BBC Sport | Rugby League | UK Edition


Wednesday, 30 November 2016

WATCH THIS - Maori Wedding Guests Perform Haka

This is wonderful

So proud and dignified

Wednesday, 23 November 2016


Victory in the Ladbrokes Four Nations tournament has elevated Australia back to number one in the world rugby league rankings released by the RLIF, leapfrogging New Zealand, who they defeated 34-8 in the final at Anfield, Liverpool.
The Kiwis had become the only other nation to head the chart when they took on the mantle after winning the Anzac Test between the nations in mid-2015.
Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga commented:
“It is nice to have the number one position now, we tend to talk about process in the build-up but it is satisfying; the pressure’s on us now to stay there and we are very confident we can handle it.
“We look in good shape for the World Cup next year.”
The biggest leap in the rankings is by Scotland, who became the first nation to take a point off a top-three ranked nation since Papua New Guinea in 1990, when the Bravehearts held New Zealand to an 18-all draw in Workington as part of the Four Nations.
The Scottish performances in the competition see them move from ninth to fourth in the rankings, the highest they have been.
“This is a very exciting moment for Scotland Rugby League,” said SRL chairman Keith Hogg.
“It is testament to the hard work that so many players, staff and volunteers have put into the establishment and development of our national team over many years, especially long-serving head coach Steve McCormack and skipper Danny Brough who provided so many fantastic memories during the Four Nations.
“This is a real boost for the sport in Scotland and everyone involved will be working hard to make the most of the increased exposure this landmark brings.”
For the first time USA and Canada, who have been jointly awarded the 2025 World Cup appear in the top 12 nations.
The 2016 international season has featured the most accredited international matches since the official rankings began.

Monday, 21 November 2016


Following the recommendation of the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) Board to conditionally award the 2025 World Cup to North America the RLIF Congress, at its annual general meeting held in Liverpool on 17 November, endorsed the Board's recommendation.

RLIF Chairman Nigel Wood commented:

"The award of the 2025 World Cup to North America is a historic moment in the global development of Rugby League. The USA and Canada provides world class stadia allied to a significant multi cultural population which made the bid so persuasive. It is exciting that our sport is expanding into a new destination for our premier event the World Cup and we will work with our members in the USA and Canada and Moore Sports International to expand the presence of our sport in these countries during the lead in to the 2025 World Cup."

"The Board will now work with Moore Sports International to complete the due diligence and exchange of contracts to complete the award."

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Italy Claim Final RLWC2017 Place

Italy has claimed the 14th and final place in the Rugby League World Cup 2017 (RLWC2017) tournament draw, following their win in the Rugby League European Federation qualifier play-off this morning.
The Italian Azzurri defeated the Russian Bears in Leigh (England) to qualify for their second concessive Rugby League World Cup – the sport’s pinnacle international event.

RLWC2017 CEO, Andrew Hill, said the confirmation of Italy as the final team completes what is an exciting RLWC2017 line-up.

“I would like to congratulate Italy on their qualification for next year’s Rugby League World Cup.

“The European play-off concludes what was a fantastic 18 months of qualifying matches and the number of teams who competed reflects the growth of the international game.

“The 2017 tournament will feature the greatest rugby league players from across the world all aiming to win what will be the most competitive World Cup ever.

“Fans are in for a real treat and should not delay in securing their tickets for this exciting international event.”

The RLWC2017 will be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, with three pool games in Papua New Guinea, from 27 October until 2 December 2017.

The fourteen competing nations are (alphabetical order): Australia, England, Fiji, France, Ireland, Italy, Lebanon, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Scotland, Tonga, USA and Wales

As the play-off winners, Italy will take position “EQ3” in Pool D of the RLWC2017 draw and will play matches in Cairns, Townsville and Canberra.
The 22-man Azzurri squad for the recent European qualifiers featured seven^ players who are currently attached to North Queensland-based teams, along with former Raiders’ great, Terry Campese – so should receive strong support during next year’s tournament.

Italy – RLWC2017 Pool D matches
v Ireland, Barlow Park on 29 October 2017
v USA, Townsville Stadium on 5 November 2017
v Fiji, Canberra Stadium on 10 November 2017

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Ireland and Wales Qualify for RLWC2017

Ireland and Wales will contest the Rugby League World Cup 2017 (RLWC2017) after both countries topped their respective Rugby League European Federation (RLEF) qualifying groups with victories overnight.
As RLEF qualifying Group A winners, Wales, will take position “EQ1” in Pool C of the RLWC2017 tournament draw, with Ireland taking the place of “EQ2” as Group B winners.

RLWC2017 CEO, Andrew Hill, welcomed the addition of both teams to the sport’s pinnacle international event which will be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, with three pool games in Papua New Guinea, from 27 October until 2 December 2017.

“I’d like to congratulate both Ireland and Wales on qualifying for next year’s Rugby League World Cup.

“With large expat communities in Australia, we know these two teams will receive strong support and win over a legion of new fans during their respective campaigns.

