So International Rugby League is Dead…

By Daniel Andruczyk

… Well according to Dean Richie at the Daily Telegraph. Sometimes I wonder how the hell a supposed journalist and supposed Rugby League fan get a job at a major newspaper like that. So Dean wrote an “article” in the Telegraph on Tuesday the 26th of October with one of the most inaccurate and arrogant titles “Bumbling Brits killing International Rugby League”.

In this article Dean Ritchie basically says that the only International teams worth being recognised as international are Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain… erherm, erherm…. Dean. Great Britain? Great Britain has not existed since 2008. He also makes the observation that Great Britain (England) have not won an major international tournament in 25 years… he says the last major trophy they won was the 1972 World Cup. Hmmm Dean no wonder you are a journalist and not a very good one at that your math is shocking. It would make it 38 years actually, but that is not the point because the Brits have won major titles since 1972.

But what he doesn’t see is that he has gone and slapped every other International Team in the face, including the New Zealand Kiwis. Apparently, according to Dean Ritchie winning a series tour against the Kiwis is NOT winning a major trophy, only winning against the “all mighty Kangaroos” is it a major trophy. Thank god the Kiwis won the World Cup in 2008 then!

So Lets Get the Facts Right

So lets look at some facts here, so apparently 1972 was the last time Great Britain or England won something and that was the World Cup, Ok fine. But then in 1974, 1979, 1989, 1990, Great Britain enjoyed 2-1 series wins against the Kiwis in their tours. These were not only at home but also on the road. In 1993 Great Britain had a 3-0 win against the Kiwis. The Federation Shield was played in 2006 which saw England play Samoa, Tonga and France in a great international Tournaments. One which also serves as a world Cup qualifier. Then in 2007 the Brits had another 3-0 series win against the Kiwis. On top of that how about all the other one off matches that they have played and won against the French and Welsh in recent time. These games actually serve a greater purpose than just games, but to give other nations the chance to compete with one of the world best team.

And what about the European Cup that England have won since 1972. These have actually been quite consistent wins, till they pulled out of them and competed in the tri-nations. But England won the European cups in 1975, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1996, 2003 and 2004. So once again some major tournaments. Don’t forget that Wales, part of Great Britain have won the European Cup in 1995, 2009 and 2010.

Now, we know that Great Britain does not exist anymore and that they have split into their four constituent nations, England, Wales , Ireland and Scotland. In the last few years we have seen the rise of these teams on the international arena. Wales last year and this year have won the European Cup and won the right to compete in next years 4 Nations! Now we have two “British teams” in the 4 Nations Dean, how is that showing that the game is dyeing? Don’t forget that Ireland and Scotland were also involved and who could remember the fact that Scotland were able to beat Wales in the 2008 world cup qualifiers to get into the finals instead of the Dragonhearts who were the favourites! Isn’t that what we want, some competition?

So lets see here, since 1972, Great Britain, England or Wales have won have won a total of 17 tournaments. So Mr Ritchie you are totally wrong wrong wrong. You can see that British teams have had quite some success.

International Rugby League

And on top of all this lets have a look at how the International game has actually grown over the last years. Since 2006 here is a list of regular tournaments and the Nations that have been played:

  • 2006 – Federation Shield – England, Tonga, Samoa, France
  • 2006 – Central European Development Tri Nations (Fore-runner to European Shield) – Germany, Austrlia, Estonia
  • 2006 – Tri-Nations – Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand
  • 2007 – European Shield – Serbia, Germany, Czech Republic
  • 2007 – New Zealand Tour of England and France – New Zealand, Great Britain, France
  • 2007 – PNG tour of France and Wales – Papua New Guinea, Wales, France
  • 2007 – Pacific Cup – Tonga, Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, Tokelau, NZ Maori
  • 2008 – European Med – Russia, Serbia, Lebanon
  • 2008 – European Shield – Germany, Italy, Czech Republic
  • 2008 – European Bowl – Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine
  • 2008 – World Cup – Australia, New Zealand, England, France, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, Ireland, Scotland, Papua New Guinea
  • 2009 – European Shield – Italy, Germany, Czech republic
  • 2009 – European Bowl – Estonia, Latvia, Ukraine
  • 2009 – European Med – Catalonia, Belgium, Morocco
  • 2009 – European Cup – Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Italy, Lebanon, Italy
  • 2009 – Pacific Cup – Samoa, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Cook Islands
  • 2009 – Atlantic Cup – United States, Jamaica
  • 2009 – 4 Nations – France, Australia, England, New Zealand
  • 2009 – Mediterranean Cup – Greece, Malta, Portugal, Italy A
  • 2010 – European Shield – Serbia, Germany, Czech Republic, Russia, Latvia, Ukraine
  • 2010 – European Bowl – Norway, Malta
  • 2010 – European Cup – Ireland, Scotland, France, Wales
  • 2010 – 4 Nations – Australia, England, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand
  • 2010 – Atlantic Cup – United States, Canada, Jamaica
  • 2010 – Italy tour of Wales  – Wales, Italy
  • 2010 – Lebanon tour of Italy – Italy, Lebanon

