Controversies reign.

By Daniel Andruczyk

Despite the major international tournaments winding down much is still happening in rugby league around the world, from domestic competitions to lower tier internationals to controversies. Its all happening in the sport!

Discovery Challenge

The four nation discovery challenge continued with week with The Australian Institute of Sport taking on the French Juniors and running out very, very narrow winners. In front to 1000 spectators the French showed that in coming years they will be a force to be reckoned with on the world stage. Australia won this match 16-13. A few days later the AiS boys took on the French u19’s in Toulouse. Here the French showed the depth of their junior ranks by beating the Australians in what is considered an upset 27-20.

Four Nations

Yes, just as we thought it was then end of the 4N for the year, next years international fixtures have been started to be talked about in Australia. The controversy being where the matches are to be played. Melbourne seems to have paid a heap of cash to host the annual ANZAC test in Melbourne’s new rectangular stadium.

Melbourne also has snagged one of the premiere 4 Nations clashes for 2010, the Australia vs. England clash. The old rivalry will be re-ignited after this years tough losses and the last time the two teams played in Melbourne in the 2008 World Cup the Aussies smashed the hapless poms by 50 points. It is also looking likely that the newly revamped Eden Park in Auckland will host a double header in next years 4 Nations, with England an Papua new guinea and New Zealand against Australia being played there. The other New Zealand matches are being touted for Wellington and either Christchurch or Waikato. The Australia v Papua New Guinea match is up in the air with Sydney or Townsville being the most likely candidates.

The final will be held in Brisbane once again and should prove to be a sell out and that Queensland is the home of Rugby League in Australia.

European Nations Rumours

In the last week Serbia launched an official compliant about the Italians illegal use of players in their clash in the European Nations Cup. The RLEF has launched an investigation. Claims are that players that were not named in the initial 30 and 20 man squads were brought in to replace players without good reason. We shall see where this leads. There has been speculation on forums this may lead to Serbia leaving the sport. Lets hope it does not come to this.

French Championships LER 1

Rugby Leagues other professional / Semi-professional competition, the Elite Championships in France continued over the weekend with some surprising wins to a couple of the teams. Villeneuve continued their good form with a ten point win over Carpentras. Lezignan showed their early favouritism once again by beating rivals Pia quite convincingly 42-26. In what was the Lord Derby Final replay from 2009 Carcassonne had what could be dubbed an upset win over last years league leaders Limoux 25-14. Finally UTC had a good run for their money against St Gaudens 20-22. Avignion had the bye this week.

No word when the catch up matches will be played. The table for the LER 1 is as follows:

Lezignan 6 6 0 0 0 228 154 74 18
Pia 6 4 0 1 1 179 112 67 13
Villeneuve 6 2 1 3 0 164 181 -17 11
UTC 4 3 0 0 1 102 62 40 09
Carcassonne 4 2 0 2 0 121 80 41 08
Avignion 6 1 1 3 1 114 164 -50 08
St Gaudens 6 1 0 4 1 82 168 -86 07
Limoux 5 1 0 3 1 89 101 -12 06
Carpentras 5 0 0 4 1 96 162 -66 04

The Lord Derby Cup round 2 matches have also been announced. With Palau, Villefranche and Entrigause getting byes through to the 3rd round where they will face the Elite 1 teams. Round 2 matches are as follows: Bias vs. Corbiel, Les Bacares vs. Baho, Sauveterre vs. Albi and APT vs. Lescure.


David Gallop has been quoted as saying that he would be willing to take a pay cut if the matches can be established at the start of the season for TV. However he has come out that he has been misquoted and that the next TV deal will be the most lucrative in the sports history. Lets hope so as it out rates all sports on TV. There should be no way that AFL can get a better TV deal. Speaking of AFL they continue to claim that they will make an impact in the Western Sydney suburbs while all the evidence shows there is no interest there. Will be interesting to see how much money is bled over this and the Gold Coast team till they cut their losses. In Many ways the AFL’s tactics are De za vous for the NRL as this is precisely what the ARU tried to do, muscling its way around and poaching players and in the end went close to bust doing it.

Rugby League International Scores is Using Twitter!

Rugby League international Scores has joined the ranks of twitter! Follow RLIS and myself as I go through the day and any little new things i find out about the international game I will put up on twitter.


Daniel Andruczyk’s email:
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14 Responses to “Controversies reign.”

  1. Joelm says:

    Good stuff by France juniors! Will be good for years to come to continue to develop their juniors.

    • druzik says:

      Yes it is great to see… France always doers great at the Junior levels but seems to drop off in the pro ranks. Again this has thrown up on many forums of just what to do with france on the professional domestic level.

      Do we get another ESL team or even a third? Toulouse and Paris are being touted again but as we know if Toulouse dont win a NRC or get into the Championship final then they nwont have that.

      It costs roughly 8-10 million pounds (A$16-20 million) to run a Rugby League club in the NRL or ESL each year. If you have 3 teams that makes about A$60 million so would not that be better spent on professionalising it own competition, the LER? It would give then rather than three but say upto 10 pro teams for France to work with. They can have regular CC and cross team matches as they used to have to test their meatle against the UK teams. It would then allow the Barcelonians to bring in a team etc…

      … that is just my sentiment.

  2. Robbo says:

    From these results it looks like the French are slowly on the improve after years of obscurity, hopefully this can flow onto bigger things for the future and into the senior arena.

