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Sunday, 23 November 2008

Rugby League World Cup.

The 2008 Rugby League World Cup is now at an end. The winners, New Zealand, showed that the dominant Australians can be beat and what a show they put on whilst doing just that. In the final no doubt the Australian press will point to the awarded penalty try, to New Zealand, in the second half as being the moment New Zealand finally believed they could win, but it has to be said that on the day the New Zealand players played the game plan that did not allow the Australians to play their usual expansive type of play. Ultimately, this was what won New Zealand the final. In the second half New Zealand dominated the game. They thoroughly deserved their victory. It was not that Australia played poorly but that the New Zealanders did not allow them to get into the game in a way they did in all their other games. As a spectical the 2008 Rugby League World Cup final was brilliant. On the day New Zealand were simply the better team.

The woefully inept England team, try as they did, were simply terrible in all the games they played. It can only be hoped that some searching questions, with solutions that benefit our national teams here in the U.K. (which included England, Scotland and Ireland, why no Wales? They have a national team but failed to qualify) can be made and are addressed and they do it in quick time in time for the next Rugby League World cup. Can the Super League teams forgo selfishness to aid not only local, as in U.K., leagues but also, and much more important, our national teams? Only time will tell.

As a follower and former player of the greatest game on Earth the Rugby League World Cup was a resounding success for all the teams involved. Even those teams from the so-called lesser groups showed they had the required skills and a burning desire to win. Some of those less powerful groups yielded some fantastic matches.

Much was said about the group layout but ultimately this did what it was designed to do and allowed lesser teams to compete on an equal footing. From that perspective they, the people in charge of putting the whole spectical together, got it right. Overall, the World Cup was a resounding, as well as a finacial, success.

For those of you who do not know what Rugby League is I will point you to this (the link points to a flash based 'Best tries' of the World Cup). While that in and of itself does not show a full game nor show the mariad of rules that govern each game it  does show some of the excellence my favourite game has. Much more information about Rugby League can be seen at the BBC web site dedicated to it here.

If the word is spread and other countries develop a national team in the years to come perhaps finally the game of Rugby League can grow into a truly international sport. I know the game is worthy as there is no other team sport that provides the level of excitement a game of Rugby League provides. Even at the amateur level.  Can Rugby League grow in countries where it currently has no presence? Yes, but it will take time and money to make it happen and year after year od grassroots development with some gritty determination to make it a success but as teams such as Samoa and Fiji prove it can be done. In Papua New Guinea the game of Rugby League is their national sport. The only  country where that holds true in fact.

If you like what you find, read and see when you type Rugby League into Google perhaps that will spur you into action in getting together like minded people who then go on to establish a Rugby League presence in your area no matter where you may be in the world. For me there is no other game played anywhere in the World that comes close to Rugby League for both players and spectators. The guys who play at the very pinnacle, The Rugby League World Cup, of the sport are supreme    athletes that have their bodies pounded week in and week out during their domestic seasons but even those who play at an amateur level do the same. They believe, perhaps you can too.

There is no better game.

Well done New Zealand.

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