and then there are other smaller junior tournaments and 9’s tournaments that are played regularly from the Pacific to the Middle East and Europe! So in the last 5 years we have had over 30 nations play International games and there are roughly 25 nations that have domestic competitions with local players playing in them, not full of ex-pats as many of these “journalists” and fans claim.

Thank the Brits instead!

If anything, Dean, you should be thanking the Brits. They are the only nations that has actively supported the International game in any way it can. You complain about them never being up to Australia’s standards, but they have created and support the Rugby League European Federation, have opened the Challenge Cup up to foreign teams from France, Russia, Wales and Scotland. The Super League and the lower division have now 4 professional and semi-professional teams from Wales and France. The French Elite 1 seems to finally have overcome many of their drawbacks with teams over spending and has stabilised out with quite a good 10 team professional competition.

What have the Australians and New Zealanders done? The Pacific Cup certainly had nothing to do with the NRL. It came from pressure of these nations wanting a way to compete with the better nations. Is there a Pacific Rugby League federation? well in theory one was set up last year, but not by the Aussies or Kiwis. It was initiative brought through by the Fijians, Samoans and Tongans, and the Kiwis and Australians haven’t even thought of signing onto it. They continue to be the haves against the have nots.

And lets not forget that many of Australia’s and New Zealand’s players have been poached from the Pacific Nations, so any chance that those nations would have had to be competitive the two “bullies” bend, break and poach their way, through the RLIF and plunder their ranks. Even this year we have seen the cases of Akuila Uate basically being dangled the carrot of State of Origin if he swapped from Fiji to Australia… has he made the Kangaroo squad? No and he never will, but the NSWRL want him for the blues and they abused the rules to get him. I bet that if Uate wants to switch back to Fiji he will be banned now, just like Fuifui Moimoi was for Tonga… then again serves him right for being a Polynesian Yo-yo.


So I hope that despite what Dean Ritchie claim, I hope that I have shown you that not only is international Rugby League not dyeing, but its thriving all around the world! Believe it or not it you… the fan that can change the media and the perception of International Rugby League. Start to demand that more games are shown from other nations, that matches like The European Cup get shown and not on delay but live. That a sensible series of International tournaments where all nations get to compete are brought in and International Rugby league, after 115 years finally gets the recognition that it deserves.

Daniel Andruczyk’s email:
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37 Responses to “So International Rugby League is Dead…”

  1. juro says:

    Dean Ritchie has zero credibility.

    It seems as if the only logic of his articles is to envoke enough outrage from readers so they respond to his blogs, to which he just thanks them for contributing.

    … and he’s a sharks supporter…

    • druzik says:

      Oh he is infuriating… he has pissed me off at least on 5 occasions this year.

      But he is not the Sharks supported, its that other lame excuse for a Rugby League Journalist, Phil Rothfield…. and that pains me since I am a Sharks man myself!

  2. juro says:

    Yes, I was saying that just to have a gentle dig at you. Shame I got the wrong Daily Telegraph “journalist”. My bad…

  3. C.T.SANDERS says:

    What happened to league in austria daniel and now people want to abandon scotland because of poor crowds and ring ins yet a domestic png side showed that they weren’t overawed when they face the full might of australia on sunday.Where was the 150 point drubbing because if aussie played tonga and samoa they would of won by over 100 points.Talk about 2 useless sides.At least png went down with style and dignity and with plenty of fight.