  3. oikee says:

    Druzik, yes i am totally agreed with you about having money poured into a loval comp. But, hear me out, by having French teams in the super league, we not only play to our streghts, but also get france better coverage around the world by being in the english comp, if we get rid of them altogether, they are lost in the system and have to go 1on1 with rugby union in france. Which is not a good idea. I think the local game will keep growing if they get more teams into super league, and its more presstegist to play in Super League. Beleive me, if they go alone, you lose the interest that OZ and other countries take in the game in France. Something to think about, i am all for having at least 2 more teams, maybe even one down towards Spain, in Spain even. Will give the Spanish a interest also in Super league. cheers. We dont want to isolate France, they are our heartland.

    • druzik says:

      I undersatnd what you are saying but if you start to put 3 french teams into the super league then what happens to all the other clubs. You need to expand to 18 teams really to accommodate everyone. There needs to be a ballance when it comes to expansion and heartland areas.

      But also remember, the continental european mentality is one where they are fiercely patriotic. What having 3 teams in super league can be seen as is almost a take over of the french game by the Brits that I am not sure the locals would really like. Having a strong domestic competition where they then can and compete on a level in the Challenge Cup is better. This would drive the patriotism more and the popularity more as it would show the strengths of the french teams then, that the french product is as good or better than the english.

      Rugby league will always be going 1 on 1 with union no matter what the circumstances… 1895 ensured this… we will always be attacked from all sides by them.

      See if you also start bringing in other teams from countries… where do you stop? Spain, Russia, Germany, Serbia… etc… what happens to all the traditional english clubs… do we need to have 3 or 4 proessional levels then going back to P&R ?

      It creates many more questions and probelms than solution I think.

  4. oikee says:

    Yes the AFL in Sydney has R.U written all over it, but not to worry, a push into QlD and NSW will put them into a 20 year battle and waste alot of money doing so, even if they finally succeed, it will be rugby league that really comes out the winner. By then we would have had 20 years international growth, and god help them if rugby league does sell to the yanks, imagine the money flowing into the game if this is successful. Cheers. Thats something i should mention, Gallop had a meeting with a NFL admin guy, ? And they want to use Mic’s at the All-stars game in Feb. ? Sounds like the game is being primed for the U.S market.

    • druzik says:

      Yeah… the AFL I think is making the same msitake as the ARU and Demitreou is the AFLs own John O’Niel.

      Yes the USA is sounding very promissing. I would not be surprised to see an NFL team creat a professional AMNRL team soon so that they can have something for the players that dont quite make the NFL side.

  5. Jon says:

    Hi Dan, good blog as always.
    Just a couple of quick points. It’s great talking about new teams entering the competition but I think we need to be concentrating more on preserving the ones we have. It’s an open secret that Wakefield are in SERIOUS financial trouble. Hull KR were in a mess despite finishing so high in Super League but this has hopefully been significantly helped by the new sponsorship deal with sportingbet.
    As for Crusaders… disaster, mess, laughable! The RFL let them in too early and they just weren’t ready for it. They’re squad of Championship players struggled badly in the top flight and that was reflected in the scorelines. Fans don’t want to see their team get spanked week in week out and this contributed to many of them staying away. If they do move to Wrexham as many have predicted then I think it could be the end for the club and could set Welsh rugby league back years.

    One other thing. Rugby league will never take off in Spain. The rugby union competition is quite popular but still struggles so I just can’t see league growing or even establishing itself. Rumours are that the Catalan championship that started last year is over already. Meetings have been held and members of the Catalan and Spanish RU were present. A union sevens or touch rugby union competition have been muted to take place when the rugby league competition was to happen. That’s what I was told by someone who plays for Girona and Catalonia.

    • druzik says:

      Jon, that sounds pretty ominous!

      Yes Wakefield and Hull KR are in a bit of difficulty, but when havent they been really, many of the ESL clubs struggle… even most EPL run at huge debts each year, but the money will be there in the end and they will get through it one way or the other.

      Catalans I think were a necessary evil… the RFL learnt from their mid 90’s mistake and took the opportunity to get a We;lsh team in, and they didnt get spanked week by week, they had some very close calls there and were able to hold Saints to under 10 points one match. Crusaders are having the teething problems than many new clubs have but they will come good eventually, they need to be persisted with. Remember what everyone was saying about the NTH QLD cowboys way back when and the NZ warrriors that they should be kicked out this and that… but they persisted and after 8 years they cam good and got to the Grand finals and have been doing well since then. I reckon within the next 5 years if the welsh can hold their money problems together and get a good stable home then I think they will be a Cataland and make the Final of CC and the playoffs.

      That is dissapointing about the Catalonians… you have any more info on this?

  6. oikee says:

    Yes, good call Druzik, we dont want to jump the gun and think teams are hopeless before they even get a footing, Yes i remember the cowgirls and Worriors, now look at them, both in the top 5 for average fans.
    You are a steady influience on this board, cheers.

    • druzik says:

      Exactly, lets give teams a fair go is all I say. I am not in favour of forced cullings of teams.

      If its a natural death, so be it… but forced killings and mergers I am not happy about.

  7. druzik says:

    Its like that in the Super League, not sure weather that would happen in the NRL.

  8. C.T.SANDERS says:

    All the traditional engish clubs that can’t cut the mustard especially along the m62 corridor should go back to the amateur game which will allow teams from france,spain,germany,russia, tatarstan and georgia to go into a expanded european sl competition otherwise the game will never,ever go ahead.I get sick and tired of hearing of how hard done the likes of widnes,leigh,halifax and barrow have been over the years but those mediocre clubs have had plenty of chances over the years as well unlike others that have never got a go.They should either shape up or ship out.No more hard done or hard luck stories and it’s largely thanks to this mentality why the poms have failed miserably at international level over the years.It’s always a case of club first over country.

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