as promotional tours they could have a lot of value. As you say sending them to tiny RL nations like Japan etc would do more harm than good, but like i think i mentioned in another blog, sending teams like this to more established RL countries such as Fiji, Samoa etc could be quite successful. One, because they could comepte with such teams and two as NRL players are well known in these countries – when i went to Samoa and was reading Joeys autobiography a lot of the Samoan residents loved to talk about the NRL as well as Super Rugby. If a PM team full of NRL players played at Apia Stadium against either the Samoa test team or simply residents side the locals would love it and if done semi-regularly it could help RL take over RU in the Pacific Islands.

    As you point out a more hyped up affiliated states competition, played in conjunction with SOO would be appealing. I have got an idea how this could work into a full mid season rep schedule, which importantly would appeal to the broadcasters. I might look at typing it up and sending it to you later for your thoughts, as i should go and earn some $$ and i know once i start i can elaborate and deviate way off topic! Like you say, these blogs tend to start the creative juices flowing, but unfortunately that won’t pay the bills haha! Have a great day mate.

  16. Ryan says:

    PM’s XII – Cricket.

    • druzik says:

      Um its the PM XI

      However the concept is different to the RL one.

      In the cricket one I am pretty sure the PM has a say in who is in the team and the game is used to have the touring side to give the local canberra people a slightly better level of cricket. Its used to try and give the younger players a run and outside of Canberra never gets used.

      In Rugby League, its used to to go to PNG, its basically players that will be or are on the fringe of the Kangaroos and not involved in the final 2 weeks of the play offs. In essence I think it should be called a Kangaroos team. Its still the best players and they are playing the full national PNG squad.

      If it were me, that match would be a Kangaroos game and a full international.

  17. Ryan says:

    Whoops one “I” too many… my bad.

    But yes you’re right about the cricket side, though it may be interesting to note that they have beaten full national sides before.

    Rugby Union has also had a PM’s XV team before in 2006 playing against the full Japanese national team (and winning).

    Anyway, I was just trying to illustrate that it isn’t an idea exclusive to Rugby League, though it might have something to do with Australian sporting teams.

    • druzik says:

      OK I can see your point…. maybe its better to make the AAS team the PMXIII team. It then at least put a bit more prestige for that side and may well put the other states more into the media spotlight by having more high profile games?

      Could be a thought.

      • Ryan says:

        I agree with you. The AAS team should be used as a tool to encourage people to take up Rugby League in those states. People playing Aussie Rules at a local level in these areas could see the opportunity to represent the country and go overseas meaning it may persuade them to try Rugby League.

      • druzik says:

        Indeed, could be a great incentive.

  18. Cheyne Maher says:

    I like the idea of using an AAS team as a tool for attracting top athletes in these states – great idea!

    One thing i am not sure about though is whether or not you would include the likes of James McManus and other NRL players who have graduated from other states. McManus has played for NSW Country and NSW in SOO, but he is from NT originally.

    Players such as McManus have a profile, which would lift the profile of these teams. If you had these players playing in the AAS Origin Championship, from which a AAS team was picked, it could be televised and generate revenue for these states.

    The problem with including say McManus is then do you include others that have come from the Affiliated states but are only playing premier league and bundy cup etc.

    These players (you would think) would still be of a higher standard than those playing in the affiliated states own competitions, but if all of them were included, you would just about fill the entire team, leaving little to no room for the players playing in the Affiliated state competitions.

    This takes away the carrot somewhat….

    What do you guys reckon is the better way to go?

    • Ryan says:

      To be honest I would only include residents of those states. Like you said, it takes away the incentive for converts, juniors etc.

      The AAS team could be a pathway for these players to get contracts in the Bundy Cup, NSW Cup, QLD Cup or even the NRL.

      • druzik says:

        Well yes… the AAS is the players that play in those state leagues… not say a Victorian playing in NSW.

        It would as you say then lead hopefully to contracts in the larger clubs and maybe even lead to a team being set up in the NRL.

    • druzik says:

      Well the Bundy cup teams etc already have their own state of origin comp anyway so they would not be included.

      The idea of the AAS is to promote the sport and players in those states.

      Lets be clear… the AAS state championships already exist, and the AAS national team already exists and tours the pacific islands every year.

      What I am saying is that those teams and competition need to get a higher promotion and push in the Australian public by playing the games at state of origin and rebranbding the national team as the PMXIII and giving them higher profiles games and televised or at least radio.

      • Cheyne Maher says:

        Ok, makes sense. I guess the lines I was thinking along were to create an affiliated state of origin competition, with the best players available for each state to compete. Call it Australian Affiliated state of origin (AASOO) or whatever.