    • druzik says:

      Basically the guy trying to run Austrlia could not keep it going, there wasnt enough interest from players there for it. They do occasionally try here and there but it never takes off. They need someoen with the time and resources to be able to get it done…. just like in every single country. If the right people aren’t there then it wont happen.

      No PNG weren’t over awed… but I have no problems with large scorelines. As long as both teams are giving it their 100% best you cant ask for more. And in many cases with a game like that you can see a sport at its best as one team shows the beauty of the game.

      I don’t think Samoa was over awed either, or Tonga. I would love to see them play more regularly against the Kiwis and Kangaroos.

  4. superpaulia says:

    Didn’t France (an international team) beat Australia in 1981?. Does this count?

    In reality, the British (and French) are not as bad as they seem if they can just perform to their potential. Sam Burgess and Gareth Ellis have been stars in NRL and there are plenty more like them. Graham, Roby, Westwood, Tomkins etc are great players in the SL if they can just do themselves justice. Greg Eastwood has been very ordinary in SL although he performed when it counted.

    If the French can get all their players on the pitch fit, fresh and motivated they can be very competitive. (and they are improving)

    Watch out for the Welsh too. They’ve got some great young players and are making good progress

    • druzik says:

      OH YES! 1979 actually they won the test series when the Kangaroos went to France, 2-1 I think. They were the last team before 2004 to have beaten the aussies in International Competition…. a well forgotten fact. Thank you.

      I agree on your assesment… I think England just need confidence, they need to get wins under their belt, get the winning feeling. Once you get momentum thats just seems to flow.

      oh I have seen the welsh play live, I do like the way they play… I saw them thrash PNG in 2007 at Bridgend and PNG went on to lose a very close series to France, so maybe not surprising that Wales has managed to beat the French then.

  5. superpaulia says:

    I’ve just said that Greg Eastwood performed when it counted i.e. in an international match. International matches are the pinnacle of any sport and should be treated as such.

    Australians (and others to a lesser extent) often treat club (or SoO) matches as the main event. This is wrong, wrong, wrong!!!

  6. dragons4eva says:

    What you say is true Daniel…however i think it’s just a common trend we’re seeing in Australian Rugby League at the moment where International League is just treated as a ‘joke’.

    It’s kind of sad because there really should be so much more attention towards the International games. Like sure it’s great seeing club and SOO games live in NSW and QLD…but what about the rest of Australia? And when it comes to matches (apart from Australia) they don’t even give it a chance to survive.

    I reckon the reason the ARL and general public here don’t give a damn about International RL is because they just ignore it without giving it a chance.

    • druzik says:

      Well see there is tha AAS team which gets absolutely no coverage in Australia either which is frustrating in itself, as that is the best talent from outside NSW and QLD and they do the country proud, they fly the International flag for Australian League through the year.

      The question is How do we change the Australian NRL fans perception of International Rugby league? All they see year in year out is the same three teams, so that all they know, hence why getting more varied tournaments in there to show off other countries is so important.

  7. Shaun says:

    The main problem is (the rest will sort itself out) that NRL players and the NRL footy show, NRL media, and NRL broadcasters continue to tell the country that SoO is the pinnacle of the game. Whenever a player is chosen to make his debut, he always says how it is the greatest achievement of his life, and the greatest achievement he can make in the game (along with winning a premiership)
    Everyone needs to be educated with the fact that there is all these nations competing regularly. The only reason why Australia flogged PNG on sunday was because of the resources we have in Aus, the training pathways we provide juniors, and the amount of money we have to do so.
    Without all of these resources and money, countries like PNG, wales etc … are improving. They would beat Australia if they had the same set up.
    But instead they dont (wales is imrpoving with juniors, and PNG has a semi-pro comp) but these countries are making do with what they have, and have proven that they deserve to play against the big countries.
    PNG flogged cook islands in the pacific cup, so they deserve to be there, and wales beat france so they deserve to have a crack next year.
    If we can continue to play the euro, pacific, atlantic cups, we’ll be in a good position.
    Next is adding italy, lebanon and russia (in due time) to euro cup. South africa to atlantic perhaps.
    We will get there, but we just need those who spend the most time in the media regarding NRL, to explain that international football is in a great position, Australia is no definite to win games anymore, and that International football is the highest accolade a player can reach.
    The ARL needs to educate players if they want the rest of the country to take it seriously – because we sure do have a serious product!

