In a very positive move for international rugby league Richard Lewis the Deputy Chairman of the Rugby League International Federation has tabled a ten year plan. According to the RFL website the New Zealand Chairman Andrew Chalmers has already agreed to the schedule and the plan will be put forward to the Australian Rugby League in November.

For the first time in a long time international rugby league seems to have some direction. Richard Lewis should be commended for the 10 year plan. The NRL and Super League have both had record crowds and sponsorship over the last few years. The game at club level has never been in better shape. It is now the time to put some effort into international rugby league and assist other nations outside the big three.

The plan to have a northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere 4 nations is a stroke of genius. The northern hemisphere 4 nations would see France enter back into top level rugby league with a bang. The establishment of the Catalans Dragons has assisted with the development of league in France. Entering in the 4 nations will be another step in French development. This will also assist with the development of the international game in general.

The southern hemisphere 4 nations will also be a great development tool for other pacific nations. In the year prior to the southern hemisphere 4 nations a Pacific Cup will be played. Nations like Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Cook Island and Papua New Guinea will play each other with the overall winner qualifying as the 4th nation in the top level 4 nations.

International rugby league now has the chance to bring some of the 2nd tier nations up to the next level. It will be a positive step when the likes of France and Papua New Guinea can compete against the likes of Australia, New Zealand and England. The recent Rugby World cup is a good example of how a team like Argentina performed well due to having being exposed to playing at the top level on a regular basis. All of a sudden the future of international rugby league looks bright.

Listed below is the planned 10 year schedule by Richard Lewis.

2008 Rugby League World Cup Down Under (confirmed)

2009 Four Nations Tournament including Australia, England, France and New Zealand to be held in the Northern Hemisphere. Also Pacific Cup tournament including Cook Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga.

2010 Four Nations Tournament including Australia, England, New Zealand and the Pacific Cup winners to be held in the Southern Hemisphere.

2011 Four Nations Tournament including Australia, England, France and New Zealand to be held in the Northern Hemisphere.

2012 Great Britain Lions tour Down Under.

2013 Rugby League World Cup in the UK.

2014 Four Nations Tournament including Australia, England, France and New Zealand to be held in the Northern Hemisphere. Also Pacific Cup tournament including Cook Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga.

2015 Four Nations Tournament including Australia, England, New Zealand and the Pacific Cup winners to be held in the Southern Hemisphere.

2016 Great Britain Lions tour Down Under.

2017 Rugby League World Cup in the Southern Hemisphere.               

Rich Cowley
Rich is a passionate International Rugby League fan. Seeing that there wasn't much of a platform for the developing rugby league nations at the time he kicked off Rugby League Planet in 2004. Since then Rugby League Planet has provided a voice and support for many developing rugby league nations from around the world.