“With less than 12 months to go until the tournament kicks-off on Friday 27 October 2017, we look forward to confirming the 14th and final team after the final qualifying match between Italy and Russia to be played on Friday 4 November.

“The organising committee is preparing to welcome all competing countries and their supporters to what will be the greatest Rugby League World Cup.”
The 2017 tournament will be the first time the Welsh Dragons have featured in a Rugby League World Cup played in the Southern Hemisphere since 1975, and the fourth consecutive appearance for Irish Wolfhounds.

Wales RLWC2017 pool matches
v Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby on 28 October 2017
v Fiji, Townsville Stadium on 5 November 2017
v Ireland, Perth Rectangular Stadium on 12 November 2017
Ireland RLWC2017 pool matches
v Italy, Barlow Park on 29 October 2017
v Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby on 5 November 2017
v Wales, Perth Rectangular Stadium on 12 November 2017

Tuesday, 8 November 2016


A masterclass and 24 point haul from Terry Campese saw Italy claim the fourteenth and final place in the 2017 World Cup with a 14-try rout over depleted Russia at the Leigh Sports Village.
The Azzurri now join Fiji and the USA in Group D in the full tournament and will also play a cross-group tie with Ireland.
Campese, who has been in tremendous form over the three qualifying ties is looking forward to the chance to play for his national side in Canberra where he started his junior career, enjoyed success with the Raiders in the NRL, and where he will join ACT side Queanbeyan as player/coach in the run up to the World Cup.
“It’s great to represent the heritage of the family,” he said. “If my grandfather hadn’t gone over to Australia, I wouldn’t have had this opportunity; he’s no longer with us and it’s sad that he didn’t get to see me pull on the Italian jersey but he was in my heart out there.
The Italian skipper added: “We’ve got a bunch of young guys whose heritage and background, wherever they play, is Italy and it was great to be with them and now in another World Cup.
“If I get to play in Canberra for the Azzurri that would be fantastic, the World Cup will be tough but we won’t be making up the numbers.”
In heavy rain throughout, Campese ensured that the Italians got off to a fast start and enjoyed the bulk of the early possession to build an unassailable lead.
Russia had only 16 men to call on after injuries ruled out three of their squad from the week before against Ireland and there was not time to obtain visas for replacements.
Veteran Sergei Konstantinov was ill on the plane over but bravely took his place on the bench and stand in full back Maxim Suchkov was forced off with a hip injury early in the second half.
Campese’s deft pass sent impressive full back Mason Cerruto over after two minutes and his long ball and miss out pass by Ryan Ghietti saw Richard Lepori in at the corner soon after.
On the back of a penalty, Campese, Ghietti and Cerruto spread the ball for Col Wilkie to cross, Campese landing his first goal from wide out.
Russia were unable to get their hands on the ball and, from a short drop out fashioned by Ghietti’s kick, Brenden Santi gathered to score.
Further penalty concessions saw Cerutto on an excellent diagonal run to the corner from Campese’s pass and Shannon Wakeman crash over to make it 30 points in 24 minutes.
Although the Russians scrambled heroically on the left, the ball was spun to the right and Ghietti’s perfect chip over brought Lepori his second touchdown.
Just after the half hour, Russia spilt possession covering a kick and Campese’s long pass saw Chris Centrone step to the try line and after the Bears had again given away possession on their own 10 metre line, Giolene Celeroni powered over by the posts, Campese with his fifth goal to make it 46-0 at the break.
“We had really good preparation that transferred onto the park and for us to start well was really important,” said Italy head coach Cameron Ciraldo.
“It’s been a big three weeks but we’re there now. It’s been a really good experience, we’d like to have won against Wales last week but we were beaten by the better team on the day.
“That gave us another week together to come here and it was probably our best week on tour.”
Ciraldo added: “Everyone has made sacrifices, they don’t get paid and they’ve all played their part. Tonight we celebrate.”
Italy added five more tries after the break, the Russians enjoying their best spell around the hour when they went 15 minutes without conceding, Ivan Troitskii and Mikhail Burlutskii outstanding in their rearguard action, although the Bears persisted in kicking early when they had the ball.
Suchkov dropped Campese’s high kick and Castellaro took advantage of swept passes from the scrum four minutes into the second half.
On a powerplay, Campese then sent Wilkie twisting over and Castellaro intercepted Denis Tiulenev’s pass to scamper in from half way.
Soft hands from Campsese saw Jayden Walker across in the 65th minute after he had previously had two clean breaks ruled out for forward passes, Campese with another touchline goal, and the skipper landed the coup de grace with the final try in the corner from the back of a scrum, which he also improved.
“It was tough on us because we don’t have a single professional player in our squad,” said Russia head coach Denis Koralev.
“I am proud of every single one of players, they gave all they had tonight. We go back now and begin to prepare for the next World Cup by bringing in some of our younger players.’”