  8. PNG says:

    how do we let the powers that be know that we want more international coverage we want more international games ? 2ndly who do we let know that’s what we want ? how can we as a group of international rugby league fans who support many different nations get the message through. Can there be a petition on this web site were after a set amount of time where druzick could email it to one of your contacts in the erfl or rilf maybe even email it to the arl & nzrl even the english rugby league just a thought what do you guys think are there any other ways fans can get there message through as a united group and who is the best organisation to send that message too. On another note I hope after this 4 nations tournament they don’t give any more games to the people of sydney they have shown time and time again they don’t realy care about international rugby league through there crowd attendances the crowd for the png V aus game was a joke at parramata if that game was held in townsville or suncorp brisbane it would of had at least four times as many people there if held in png there would have been standing room only people climbing trees even sitting on the roofs just to get a glimpse very dissapointed with the fans in nsw

    • druzik says:

      I think you have to go straight to the TV stations and wite… do petitions etc…. I am not sutre if this website is the right vehicle for such a thing though? But its something to think about I suppose.

      In the end its about changing the fans perception in the NRL… untill that happens the TV stations wont budge as that is where their moeny comes from. if the demand is there they will change.

  9. C.T.SANDERS says:

    The tonga v samoa game was the worst game of international football i have ever seen in my life.It was all brawn and no brains,football with the dump,nothing collective about it,all individual and an asbsolute bore.It was rubbish.Outside george carmont from the wigan warriors there was no decent player to capture the imagination.Time to pick people from within and forget about kiwi rejects and sl and nrl has beens because they the domestic based players aren’t weighed down by kentucky fried.And time to expand the 4 nations to 5 with the addition of france to keep the momentum going and when are the rfl going to offer superpaulia a job because she has something our administrators lack…commonsense.

    • druzik says:

      Well I dodnt get to see so I cant comment on its entertainment value.

      But for them you have to look at it this way, they need their NRL and ESL stars to pull the crowds, until you get more regular games where fans can come out without them, then you can have say a all local Tongan team or Samoan team… but I bet some out there will be saying it was an exciting game… most probably Samoan Fans.

  10. C.T.SANDERS says:

    It was in 1978 when france won 2 nil daniel and france have won 5 test series against australia to daniel,in 1951[ which was the greatest rugby league team of all time],1952,1956,1967 and 1978.In rugby union france has only beaten the all blacks once in 1994 here in nz.Ok daniel.Rang your mate tas today daniel.He saw the france v wales in france on sunday and now back in sydney.I see all your other mates dragons4 eva and shaun are back online as well daniel.

    • druzik says:

      Yes… what the point? … I am only looking at the 1972 period onwards because that is the context of Dean Ritchies article.

      I saw Tas on TV actually, he seemed quite happy with everything.

  11. C.T.SANDERS says:

    Who was the man in austria daniel?I’m intrigued

  12. C.T.SANDERS says:

    Dean ritchie is the best pa man that the international game has got.The more he talks about it whether positive or negative the more he keeps in it in the spotlight.The same with rugby union because the more they bad mouth rugby league the more publicity we get cas they keep talking about the sport which keeps our sport alive.Simple.Free publicity.Rl just doesn’t go away just like a bad smell and the more countries that play it the better we will become.And it got to be the greatest game of all to survive the idiots that run it.That’s what the late ray cody told us all those years ago.Keep up the free publicity dean and you can rubbish the international game as much as you want because i for one love it and so does ya mate gus.

  13. Ashley says:

    Great counter article to the rubbish written in the Telegraph Druzik. As much as I love the NRL, the season for me is almost one big countdown to now when the players wear their international jerseys.

    You mention a long list of tournaments that have been forgetten in the Telegraph either through ignorance or lack of coverage.

