The Exiles are Coming!

By Daniel Andruczyk

I guess its official now the English will be playing the Exiles. The MENA cup kicked off as well and Halifax have applied to host the World Cup. Also the Rep season in Australia has been launched already. So lots of news in Rugby League this week.

Australian Rep Season

This week test tickets for the ANZAC test went on sale. This test was originally scheduled to be played in New Zealand but with the recent earthquake it was moved to the Gold Coast in Australia. One thing that got me thinking, why couldn’t the game have been moved to somewhere else in the country and have some free tickets given to victims of the Earthquake. Wouldn’t it have been a moral pick me up for those in NZ to still be able to see the game and despite the horror be able to have some fun? Anyway, also in Albury the NSW City Country game was launched. This is the trial game before State of Origin and is a chance for many players to shone and show selector’s they are worthy of a Blues jumper. A crowd of 10,000 is expected.

World Cup

Halifax announced earlier this week that they are applying to host games in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup. This would be a big boom for them as they have applied for a super league licence as well. Speaking of which we should know soon who gets the next round of licences, my money is that Wakefield will drop out and that Widnes will be brought in.

MENA U16’s Championships

While the Donnybrook Cup was being played, across on the other side of the world in Lebanon the Middle East and North African U16s Championships kicked off. This is a tournaments that has Lebanon, Palestine and Saudi Arabia playing. In Last years tournaments the Saudi’s sprung a surprise by winning the tournaments. Last week the Lebanese took on the Palestinians and were triumphant 26-4. So the table stands as:

Team P W D L B PD Pt
1 Lebanon 1 1 0 0 0 22 2
2 Saudi Arabia 1 0 0 0 1 0 0
3 Palestine 1 0 0 1 0 -22 0

Next week MENA sees the Palestinians and Saudis play and then the week after the last match Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.

The Exiles

So looks like the Exiles will be playing the England team. Sorry but this is a completely stupid and farcical idea. Not only does it damage the French and Welsh cause, teams that need just as much exposure to the top, but it makes a complete farce of the international game. Sorry but this is one of these cases of one step forward two steps back.


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43 Responses to “The Exiles are Coming!”

  1. Anthony says:

    the only way I can see it being beneficial for international is if France and Wales get to play the Exiles as well.

    On the other hand you have to give it to the RFL for the marketing of the whole Exile thing (the Druids).

  2. Roml357 says:

    Totally agree druzik, wales and france are borderline tier 1 teams which just need the experience of more exposure to the big 3. And another thing seriously, how is ONE rep game in a 6 month period meant to benefit england no matter who in the hell they play?
    Thats why australia kicks ass, there top players are put through a 8 week period of intense football called state of origin.

    • druzik says:

      Well I guess Wales has the 4 natiosn this year, but France could certainlt do with a game. However I guess its not too bad, France, Scotland and Ireland will play a tri nations at the end of the year (Not a Euro Cup), There will be a European Cup next year.

    • ChArLiE says:

      does anyone at all give a shit about Ireland Scotland Canada America South Africa Italy these team could be the best in the world with in 25 to 40 years

      every single person that knows international rugby league is tied up in this big 3 what a load of shit did you here at all that wales got beaten by italy and in 2000 Ireland only loss by 10 pionts agianst those english the Irish were robbed so were the Scots it shits me to tears most of england is made up of Irish Welsh and Scottish decent most of the good players are

      we should all pull our heads out of our arse

  3. Anthony says:

    Wait in baited breath for your blog about the supposed England tour in 2012.

    Apparently have to play a Pacific Allstars team

  4. png says:

    The exile idea is a complete joke and when england tour and play the pacific allstar team it will be a joke as well because none of the players that are supposed to be selected actualy play for any pacific island nations apparently the team is to be made up from nrl players like civoneceva,hayne,tuqiri,jennings,uate, basicly players who now play for AUS it seems a farce that these players choose to represent there nations of heritage in a allstar format but not in any legitamate international fixture or tournament the only way a allstar team could even be viable is if it was made up from players who curently represent pacific island nations like Tonga,Fiji,Samoa,Cookislands & png I say if players of Islander heritage wish to play for a pacific allstars team in 2012 then they must stick to playing for pacific island nations for the rest of there days you can’t have it both ways

    • druzik says:

      Its a total joke, they have gone and done this because fo the All stars game, but the RFL have completely missed the point of the all stars, its not a rep game its about recognising the contributions that the aboriginies have made to the sport and about reconciliation. The fact they muck around with the rules in that game shows its not meant to be taken that seriously. Its a good warm up to the season.

