Was the Rugby League World Cup a hit?

The Rugby League World Cup has completed, and once more Australia are topped world champions.

Australia’s 30–0 victory in opposition to Samoa displayed the Kangaroos’ dominance over the 13-a-side model of the rugby code.

Now that the match has completed, was the World Cup a hit? And the place does the worldwide sport go from right here?

Many variables must be thought-about to reply the primary query.

If the revenue generated was the only deciding issue, then clearly not. The World Cup will probably be thought-about a catastrophe. It might be fortunate to interrupt even, however it’s extra prone to make a slight loss, and what’s worse, the Worldwide Rugby League Federation was not flush with funds earlier than the match.

Actually, attributable to COVID, the worldwide governing physique has not made a revenue for a few years. And when you think about that the Worldwide Rugby League was counting on earnings from the match to fund future development, then the long run for the game is trying bleak. Hopefully, it is not going to be as ruinous because the 2000 World Cup.

The difficulty of crowds, or lack of them, no less than till the ultimate phases of the match, additionally introduced the sport in a unfavorable gentle. This challenge has been mentioned amongst followers, however I nonetheless can’t work out why sports activities organisers regularly see their followers as money cows reasonably than loyal shoppers.

I hope with the France World Cup in 2025 that tickets are priced to garner the very best doable attendance. And I don’t care if which means some tickets go for €5, no matter – simply fill the stadiums and convey the environment!

I perceive which will imply making a revenue all of the tougher, however no less than it helps construct a fanbase that might be able to help sooner or later era of earnings. Having half-filled stadiums doesn’t carry within the coin and doesn’t carry an environment which will hook an off-the-cuff fan onto the game.

The crowds and the revenue era weren’t the one disappointments from the present match. What was clear was the groupings of the groups weren’t preferrred.

(Photograph by Naomi Baker/Getty Photographs)

Sure, it was honest, and the game equally distributed the flexibility of the nations, however rugby league isn’t soccer. Having Australia compete in opposition to Scotland or Italy won’t ever produce an thrilling contest for followers.

The French World Cup can resolve this drawback. If the identical nations made the following World Cup, I might create 4 ability-based groupings (with one favouring the hosts), and a modified knockout stage development. For instance, I might place the teams as follows:

Group A – Australia, New Zealand, England and Lebanon
Group B – Tonga, Samoa, Fiji and Papua New Guinea
Group C – Eire, Wales, Italy and the Prepare dinner Islands
Group D – France, Jamaica, Greece and Scotland

The highest three groups from Group A and Group B would progress to the quarter-finals. On the identical time, solely the winners of Group C and Group D would advance. Then within the quarterfinals, the winners of Group A and B would play the winners of Teams C and D.

Furthermore, second place in Group A (and likewise for Group B) would play third place within the different group. Clearly, you may argue that France would most likely make the quarters after which be knocked out… which is true, however no less than they might make it additional than they’ve within the final couple of World Cups.

This format generates nearer contests and extra video games of upper depth, which is a greater consequence than what this World Cup produced.

Lastly, when it comes to the nations that qualify, I hope the organisers drop no less than one or two European positions and substitute them with groups from the Americas. By doing so, they’re permitting nations with extra development potential the prospect to take part.

To not knock the likes of Scotland, Eire and Wales, however how a lot development is feasible with these nations? Quickly, when the grandparent rule turns into out of date, what programs are in place in Scotland to carry by way of the following crop of rugby league expertise?

There could also be a small newbie league in Scotland, however are there plans, funds, and events which are going to develop the sport on this nation? If there are, what are they?

And that ought to be the purpose of the worldwide sport – to develop the game internationally.

(Photograph by Jan Kruger/Getty Photographs for RLWC)

Earlier than and after the following World Cup, I’ve zero concepts what is occurring for the worldwide calendar. Shockingly, it seems the sport’s governing our bodies are additionally at nighttime. For a sport that needs to be taken critically on the worldwide stage that may be a joke.

Not solely is it an personal objective, but it surely supplies a free kick to different sports activities that want to denigrate the good sport of rugby league. There are whispers of an Ashes tour – however when and the place aren’t clarified. There are classes that could possibly be realized from this match that might assist form the way forward for the worldwide rugby league.

What was evident is that the Pacific nations of Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and Papua New Guinea are far stronger than in earlier years. A Pacific Six Nations additionally that includes Australia and New Zealand might create an Origin-style buzz each 4 years between World Cups within the southern hemisphere.

For instance, a Pacific match in 2023, 2027, and 2031 might create competitors consistency for these nations. On the identical time, different regional tournaments could possibly be held in Europe, the Americas, Africa and the remainder of Asia-Pacific.

Notedly, these tournaments might additionally act as World Cup qualifiers. By doing so, the sport is producing a significant and constant worldwide calendar. As soon as that’s accomplished, then scheduling excursions turns into the following precedence. If regional tournaments happen at the side of World Cups, then it leaves two years free to permit doable excursions.

However again to the World Cup: the crowds had been typically not good, the match didn’t carry the specified earnings, and the contests within the group phases had been, for the perfect half, not nice occasions. What couldn’t be doubted, nevertheless, was that the standard of play was implausible.

As regular, the gamers purchased in and produced. So, that may be a win. Additionally, a win was the truth that the match was watched on tv by many followers – particularly in the UK. Perhaps a distinct story in Australia, the place curiosity within the worldwide sport is proscribed, however for a sport craving display screen time, then the sport (in England no less than) obtained the shot within the arm it wanted.

Regardless of these constructive outcomes, the reality is that the 2021 Rugby League World Cup failed. It was not the success it might have or ought to have been. And to complete off, the legacy of the match stays unclear. Will the sports activities leaders lastly administer the sport to permit the worldwide facet of the game to prosper? One can solely hope.

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