    Lack of coverage for me is a major problem. I am by no means a business expert in any sense but if rugby league international tournaments are not effectively reaching even the regular rugby league fans then how is the game supposed to reach out to new fans across the world.

    For me the first 2 four nations games have been very underwelming. It seems to be in the minds of most fans (and possibly some players) that the season is done and dusted and the international games are just some tedious add on.

    In an age where sports are fighting world wide for headline space, tv money and the somewhat shrinking money from our own pockets, rugby league risks being left behind unless the international game, the easiest way in my mind to include new countries, is taken seriously.

    Many in the media don’t seem willing to give the international game a chance; many fans and even governing bodies with ridiculous eligibity rules don’t seem to either.

    I think it’s up to the people commenting here and sites like your’s Druzik to change people’s thinking on the game. If it wasn’t for your site I wouldn’t know half of what was going on in Internatioanl rugby league!

    I hate to seem over dramatic but I believe this is an important time in the world and sporting world. Rugby league will never be a dominant sport in the world, hell everyone excepts that. What I don’t except is the closemindedness of so many within the game who risk future opportunites that could see the game crammed into a little box in the eastern states of Australia.

    • druzik says:

      Ashley, agree. For me its the International season that gets me excited. There is national pride on the line, you get to see variety in teams and players and styles, and you see with teams like PNG they step up to the plate to give some hurt.

      Everything you say there is true and correct. It all starts with changing the perceptions of the fans one way or another. Hopefull this site is the start of something bigger down the line.

  14. Jon Alty says:

    Do you know which teams will compete in the European Cup next year?

    Isn’t it time for the RLEF to sort out a ‘promotion and relegation’ system with regard to the European competitions? My idea is that you could class the European Cup as the 1st division and the European Shield as the 2nd division.

    What is the latest on Lebanon? I’d imagine they’ll be leading candidates to be awarded a European Cup place in 2011 along with maybe Italy. I say Italy becasue the sponsor is the Italian airline, Alitalia.

    • druzik says:

      As far as i am aware there is no European or pacific Cup next year for two reasons:
      1. as there is no 4 Nations in 2012, this is a “rest year” for the Aussies and Kiwis apparently.
      2. and most importantly – WORLD CUP qualifiers are starting, so we will be seeing the start of the lower tier teams competing for places to come into the WC. There are 8 teams that are trying to qualify for 2 spots to join the 12 teams already in there.

      The European and Pacific Cup cycle will start in 2014 once again.

      Though its good seeing these tournaments I feel myself the structure is wrong and still does not do enough to promote the game.

      As for Lebanon, they are trying to forge the Middle East and North Africa as a separate entity and so are trying to compete and have championships for that region.

  15. Anthony says:

    I hope you emailed that to him Dan

  16. C.T.SANDERS says:

    Tonga and samoa are the 2 most boring sides to watch in international rl because it’s the same old same old that resembles something from dad’s army or cuzzie bro and there’s nothing fresh about it.Out with the old and in with the new.Pick raw talent from the islands so we can at least see something different for a change.Png did this and we were entertained.At least they[tongan and samoan residents] are not overweight has beens from the nrl and sl on a diet of fish n chips and kentucky fried chicken with an extra helping of spud and gravvy washed down with coca cola and i blame interchange for this state of affairs in the modern game.

    • druzik says:

      Well i guess that is your view, but games aren’t about not being boring or super exciting. the France-Scotland game was not very exciting but it was still a tough contest and I enjoyed it. I am sure there are many out there that enjoy the way Samoa and Tonga play.

      the idea of being boring or exciting is a personal and relative thing.

  17. C.T.SANDERS says:

    A lot of samoan people rang me last week saying how embarrassed they were on that shocking display of football between samoa and tonga at parramatta stadium.It was gumboat stuff.Only george caremont looked any good amongst that lot.About time tonga and samoa got rid of the old guard and start looking at the people playing in their domestic competitions because we are sick and tired of the same boring old faces.Give us a break.The samoan team were a kiwi reject side and the tongans a nrl and sl misfit side.The kiwis will win the 4 nations and win well and the poms to win tomorrow and png to win against the poms next week.Nz to beat aussie.