      Now the PI team wont happen. The reason why the roos wont tour next year is because the RLPA have a signed agreement that there will be one year where their players don’t play internationals. This I assume will also affect all the other nations, however I have been told that the Kiwis will play England next year so am unsure how that affects the RLPA though.

  5. jannerboyuk says:

    Just a couple of points. On the licensing thing what will be decided is what championship team will defintely go up. There will be a seperate process and timescale to decide who will get the other 13 spots, and eligible championship teams (whoever is left from Halifax, Widnes and Barrow) can still apply. Personally i think the RFL may well be tempted to punish Cas and Wakey for there endless broken promises on the stadium front. For good or ill they want a top tier playing in modern facilities.
    Personally i think that once those teams have sorted out the stadiums one up and one down through promotion and relegation should be re-introduced with the champ 1 and elite 1 feeding into the championship giving lots of teams shots at some great promotional years.
    As a crusaders fan i can gurantee we enjoyed promotion to the championship far more than the grief over being given a license.
    More pedantically your MENA table is wrong as three teams can’t all have played one game 😉

    • druzik says:

      I agree with what you say on Can and Wakey, but I think only one of those teams will go down. The RFL won’t risk losing two teams from that are not being there. I think Wakey will go down since they went into administration.

      I agree that once you get at least two levels of teams with great stadiums and facilities they will go back to P&R. Howevere the risk with that is (as was indicative for so long with Rugby League) is that you will get Yoyo teams that go bust trying to buy their way into the top. The RFL does not have enough cash at the moment to divy out so much that its not going tommake clubs broke. Unfortunatley we are not the EPL.

      I have that they have a bye. For me the Played column is more a week counter. So week 1 they had the bye. Its a system I employ for all my tables.

  6. Kingsland7 says:

    What else were England supposed to do?

    I agree in that it is a shame that France and Wales are not strong enough to play England, and it leads to dead rubbers. But, this is not the RLF’s fault. The lack of competition has forced the RFL’s hand in creating a superficial ‘exile’ team.

    France and Wales SHOULD play against each other this year, and on the other hand England and her fans deserve a strong opponent.

    Don’t you think that calling the fixture a ‘joke’ is going a little too far?

    • dragons4eva says:

      I think what you gotta remember is that it’s just ‘how’ the RFL has gone about doing this. Yes i can understand where you are coming from, all England want is strong competition which is fair enough.
      However i think how they’ve tried to implement it is a bit wrong. Firstly, the Aboriginal concept in Australia is very unique. It kicks off the rugby league season and helps promote not only Rugby League to the community but helps out Indigenous youths and tries to educate them into making better educational decisions in life. Also the teams of both sides are chosen by the fans which helps make them feel that they contributed something to the game and make them feel apart of the game.
      The ‘exiles’ v England game has done NONE of the above that i have said. Where has the fans involvement been? Who exactly are the exiles? Yes we know they’ll most likely be an overseas based XIII but no squads, details or information about the match has been released. Sure it’s great promotional material as it gets people talking, but the whole concept has no real merit.
      What’s even worse is that England has scrapped precious game time experience against a team that has no real will to play. If the game is to mean something then something other then just a warm up game the RFL need to do something with it.

      Clint Newton had a very good idea for it, he said that maybe the teams should tour local communities, hospitals, children centres etc and make the public feel proud of the game.

      They should have NEVER have scrapped the French game, instead England should be playing BOTH Wales and France as warm up games for this years Four Nations. If this game is just a marketing tool to help boost the profile of the national team well there won’t be much success.

      Anywayz just my two cents on the situation.

      • druzik says:

        Good Points.

        To add to that, who does the selections for the “Exiles”… why should they be called exiles anyway! Living in another country does not make you an exile.

        Actually, I have always been a bit bamboozled as to why Australia have a selection criteria of only players in Australia being selected. It’s a shame for those players who are still good enough yet are either forced out or choose to get a different experience cant represent their country. No other sport does this.