        I suppose potentially you could have both – continue to have an AAS championship for residents/players in those states domestic comps, along with tours for a combined AAS residents team – and then have a seperate AASOO.

        This may not be viable just yet, but i have heard Kevin Sheedy talk of the AFL trying to do something similar, by having a SOO series between QLD AND NSW in AFL. This may just be Sheedy talking rubbish to try and promote the GWS (Greatest waste of Space lol), but it has merit. NSW and Qld are never going to compete with VIC in a SOO series in AFL (not in the short-medium term anyway), but with more and more professional players of NSW and QLD heritage playing AFL they should be able to each field a strong side to play eachother. If RL did the same thing, especially once say WA had their own team in the NRL, which would improve the pathway for their juniors, this could really take off. It wouldn’t be on the same level as SOO as we know it, but could perhaps be on the same night as City v Country, which could be a three match series for those who miss out on origin.

        This all ties into my idea for a full mid season rep schedule that I referred to earlier and will e-mail to you later today Dan. Have a read and let me know what you think.

        Cheers Cheyne

      • druzik says:

        Well the AAS State Championships even though are residents…. I guess I don’t see why a NRL player could not jump in there.

        I see no reason why as the years progress and say the standard gets better and better, we cant have State of Origin expand to say a tri-series with say the winners for the AAS championships come in and play State of Origin as well… or something along those lines.

        It would be great eventually to have all states play in a State of Origin with two groups I think e.g. NSW, WA, VIC+TAS and then QLD, NT+ACT, SA

        Each team play each other once and the winners of each group then play off in a final….. and bring in Neutral venues then?

        Look forward to reading what you have.

  19. Cheyne Maher says:

    Sorry mate didn’t get time to finish it off and Im off to my other job and Im away this weekend, but will send it next week.

    Just on what you mentioned about a long term plan to have all states play together, i reckon a two tiered system with promotion and relegation could work well.

    Eg. SOO CUP: NSW, QLD, WA (play a round robin over three seperate weeks/weekends – each team hosting one game each).

    SOO PLATE: NT, VIC, SA and TAS (play a round robin over three seperate weekends – each team hosts one game over the first two weeks and the final round to be played as a double header at a neutral venue (maybe have a bidding process), so that the winner can be crowned on that night – no matter who they are.

    Then there would be a fourth week/weekend where you could have a double header for the CUP FINAL and a Cup Qualifier for the following years series.

    For eg.

    CUP FINAL STANDINGS: NSW 4, QLD 2, WA 0

    PLATE FINAL STANDINGS: NT 6, VIC 4, SA 2, TAS 0.

    In the fourth weekend NSW will play QLD in a CUP final (no dead rubbers) and WA would play NT (as winners of the Plate) to decide who qualifies as the third team in the cup the following year.

    All states host at least one match each, all play three games (except for NT who play four) and all should be competitive.

    Obviously this is long, long term, but the advantage of having tiers with p & r as opposed to groups is that you dont need to wait until all states are up to a decent standard – just one, especially as it isnt automatic p & r – the third best team always has the chance to stay in the Cup if they happen to be head and shoulders above the fourth best.

    Have a good weekend mate and i’ll get that email to you next week. Cheers

  20. tax_dodger says:

    just wondering about the usa, they have no official body like every other country does, so why is it decided that the amnrl (a league) is in control of the game over there?

    anyway, they need to sort themselves out sooner, otherwise jamaica and canada will be overtaking them in 2/3 years as they both are going about the right way with regards to development: juniors, schools, univerisities etc. makes it dissapointing that canada are ineligible for the wc qualifiers.

    • druzik says:

      When you say no official Body, what do you mean by that? Are you talking about the RLEF or an actual; national body?

      The AMNRL is the official National body of Rugby League in the USA. they are the ones recognised by the RLIF…. just as the FIRL are recognised in Italy and not the IRLF.

      Well…. everything I saw last year I would say Jamaica is on par with the USA. They were unlucky to loose I feel, a few silly mistakes took their momentum away in the last 10 minutes. Certainly the Accelerator Program will help Jamaica big time.

      • tax_dodger says:

        i mean overall governing body, such as the rfl, arl, wrl etc. i thought the amnrl was just a league??? that’s why the two leagues are not aligned i thought, coz there’s no governing body, just two separate leagues.

      • druzik says:

        The amnrl is the governing body as well as was the local competition name.

      • tax_dodger says:

        alright, thanks. that’s helluva confusing though, maybe they should rename it ‘amnrl north east conference’ or something, coz it’s a bit embarrasing to call it national.

