Board index Championship 1 North Wales Crusaders A call to arms to support Welsh RL



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 Post subject: A call to arms to support Welsh RL
PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 10:24 pm 
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If ever there was a clarion call to the rugby league world to get behind the expansion of the game into Wales, it is this:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/rugby_league/super_league/celtic_crusaders/7876091.stm

So, the WRFU wants to steal league's best players.

This shouldn't be a surprise... anyone who's read Clive Woodward's book 'Winning' knows that Union wants our elite athletes. So far, we've not suffered too badly on the pitch. We lost Jason Robinson in his prime, but Iestyn Harris, Andy Farrell, Henry Paul and Lesley Vainakolo had passed their peak before switching codes, and none has really achieved too much in the 15 man code. Indeed, younger players like Chav Walker and Karl Price didn't last long in the more technical other game.

The Ozzies have suffered more - Rodgers, Sailor, Toquiri and Gasnier all migrating to the money and global exposure of Union. Indeed, in the UK we have missed out primarily on a generation of coaches... Edwards, Lydon, Betts, Ford, Griffiths, and Ellis, amongst others.

Its noticable that the successful league-to-union converts are all backs... the technical demands of rucking, mauling, lineouts and the set piece are, like religion, mysteries that one is born into, else one struggles to see the point of the intricacy and ritual. But this is why welsh development is more vulnerable to Union raiders. If/as/when Welsh kids start filtering through Crusaders Colts into the first squad, they will most likely have been bloodied into the Union game at junior level, too.

There will always be players who find the open spaces and genuine collision of league more enjoyable than Union, and I suspect Iestyn Harris is right, that once Crusaders are established they will have a particular draw of their own in partial immunisation against Union's money.

But if ever there was a reason to work towards the success of the latest and best-supported (by the RFL and independent finance) bid to establish top-line league in England's nearest nation, then this is it.

There are those, myself included, who felt that Crusaders' franchise bid was weaker than that of some heartland clubs, and that the RFL would have been wiser just to declare openly that Wales was getting the nod for expansionist reasons. Well, what's done is done, and now it has been done it HAS to work. So we all need to work together to bring success.

I'd welcome the thoughts and opinions of those on the ground in Wales, and also would add my encouragement to the welsh league followers to get involved, not just as a spectator and de-facto marketeer for Crusaders (although that too...), but to get your hands dirty with the amateur and junior game... get coaching badges, do referees courses, join the committee of the local amateur club, or start another side in the fledgling Welsh conference.

Go buy your goods from the companies that sponsor Crusaders (and the amateur teams), and make sure they know the reason you've gone to them. Put up match posters at work. Get your mates along to Brewery Field. Think 'league', and push the game in whatever way you can.

Travelling fans should make the effort to get down to their away games in Bridgend. It may not be the capital or the South of France, but it damn well needs the clicks on the turnstyle and the cash in the bank, so make that your first choice away fixture.

Union is fine, if you like that kind of thing (personally I can take it or leave it). But this thinly-veiled threat to try and strangle league at birth in the Valleys seems to me to suggest that Union is actually scared to death, this time, and will consequently fight dirty. We... the whole RL world... should be ready.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:37 pm 
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The need to be able to stand on their own two feet. Simple as.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 6:44 pm 
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Considering that RL stole a whole generation of Welsh RU players back in the 80s and 90s, I think it is a bit hypocritical to start complaining of a reverse player drain....

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2009 8:01 pm 
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smwrff wrote:Considering that RL stole a whole generation of Welsh RU players back in the 80s and 90s, I think it is a bit hypocritical to start complaining of a reverse player drain....


You surely mean 'paid them to be professional rugby players in the only professional rugby competition in the country'. You idiot.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 1:39 am 
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smwrff wrote:Considering that RL stole a whole generation of Welsh RU players back in the 80s and 90s, I think it is a bit hypocritical to start complaining of a reverse player drain....


All the Welsh RU had to do was select them... we didn't stop them playing for Wales after they'd signed pro. If the WRFU had selected Davies, Quinell, Deveraux, Phillips, Bateman etc etc for the 1995 World Cup, do you think they'd have said no?

And do you think, had they done so, Wales might have done a bit better?

Union, then, was a bitter, prejudiced, small-minded sport (at the top... the players have always been just like any other bunch of lads). League didn't steal anyone, union shunned them.

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