    • png says:

      going by that logic australia should have stoped playing England thirty years ago it’s been that long since england have beaten australia in a test series or tournament final .You could also argue that perhaps NZ should stop playing England now aswell , Yes I agree that France have strugled to give england good competition lately but lets not forget the very first four nations match between France & England the french whent within a whisker of causing a major upset over England there stamina let them down in the end. This is not an attack on England but how are they supposed to close the gap that is starting to emerge between them & Aus,NZ by playing a Exhibition match against mainly 2nd rate Aussies & kiwis I mean the exiles will have some good players but most will be past the level required to represent Aus or NZ .

    • Ryan says:

      Agree with Kingsland7. If it makes England more competitive go for it. It’ll probably be an exciting clash, and probably well received by many English fans. Besides, it’s not an All Stars team, that’s why they are called the “Exiles”, they’re not trying to emulate the All Stars concept. I’m actually tending to compare it to the Barbarians team from Rugby Union in some ways.

      France and Wales clashes will be exciting and probably do more for those two sides development anyway. Honestly, I know people believe that by playing the big nations the next tier will get better, but I don’t know why, or how and have yet to see any evidence to back this up. If they play each other they can get better together, and when it comes time to play the “Big 3” they will have gelled as teams and combination wise because they will actually get the chance to try stuff. Playing England and getting thrashed and scoring one or two tries and having less than a 30% period with the ball in hand doesn’t help these sides gel and develop combinations. Tightly won matches will.

      • druzik says:

        Over time they do get better… the NZ – Australia clashes are your evidence, in Union looking at Italy and Argentina how they have developed over the years. Its not something that will happen in 1 year you need to persist with it over a 10, 15 year period.

    • druzik says:

      OK how long ago was it that NZ wasn’t strong enough, but by playing them often and regularly has brought them up to speed. The reason why Wales and France went down was because they were ditched by everyone instead of being helped.

      Its the kind of selfishness from Australia and England that has done damage to the game, just like SoO.

      And calling it a Joke, is about right, actually probably calling it something more would be appropriate. You will see this game will do absolutely nothing for England, the International game and will be ditched withing a a two years.

      Also with a game like this, its only more incentive for players like Danny Brough etc… to ditch Scotland and their respective teams because they see no reason to play for those countries anymore since they know they’ll no never get to play the likes of England and Australia etc…

      Its a Stupid idea, a joke and its two steps backwards.

      • Kingsland7 says:

        It’s hard to argue against your logic, and there is plenty of merit to what your saying.

        But the tragedy sence aside, I think England needed this now more than ever before. Considering that the last 4 Nations final in England did not sell out, drawing only 26,ooo* is extremely worrying considering England also made it the final. I could understand this figure if it was AUS V NZ.

        The cause of this poor crowd must surely come down to a loss in credibility for the national side.

        Can I put this to you Druzic:

        1. If England Wins, following a fantasticly hard clash.
        2. There is a bumber crowd
        3. Reported solid Profits and Ratings
        4. France is compensated with a new opponent.

        If all of the above checks out, will you still see the concept as a joke regardless of the means the RFL went about to establish it?

      • druzik says:

        Yes… because the whole point of this is that its bigger than just England. Yourself and most on here are looking at just England, Australia and NZ that the international game is only good when they are strong… why?

        Isn’t it better to end up having a stronng France, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Samoa, PNG, Tonga, USA? Isn;t that better for the sport in terms of exposure and growing. We are trying to constrain the sport to 3 teams effectively while making the false noises that we want to expand the sport.

        If people are truly serious about the international game and wanting it to expand and grow then you have to be prepared that some teams will get better and some weaker, and then they will grow and fall again… it comes in cycles.

        I can tell you this, if we didn’t have all this BS eligibility going around for the last 30 years and nations were allowed to play in meaningful matches from after the war Rugby League would have about 8 strong nations by now. The authorities never had the pair to stand up and make the sport count and we are in the situation we are now.

      • jannerboyuk says:

        wiki says 31,000 at Elland Road for the last final in England but it’s a valid point nonetheless. This may in fact touch on the key fact. Playing france has cost the rfl too much money, with the promotions needed to get a vaguely decent crowd. I fear this is a panic measure in order to give them a decent income stream from the middle of the season.
        As i like to say every time i hear leaguies using words like joke and farce etc etc let’s wait and see what happens!