      • druzik says:

        Well I think Chicago will be playing in the AMNRL as well, not sure about any other teams though.

  21. Ryan says:

    Just going back to discussing the AAS team I was just thinking this morning that it might be an idea to have an U/20s AAS team play in the Toyota Cup. What do you guys reckon?

    • druzik says:

      Maybe, but there are three issues pop out with that idea and would need to be addressed:

      1. that would make 17 teams in the Toyota cup… do we play with a bye or bring in another team.
      2. The u20 teams are still fully professional, an AAS team is amateur, they will struggle and the way Aussy RL fans and media are they will ridicule the team quickly
      3. Are there enough U20 players at a high enough quality in the other states to even form such a team?

      • Ryan says:

        They’re all the issues I’ve thought about as well.

        1. Don’t really know how to get around that, but bringing in another team could help. A Pacific Islands team could work, with the best junior talent from the actual islands. Kill two birds with one stone.
        2. I understand that, but hopefully the AAS team would be getting paid as well. Of course it would take time for them to be competitive but I’m not sure how far behind they would actually be. With a good coach you never know how far they could go at that level, especially if he gets them working well defensively (something the Toyota Cup lacks). Your right, the media are a joke, but if the NRL were smart they’d be promoting the hell out of it like the AFL would.
        3. I’d hope that between all the Affiliated States there would be, though I am unsure. If they got the right development programs in place you never know. Do you know the number of juniors playing all up in these areas? That would be helpful, we could analyse that number with the numbers from most NRL clubs junior districts.

        A lot of obstacles, but I think the benefits would outweigh the negatives. Something for the IC to think about (if it ever gets up and running).

      • druzik says:

        OK, lets have a think about these:

        1. Well bringing in a PI team would kill off the local comps and we will be back to square one… do the players play for their home nation or for Australia/New Zealand? In the ens I can only see a PI team eventually being made from local players in Australia and not bringing in any outsiders…. that will be the issue we always have. Also what countries fall under this? PNG, NZ? Will the NRL now become rather than an “National” competition, will be the IRL “International Rugby League” … how will this affect A. the fans in Australia and how they percieve the game B. the sponsors, how willing will sponsors want to come on board for teams that really have a small market appeal in Australia?

        2. Where will the money for an AAS team come from considering all the other states have no money and are all amateurs on the level of some of the European Teams? Cant see the NRL funding them being a popular move, cant see any rich person from those states coming on board. See the AFL have been smart in that they knew they had a saturated market in Vic and SA and so they early on decided on a long term goal to expand into the other states. They had lean years at the start but stuck with it. Rugby league is not like that anymore, its reactionary and very rarely sticks with a good thing for the long haul. If they did we would have a 20 team comp all over the country by now with money and have a good international competition that would have effectively assigned the ather sports to the scrap heap 12 years ago.

        3. I don’t think there is, its like the other European teams and Atlantic teams, its people who have been playing Union or want some other sport, and they are not 18, they are all mid to late 20’s.

        The benefits though I am not sure of. I think we are better off having individual teams in the other states to bring them up to speed. The PI’s need help to develop in their own countries and get the comps there to at least a semi pro level. Thats where you make the best impact with a sport, where it starts to help the local community.

  22. Ryan says:

    1. How so? It would merely be the best juniors from a collection of PI nations, PNG included. New Zealand, I probably wouldn’t include, since they have the Warriors and other programs (albeit not as good as Australian ones, but ahead of the PI’s). Don’t really see how that would kill off the local competition, we’re talking Under 20’s, not a fully fledged NRL side. The Under 20’s have been used to experiment things before. It could possibly be perceived well by fans in Australia, as a good news story giving kids from the Islands a chance. Again, AFL would love to have this chance. Sponsors would come on board for the exposure (and the good PR), and secondly the players wouldn’t be demanding mass amounts of money. If they’re local players they’re less likely to jump ship as well (Uate moved to Australia at 15). Of course they couldn’t play out of the PI’s, except perhaps trials and a few select games, but basing them in Western Sydney would work. Now I understand there is the fear of including Australian based players (and basing them in Western Sydney would escalate this), but it should be run by the APRLF or whatever it is called, and if they include Australian based players than they are doing a dis-service to the game in the Islands.

    2. The Independent Commission (if it gets up and running) should be allocating money to projects like these. I thought the idea of the IC was to fix the game and get rid of the usual crap we get from the ARL, NRL, NSWRL etc. The NRL are helping prop up the Storm, whereas this would be much cheaper and help the spread of the game nationally in a much greater way than a Storm team with imported players does. The AFL are throwing money at Western Sydney and Gold Coast, we should be hitting back, even if this is a much more minor way of doing so.

