France needs the World Cup… and the NRL too! – TotalRL.com | Rugby League Express
Rugby League World Treizist journalist Pierre Carcau offers a French perspective on the influence of Australia’s NRL on the Rugby League, following the postponement of this year’s World Cup to 2022.
The postponement of the Rugby Union World Cup 2021 taught us one thing: how powerful the NRL is! Even if observers like me knew the influence of the Australian organization in Oceania, I never would have thought that Peter V’landys had, say, this royal power of “veto” over the events of the International Rugby League.
Okay, not so explicitly, the Australian leader has claimed to act in the interests of the well-being of the players regarding the pandemic situation in England. Nonetheless, he did real damage in causing what appeared to be a tournament to be postponed on its way to success in a sport that has yet to make a decisive media breakthrough internationally.
Expansionists and “internationalists” can now blame the NRL. And that would be legitimate. On social networks, a “boycott” of the NRL has even been proposed.
But it would be nonsense to boycott the Australians since the international Rugby League remains an invisible code.
Indeed, despite the efforts made by players around the world, the Rugby League remains a regional code and today it is almost impossible to do without it.
Even though the NRL has built a thriving colonial economic empire, that empire does not extend much beyond its own shores. And in Britain, the RFL has struggled to break out of the core despite relative media and government recognition.
But, if you read the Journal de Treiziste regularly, you may suspect that France is in a worse situation.
Here, the Code of Thirteen must respect unwritten rules if it is to attract attention: to meet these rules, any Gallic national team must play regular international events and preferably win them. See the Olympic Games and how our media treat our teams, you will understand immediately.
Pressure by the NRL on the Australian and New Zealand RL associations to withdraw from this year’s World Cup, essentially causing the tournament to fail for at least another twelve months, has indirectly held back the France team rugby union to take advantage of this rare and unbeatable opportunity to play on a global stage.
Therefore, in retaliation, should the French stop watching NRL matches and unsubscribe from Beinsport, the Qatari pay-TV service that broadcasts NRL matches here?
It would be a bad move for the French Treizists.
Believe it or not, the island-oriented LNR has a positive influence in France; unlike the Super League or the National Elite 1, the Australian competition is easy to follow in this country. Much easier than all the RL competitions organized on French soil to be honest.
Beinsport not only broadcast the NRL, but also the State of Origin series and other NRL-sponsored games, such as the Indigenous Round.
The French (and among them the Parisian general public journalists, said to be the most influential) have access to these images and to the remarkable demonstration of skills and very talented actors. The games are commented by a talented duo: Rodolphe Pires and Louis Bonney, the most famous French callers.
With NRL on a nationwide channel, although paid for, it’s very difficult to completely sweep “Rugby Union” under the rug and hope no one will watch it, even by chance.
Nowadays, with the exception of of course the most fanatical traditionalists of rugby union, any connoisseur of rugby cannot ignore what is happening in Australia in terms of the level of play. even inspire.
But the main problem is that NRL doesn’t promote the TV material it sends overseas. I’m not even sure the NRL even knows where it grants television rights or which countries broadcast them.
Interestingly, some suggested during the 2021 World Cup debate that the NRL should lead the International Rugby League.
Well, in France, I don’t think we would be that demanding!
If only the NRL could start supporting any kind of international activity, that would be a lot.
Currently the promotion of the LNR is made by… certain Treizistes themselves or by foreign individuals.
Do you remember the Sydney Roosters’ visit to Toulouse Olympique before the World Club Challenge?
Was it a promotional action sponsored by the NRL?
Not at all!
This was only possible thanks to Trent Robinson’s connections in France and the good relations he has in the country.
But it’s in Europe, far from Australia. So let’s go to another part of the world.
Even in Oceania, does the LNR have a promotion policy towards nearby New Caledonia, a French territory even closer to Australia than to New Zealand?
Not at all!
“Pacific XIII” can use the imagery of the NRL to attract players, but again, this relies only on personal initiative and personal connections.
The NRL has shown its extraordinary power to interfere with international RL events, but why don’t they use that power and influence to promote the game, even if it’s just their own version?
I took the example of France but I am sure that the LNR does not do much more even in the countries of their heritage players. I would be happy to hear examples if there are any.
What is certain is that in France, in terms of communication, the NRL remains the missing link between “Rugby à XIII”, which is also far too regional, and the French public. The only one, since the Super League has preferred to increase the cost of its TV rights and that their only French club, the Catalans Dragons, is forced to pay the production costs of the games they want to show to their compatriots. Forgive me, but we cannot seriously ask the president of the Dragons Bernard Guasch to take the place of France Télévision and pay cash for all the major French RL events.
This missing link is a very exciting game, popular with younger treizers and easy to follow. In addition, it is covered by enthusiasts in France.
Of course, it will never replace a true international event but if only NRL could be more proactive when it comes to international promotion, it could start to break the glass ceiling of the French media hierarchy. And that could make you forget, or at least forgive them, for inflicting a year of purgatory on the World Cup.