      • druzik says:

        2009 4 nations
        England v France – 11,529 – Doncaster
        Aus v NZ – 12,360 – London (Sell out)
        France v NZ – 13,000 – Toulouse (close to sell out, 15k is capacity I think)
        England v Aus – 23,122 – Wigan (close to sell out 25k is capacity I think)
        NZ v England – 19,000 – Huddersfield (about 11 off from sell out)
        France v Aus – 5000 – Paris (a non RL heartland, 7000 from sell out)
        England v Aus – Final – 31,042 – Leeds (Reduced Capacity, basically a sell out)

        2010 4 Nations
        NZ v England – 20,000 – Wellington (Not sure what the capacity is)
        PNG v Aus – 11,308 – Parramatta (Laughable as we all saw this game and no way was there even 4000 at this game, still no where near the 25k capacity or so)
        NZ v PNG – ? – Hamilton – (dont know capacity)
        Aus v England – 18,194 – Melbourne (12k off from a sell out)
        NZ v Aus – 44,000 – Auckland (double header, not sure how to judge this)
        England v PNG – 44,000 – Auckland (double header, not)
        NZ v Aus – 36,000 – Brisbane (16k away from a sell out)

        As for the mid year matches,
        GB v France – 12,570 – Leeds (18k capacity at that time)
        France v England – 8,326 – Toulouse (This was in the Union Stade Tolousian which is 18k capacity, remember there was a complete c**k up by the RFL on flight scheduling and there were many fans that were annoyed they could not make it.)
        France v England – 7300 – Paris (Non RL heartland and in a 12k stadium as well)
        England v France – 7,951 – Leigh (12k capacity, so 4k off)

        So I think that its a bit rich saying that there are poor crowds in the UK, when they are comparable and even higher in many instances for corresponding matches. they also were more risk taking by sticking matches in areas that are not RL heart land (London, Paris) to try and spread the sport a bit more. Sorry but in recent years Aussie fans have held International RL at a disdain and its time they woke up and showed patriotism to support the roos more and other teams.

        The promotion the English have done for the these matches has been pretty poor as well. I know, I remember very well when I lived in Europe these matches. Poor planning and timing on the RFL’s part. So considering all that they do pretty well to get crowds for it.

      • dragons4eva says:

        Agree Druzik. People need to realize that International teams rise and fall over time. Happens in EVERY sport whether it be cricket, hockey, Rugby and even soccer, teams will have periods of their “Golden Age” and periods where they go through the slumps.

        People have got to understand this and atleast give international Rugby League a go.

      • jannerboyuk says:

        Druzik i don’t think i’m being rich or even setting out to critiise anyone just trying to see into the logic of the RFL. Headline crowd figures hide many sins. There is a difference between a poor crowd within the context of a world cup which has alrady attracted tv money, funding from state govts etc and a test attracting no extra funds and requiring a tonne of dosh just to get 8k through the gate. People always talk about promotion as if the lack of it is wilful on part of the RFL but the reality is we are a small sport and the rfl quite rightly invests around 40% of what it does have in the grass roots (something it very rarely gets credit for) not leaving much left to splurge on promotion.
        In the end I think that mid-season we should have a tri-nations between england, France and Wales and stick with it for the all the reasons you mention but to act as if the rfl just randomly come up with this for no reason at all is limited. They face a difficult situation and are quite rightly haunted by going effectively bust after 2000 and i think that this informs their thinking. Hence my desire to abandon the language of joke, farce etc etc that infests any discussion on rugby league.

      • druzik says:

        All fair points… and you are right about the RFL’s investment in grass roots and that they should get credit for it.

        But see here is the thing. So here is food for thought, isn’t it the RLIF’s responsibility and not the RFL’s to help invest in the internationals? And yes I know that the RLIF only exists on papre… and that is the whole problem.

  7. roml357 says:

    Am I the only one who thinks playing 1 rep game in a 6 month period is a waste of time?

  8. Mick says:

    I think that English RL has to keep playing the test against France and Wales and who ever else that matters

    (please see comments by “druzik” he is spot on. especially Argentina and Italy)

    Im pretty sure the year before the World Cup AUS flogged NZ by 50 points or some thing close to that. Did we stop playing games against the Kiwis because of this?
    The Kiwis regrouped and challenged AUS and given time and and meaningful representative games France and Wales will as well.

    • druzik says:

      Well one reason why Union is getting bigger is because they are starting to play more and more meaningful tournaments for the lower nations now too. Fiji and Tonga have recently played against the Aussies and NZ in a Pacific cup and you have the Churchill Cup where the USA and Canada are playing against the England A side.

  9. Lee says:

    I think the idea of having a County Cup would be much better

    • druzik says:

      well they do and they don’t, at the amateur/BARLA level there is a county championships.

