2009 RUGBY LEAGUE FOUR-NATIONS OVERVIEW
Host Nation – England and France
Number of Teams – 4
Highest Crowd – 31,042 Leeds, England
Average Crowd – 16,484
Total Crowd – 116,089
2009 Four-Nations Snapshot – The 2009 Four-Nations series was a first for international rugby league. With the ongoing improvement of France, the successful Tri-Nations series had been expanded. The Four-Nations took take place in England and France in October / November.
Unlike the 2004 and 2005 Tri-Nations series that saw the games kick off in the southern hemisphere, Australia and New Zealand played in London with a World Cup Final re-match. The tournament was also a big step up for France as they tried to re-establish themselves as a league powerhouse and match it with the best three rugby league playing nations in the world. Each team played each other once in the pool rounds reducing the tournament duration from seven to four weeks. The format was much like the early World Cup competitions.
The performance of the French in the 2008 World Cup had raised some doubts over their automatic inclusion in the 2009 Four-Nations. France were well beaten by Fiji in the Pool stages of the World Cup and many argued that Fiji should be included instead. The RLIF showed faith in France by providing them with automatic inclusion.
France are the 2nd biggest league playing nation in Europe with local competitions dating back to 1934. The inclusion of the Catalans Dragons in Super league in 2006, Toulouse Olympic in the Co-Operative Championship in 2009 and the ongoing improvement of the Elite Competition made France the obvious choice this tournament.
The inaugural Four Nations didn’t disappoint with drama on and off the field keeping both spectators and journalists satisfied. France went through the tournament without a win but surprised many with their first half performances. Australia went through the tournaments as favorites but were lucky to draw with New Zealand in their opening game and stay in contention for the final. The current World Cup Champions New Zealand were left to think about what might of been after drawing with Australia and then getting beaten by England hence missing out on a final place. England on home soil proved critics wrong by knocking out the Kiwis to secure a place in the Four Nations Final at Leeds.
Australia and England contested the Four Nations Final. The game had everything from big hits to sensational backline brilliance. Just after half time 2 points separated the two teams with England scoring a try to take the lead 16 – 14. Up to this stage it was a classic test match and brought back memories of hard fought test series between the two nations. Then with 25 minutes to go the wheels fell off what is known as the England Rugby League team. Australia ran in 6 tries as England fell apart at the seams. England had promised so much and delivered for 55 minutes of the final. In the end the Australia backiline full of stars ripped the English defence to shreds leaving England with an embarrassing scoreline of 46 – 16 to deal with.
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2009 FOUR NATIONS SQUADS
Australia – Petero Civoniceva (Penrith), Cooper Cronk (Melbourne), Robbie Farah (Wests Tigers), Paul Gallen (Cronulla), Kurt Gidley (Newcastle), Ben Hannant (Bulldogs), Jarryd Hayne (Parramatta), Nathan Hindmarsh (Parramatta), Justin Hodges (Brisbane), Ryan Hoffman (Melbourne), Greg Inglis (Melbourne), Michael Jennings (Penrith), Darren Lockyer (Brisbane), Luke Lewis (Penrith), Josh Morris (Bulldogs), Brett Morris (St George Illawarra), David Shillington (Canberra), Billy Slater (Melbourne), Cameron Smith (Melbourne), Sam Thaiday (Brisbane), Johnathan Thurston (North Queensland), Trent Waterhouse (Penrith), Anthony Watmough (Manly), Brett White (Melbourne)
England – Chris Bridge (Warrington), Shaun Briscoe (Hull KR), Sam Burgess (Bradford), Garreth Carvell (Warrington), Eorl Crabtree (Huddersfield), Kyle Eastmond (St Helens), Gareth Ellis (Wests Tigers), Peter Fox (Hull KR), James Graham (St Helens), Ryan Hall (Leeds), Danny McGuire (Leeds), Scott Moore (Huddersfield), Adrian Morley (Warrington), Richard Myler (Salford), Sean O’Loughlin (Wigan), Jamie Peacock (Leeds, capt), James Roby (St Helens), Michael Shenton (Castleford), Kevin Sinfield (Leeds), Lee Smith (Leeds), Paul Sykes (Bradford), Sam Tomkins (Wigan), Ben Westwood (Warrington), Jon Wilkin (St Helens).
France – Jean-Philippe Baile (Catalans), Kane Bentley (Catalans), Thomas Bosc (Catalans), Remi Casty (Catalans), Vincent Dupor (Catalans)t, Olivier Elima (Catalans), Jamal Fakir (Catalans), David Ferrio (Catalans)l, Mathieu Griffi (Toulouse), Romain Gagliazzo (Carcassonne), Cyril Gossard (Catalans), Clint Greenshields (Catalans), Maxime Greseque (Pia), Casey McGuire (Catalans), Sebastien Martins (Catalans), Christophe Moly (Carcassonne), Dimitri Pelo (Catalans), Sebastien Raguin (Catalans), Teddy Saddaoui (Carcassonne), Cyril Stacu (Catalans)l, Julien Touxagas (Catalans), Frederic Vaccari (UTC), Constant Villegas (Toulouse)
New Zealand – Adam Blair (Melbourne), Greg Eastwood (Bulldogs), Nathan Fien (St George Illawarra), Kieran Foran (Manly), Bryson Goodwin (Bulldogs), Bronson Harrison (Canberra), Lance Hohaia (Warriors), Krisnan Inu (Parramatta), Thomas Leuluai (Wigan), Jeff Lima (Melbourne), Kevin Locke (Warriors), Issac Luke (South Sydney), Benji Marshall (Wests Tigers), Steve Matai (Manly), Ben Matulino (Warriors), Fuifui Moimoi (Parramatta), Jason Nightingale (St George Illawarra), Frank-Paul Nuuausala (Sydney Roosters), Sam Perrett (Sydney Roosters), Frank Pritchard (Penrith), Junior Sau (Newcastle), Iosia Soliola (Sydney Roosters), Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (Manly)
2009 FOUR-NATIONS POOL ROUNDS
Game 1: Oct 23rd England 34 – France 12, Location – Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster, England, Crowd – 11,529
Game 2: Oct 24th New Zealand 20 – Australia 20, Location – Twickenham Stoop, London, England, Crowd – 12,360 (Record rugby league crowd at Stoop)
Game 3: Oct 31st England 16 – Australia 26, Location – JJB Stadium, Wigan, England, Crowd – 23,122
Game 4: Oct 31st France 12 – New Zealand 62, Location – (Stade Ernest Wallon, Toulouse), France, Crowd – 12,412
Game 5: Nov 7th France 4 – Australia 42, Location – (Charlety Stadium, Paris), France, Crowd – 6,234
Game 6: Nov 7th England 20 – New Zealand 12, Location – Galpharm Stadium, Huddersfield, England, Crowd – 19,390
2009 Four-Nations Final
Nov 14th Australia 46 – England 16, Location – Elland Road, Leeds, England, Crowd – 31,042
2009 Four-Nations Champions: Australia