  18. C.T.SANDERS says:

    What station showed the footie daniel with our mate tas in the background?

  19. C.T.SANDERS says:

    And you are right daniel nz have done nothing to help the international game develop but australia did develop png in 1949,the nsw academy do go all over the world trying to spread the gospel of rl in new horizons,of course you got the australian universities who have been to russia,tatarstan and south africa plus the islands,the aaside travel regularly,the australian combined services went to argentina a couple of years ago,the australian institute of sport always send an under18’s side every year without fail to france,england and wales to help develop the game there and hopefully they will also go to scotland and ireland soon.Nz and particularly the auckland rugby league board of control under the dictatorship of cameron mcgregor with his sideshow sel pearson undermining everything in the background do fyck all for the game and they only do things if there’s something in it for them the officials all of whom are milking the system for all it’s worth.Time for a total clean out of both the nzrl and arl boards for the good of the game.We don’t want them plus the various zones that sparc have also appointed.The game here in nz is not only dead but brain dead as well because the administration ain’t interested in it and don’t know anything about the game or want to know anything about it either.Simple.I know i sound like a scratch record but it’s the truth.Tell me daniel where any resident nz or auckland rl team has gone in the last 10 years?I know a auckland broadbase side went to watchman’s island in the waitemata harbour a few weeks ago and drunk piss which is typical because a lot of the officials,as well as some of the employees and their hanger ons mates are pissheads.So australia do contribute and nz does f/a.

  20. Boubear says:

    It is true, the NRL/ARL does just enough to look like they are doing something internationally to develop the game but will never actually do anything constructive to bring the game on world wide, and here is why (in my opinion).

    Imagine the ARL/NRL helped France England or USA to make the game big in those nations. The bigger the game gets there more sponsorship dollers attracts, the higher player payments become. How much are profile athleates making in europe and the USA at the momment? Now compare that to what the NRL can pay its players. So what is gonna happen should rugby league take off oversea’s in a nation that has the ability to bring big money to the game? The best players in Australia will go to where the big bucks are. The NRL will become a feeder compitition and the power will shift. Australia will no longer have the control it does, our fans wont be able to watch our best players live and who will get the blame? The admistrators that looked to the big picture rather then their own back yard.

    The avenue’s to make the game stronger are countless and only blocked by lack of money and fear of losing power. The only way around this would be to give the IRL or a similar body full control of the game, for its own good. Super League, NRL every nation on earths club competitions all under the one unbrella. A large percentage of profits from club comps going back to the IRL and redistibuted to the major competitions evenly, and a world salary cap so players in England Australia or the USA should it take off, are getting paid the same money.

    Thats not fair some admistrator in USA might say when the competition there is making huge profits in a possible future senario, but it would go both ways. Australia doesnt have the money to spend on athelets other nations do but Australia does have the ability to develop rugby league players much better then anywhere else. It would be give and take. Nations would put in evenly, maybe not all financially but in other ways to make the game world wide strong. Australia would be development, pacific nations would be athletes, we need (or want) a strong power in the north, thats where england and other european nations come in. USA if we could crack the sporting market there, grab interest and get sponsorship dollers brought into the game as a whole then we would have the cash to compeate with other sports.

    Unfortunatly this senario is very unrealistic. NRL, Super League would never hand over their power to another sporting body even if it was for the good of the game, and even if say (and this is a big IF mind you) a competition did take off in USA, why would their admistrators let part of their profits go toward the game oversea’s even if it was the efforts of oversea’s league nations that helped them develop their game. Its abit like wishing for world peace, the answer is simple stop killing each other, but getting the world to do it is another thing.

    • druzik says:

      Interesting post… I will need to have a bit more time to answer fully… but one quick thing, the ESL/RFL actually do answer to the RLEF… it was oner of the things when they set it up was to have a governing body in Europe like UEFA in soccer.

      • mark wycliffe says:

        IM SO GLAD IVE found this site and have learnt so much from everyones posts esp Druzik.
        I totally agree with the comments about SOO ruining the international game and your comments on Dean Ritchies article are spot on.

      • druzik says:

        Glad you enjoy it Mark, hope to keep you informed some more.

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