      At the top level there used to be the War of the Roses which was a Lancashire v Yorkshire match … but it was not supported very well and eventually died.

  10. dragons4eva says:

    I just believe to make a stronger England you need a stronger Europe.

    The RFL should be making initiatives to invest in EUROPEAN talent rather then NRL players.

    If MORE European teams can play in the SL then it would help develop both England and the rest of Europe by becoming stronger foes and build up stronger ties when playing against each other.

  11. tax_dodger says:

    Dissapointed that only the ‘heartland’ clubs have applied to host the World Cup games. We need to start showing some ambition in International Rugby League and plays games in big capacities stadiums across England, not 12,000 stadiums along the M62, and not the same old boring tried and tested grounds.

    • druzik says:

      I think its no surprise at the moment, but there is time and I am sure non heartland areas will again. See the teams that have appluied and made a hooplah are the ones with the ESL licences on the line… its probably a tactic to show that they have facilities up to scratch.

      But funny you say what you do, one issue people said about last time was that not enough Heartland areas had games!

      • tax_dodger says:

        I think most of the poor crowds for 2000 came at the heartland clubs anyway. The highest crowds bar the final were at Twickenham and Watford! But I think the RFL went wrong by playing non-heartland games at Union stadums. There are plenty of new stadiums across the country that’ll look good and aren’t Union biased, I just feel we’d get more coverage if it’s spread, and not regionalised to the M62. Thank God there is talk of a Wembley 4 nations double-header! Being from London, I haven’t been able to see my International team for 6 years, and that is a fact that should be addressd IMO. The Aussies and Kiwis are happy to spread games around the country, yet we stay in the same towns every year, why?!

      • druzik says:

        why was that a bad thing, you have grounds with at least the right dimensions for Rugby league. Playing in soccer stadiums is fraught with danger that the fields can be too narrow and too short.

        I agree that there needs to be spread, and I am sure the RFL is going to make sure that at least the bigger centers like Brimingham will get a game. But I think much of the foundation will be on the heartlands.

        I mean, look at 2008… I mena that was all played in heartland areas. Melbourne was the only non heartland city to get a game! They should of at least gone with one game to Perth IMHO.

        I really do hope you get the double header, hell I may even fly over for a weekend if it is there!

      • tax_dodger says:

        Yeah, I do agree that Union-specific stadiums are better for League, than football. But I just meant they played in stadiums home to Union teams, such as London Irish and Saracens, although Reading and Watford are football stadiums. They could have played at Charlton or Brentford, which are more League-friendly.

        Hope we can see games in places like Nottingham, Coventry, Birmingham and London, and also obviously the bigger capacity heartland ground, such as Elland Road, Old Trafford, Wigan, Hull (FC), Eastlands and maybe somewhere like Everton/Anfield.

        I know 2008 was pretty heartlands-centric, but the Aussies are keen to play internationals in Melbourne, whereas the RFL have been avoiding London. The Kiwis have also been playing in Wellington, Rotorua and Eden Park, and set to play in Christchurch, so they’re the most expansive of all the big three.

        The good thing about Wembley is so many people seem to be excited. As you said, you may fly over for it! I don’t think anyone would bat an eyelid if it was at Wigan again. Big internationals should be the pinnnacle of RL, not treated as worse than the Super League or NRL, and therefore played on big stages.

      • druzik says:

        Is the issue that maybe that there already is a big event, i.e. Challenge cup in London? Also with Magic weekend and Manchester and Perpignan travel, taking a big chunk out of peoples budgets?

  12. Chris Sanders says:

    This Exiles nonsense symbolises the small thinking in the game.No vision and yet no idea.What’s the point of Ireland,Italy,France and Wales playing the game?
    This venture will be another failure by the RFL and yet again we will be the laughing stock.

  13. Chris Sanders says:

    But the poms want to play the double header at Whitehaven Tax_dodger because playing in Cumbria before a jam packed stadium of 4,000 would look far better on the tele than playing at a half-empty stadium at Wemmbley with all those horrible gaps in the background that are an eyesore.
    A half empty Wembley still represents 45,000 people and more money but the poms can’t work that one out.
    That’s why they’re the World Chumps of Rugby League because their administration haven’t a glue.

  14. Chris Sanders says:

    And the stadium at Huddersfild has a capacity of only 20,000 daniel and not 30,000.

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