    3. The Reds, although their SG Ball team isn’t exclusively Western Australia, have Western Australian players in their team. Poaching players from Rugby Union in these States will help as well. Like I mentioned it would mean a good junior development and talent identification program was put in place, which would have to happen if they were to put a team in Under 20s anyway. All up I’d think (again hope) they could put together a relatively competent side, not Grand Finalists or even Finalists but able to compete relatively (whatever that means in Toyota Cup :S).

    If we don’t have enough players to develop an AAS Toyota Cup team how are we going to develop individual teams in all the States? We only have to look at Melbourne Storm to see that there haven’t been many strides forward if any made in regards to junior development in Victoria. When I went and played Union there the locals from the club holding the tournament told me that they used to play League but switched to Union because they received more support from Union and that there were far to few teams playing Rugby League in Victoria. This was before the Melbourne Rebels, so I think it shows that just chucking a team in a State isn’t the best approach. This is also how I figure that by selecting Union players they can bolster the AAS team, because we were well out-muscled by the PI’s in the Victoria B team! Some of the players that were in our team and from our district have ended up going on to Under 20’s teams and SG Ball teams. We were totally out-classed and out-muscled by the boys, again from Victoria’s B team.

    As for the PI’s, well I don’t really see how this would stop them from developing their own countries or competitions. If a squad has 25 players, 5 of the best junior players from each nation (Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Cook Islands, PNG) should be selected for fairness. Not really a massive impact on the local comps, and a big help to the national teams because these players would then have higher level experience. It does help the local community, they would see this as a positive, their kids are getting the chance in Australia, something they all want for their children.

    • druzik says:

      1. Start taking away the juniors in the local comps and quickly you get very second rate comeptitions that no one wants to watch. Also you will continue to get the issue where because they play in Australia they will start to get snapped up by Australia. There is no Federation governing the Pacific which is one of the issues.

      2. The IC is nothing but for the NRL clubs… if people think that it will fox the game in the whole country they are kidding themselves. I have written a couple articles on this already. The other states will have absolutely nothing to do with the commission. The commission is purely there for the NRL and the clubs to get a bigger slice of what ever pie is out there. the commissioners they are saying are being considered are all part of the old boys club. Only a couple are outside of that, like the NFL advisor, but I bet he wont get in.

      3. Poaching Union players is not the solution. Particularly in the other states. Union struggles to create enough quality players in QLD and NSW to fill out 4 teams let alone start poaching from 6th rate competition else where in the country. The reds are doing right by developing their own identity, players and team from the ground up, it will eventually pay dividends like it did with the Cowboys.

      OK an AAS team has no identity. South Australian don’t like the Victorians or Westerners just like Qlders and NSWmen dont like each other in sport. Throwing a mixed team will do nothing to get the followers. By starting to build the individual teams that a city or state can identify themselves with will start to bring in the juniors. At the start there probably will be many more QLD and NSW players but if you bring in from the start a few locals and show that there is a path for juniors to make it to the big time then they will start to build up at the u10, u16 an u20 levels. You then can bring then into the Toyota cup fold and have revamp the QLD/NSW Cup level to be and Australian wide level. A second tier where teams are still separate from the NRL clubs but still have the feeder organisation.

      The Pi’s there are several issues there, Samoa, Tonga etc… dont really like each other and I think there would be no cohesion. I remember this being debated heaps a couple years ago on here and other forums and the conclusion was a PI team would not be viable … and the Union one does not work either. they try to throw one together once in a while but it never achieves anything for the sport. The comps are small over there as well and by ripping out their top juniors will do damage for the local comp.

      People seem to think that the only solution is to dump everyone in the NRL… we start doing that then there will be no room for any Australian players. the solution is to develop local comps that are semi pro at least. What that does it helps the local economy by keeping the players and money there. A better solution would be to have NRL players do a 1 year sabbatical in a developing nation for a season through their career, impart some of their knowledge and skills locally. That would be a hell of a lot more useful.

  23. Chris Sanders says:

    Right on the money Ryan.A great idea because the Toyolta Cup has worked for the good of the game and the NSW Cup has been a total and utter disaster.
    A waste of time and an Australian Toyolta Cup side should be touring the world regularly and playing the Emerging Nations as well.
    That will bring up the next generation of players and bring the others from the lesser Nations up to speed and thus close the gap in the years ahead.

  24. Head Boy says:

    I want to contact management of Tuks to invite them to our annual tournamnet in Cape Town – it is 9 a side – someone hook me up

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