Friday, 4 November 2016

England to host RLWC2021

The Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) is delighted to announce that England has been awarded the rights to stage the 2021 Rugby League Men’s and Women’s World Cups.
Following an exhaustive process, which included  strong competition  from other nations, the non-conflicted Directors of the RLIF Board met on 18 October to review presentations from the two shortlisted bidders, England and the Moore Sports International (MSI) USA/Canada Bid.
Bids were assessed against seven criteria provided in the bid documentation.
England scored heavily in respect of its supporter base and UK government support, both in terms of the £25 million government support of the event and its legacy, as well as in areas such as visas, security, international development and promotion of the event.
The MSI USA/Canada Bid scored impressively in many areas, including but not limited to, the support of the RLIF strategy to extend the global reach of Rugby League as well as in marketing, commercial support and innovation.  The Board, acknowledging the strength of the MSI USA/Canada bid, made the decision to recommend to Congress in November the award of the 2025 Rugby League World Cup together with, subject to further evaluation, an Inter-nations tournament to MSI USA/Canada to be played between the 2021 and 2025 World Cups.
Ultimately, England edged out the MSI USA/Canada Bid for the 2021  RLWC,  primarily based on the current Rugby League participation numbers in North America.
RLIF Chief Executive David Collier, commented: “The RLIF congratulates both England and  MSI USA/Canada on outstanding bids.
With specific reference to the England Bid, which is built upon achieving a spectator attendance in excess of one million and the delivery of a £10 million capital legacy programme, this will be of massive benefit to our sport. England staged an outstanding World Cup in 2013 and have clearly outlined their vision for the 2021 World Cup as a World Class event eclipsing the attendances, reach and legacy of 2013. The bid details that the Rugby League World Cup will be the highlight of the international sporting calendar in England that year and RLIF looks forward to a great tournament.
The MSI USA/Canada Bid provided the RLIF with an unprecedented opportunity to take Rugby League’s pinnacle Event, the World Cup, to the commercially lucrative and passionate sports audience of North America. As outlined in the Bid presentation, significant opportunities with regards to Rugby League development at both the elite level and even more extensively at the junior levels of the game, gave MSI USA/Canada’s Bid extremely compelling qualities.The bid process was highly competitive and the Board was very impressed by the MSI USA/Canada bid which was of the highest quality. The RLIF sees a great future for the sport in North America and has recommended that discussions with MSI are expedited to bring  professional Rugby League to North America as well as future international tournaments. Those discussions are being progressed with MSI USA/Canada and a report will be presented to Congress which will be held on 19 November this year.”


A total of 16 nations attended the RLEF congress held in Bray near Dublin, Ireland last weekend, with delegates from Turkey and Bulgaria joining for the first time.
Both nations are in the latter stages of forming associations whilst Poland submitted their application for Polska Rugby XIII to receive formal recognition.
The Council endorsed the Board’s recommendation to re-appoint Paul Nicholson as an independent director for a further two years. Nicholson, CEO of Inside World Football, is taking the lead on the RLEF’s broadcast partnerships as the sport prepares to move into a new eight-year cycle following next year’s World Cup.
“The next two years are very important for international rugby league in Europe as more nations become increasingly competitive,” said Nicholson. “As the RLEF has expanded so we need to work on increasing and improving our media footprint."
“With the international calendar becoming clearer, we have an identifiable set of rights that can be taken to the broadcast and sponsorship markets through to 2022. They are a compelling proposition and allow broadcasters to programme a multi-year schedule of international rugby league in Europe," he added.
RLEF Chairman Maurice Watkins, CBE noted: “The members are the beating heart of the RLEF and through their endeavours both our European dimension and the sport’s capacity will grow.”
Watkins also welcomed independent director Sally Bolton and newly elected French rugby league president Marc Palanques to their first annual congress, with Palanques elected as vice chairman by the Board.
Serbia RL’s Nebojsa Sretenovic stood down from the Board after a six-year spell, his compatriot Blagoje Stoijlkovic, an engineer from Belgrade, and Scotland Rugby League nominee Graeme Thompson, who first served in 2010, elected unopposed on a two-year mandate.
Des Foy of Rugby League Ireland praised the role EuroTag – a non-contact version of the game – has had in a number of countries, whilst Jovan Vujosevic of the Serbian Rugby League Federation indicated there was growing support within the membership to increase the number of domestic players in any match involving national teams played within RLEF jurisdiction.
In a full weekend of activity that included watching Ireland qualify for the 2017 RLWC when beating Russia, the members were also involved in an interactive workshop run by RLEF match officials manager Tom Mather to discuss the new technical training programme, as well as receiving a presentation from RLI’s Richard Egan on the host federation’s strategy.
“I would like to thank Dr Mick Molloy and the whole of Rugby League Ireland for staging a successful and interesting weekend,” said Watkins.
The countries represented were: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, England, France, Greece, Lebanon, Netherlands, Norway, Ireland, Russia, Turkey, Scotland, Serbia, Spain, Ukraine and Wales