By Brian Lowe, Date: 19/12/17
There has been a lot of discussion since the end of the Rugby League World Cup about the need for more international games.
The majority of folks associated with the sport are jazzed about it and some are busy hatching plans to build on the momentum created by #RLWC2017.
England and New Zealand were among the first to seize the opportunity to lock in a three-Test series in the United Kingdom in 2018, plus there has also been a lot of talk about revamping the Pacific Cup following the success of Tonga and Fiji after both made the World Cup semifinals.
Papua New Guinea’s impressive run has got the Kumuls into the mix of proposed scheduling of more Pacific nations internationals, while the eye-catching form of the Irish Wolfhounds has sparked renewed debate about establishing a genuine Four Nations style of competition for England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
>Along with all of that, there is also a sudden focus on the 2025 Rugby League World, which the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) has tentatively set down to be hosted jointly by the United States and Canada, and here is where things start to get kind of interesting.
In line with both building interest in RLWC2025 and scheduling more internationals, a proposal has reportedly been tabled for England and New Zealand to play a Test in the US in 2018.
It’s understood the proposal has come from Sydney-based sports event management company Moore Sports International (MSI).
They are the same guys who set up Major League Baseball’s season-opening series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks that was hosted in the harbor city in 2014.
MSI is also the driving force behind RLWC2025 being held in North America, as well as a plan for a professional rugby league competition to be started up in the US.
When the news first broke about the Brits and Kiwis potentially playing in the States it caused quite a buzz, particularly on social media.
The game would likely be played in Denver on the same weekend in June on which State of Origin is held in Australia and which the RLIF has penciled in for internationals.
Outgoing RLIF supremo Nigel Wood seems to support the idea, as does RFL rugby director Kevin Sinfield, but the plan has stalled mainly because of hesitation by Australia’s NRL clubs, which aren’t overly thrilled about the prospect of releasing players for the one-off game.
That has drawn criticism from far and wide with those in favor of the match going ahead saying there are no club games scheduled for that weekend anyway, so what’s the problem?
At this point, the game is not confirmed and exactly when it might be is unknown.
If it does go ahead though, will it be played in Denver? And if the answer to that question is yes, why the mile high city? Surely it would make sense to host it in a major hub that is easy to get to such as New York, Los Angeles or Chicago.
MSI president and CEO Jason Moore tells RugbyLeaguePlanet he is “not making any comments at the moment,” so guess we’ll have to wait and see whether Santa puts the game under the Christmas tree.