Ireland’s Rugby League World Cup campaign underway

Ireland’s emerging 13 man rugby team are in action today in Parramatta, NSW as they take on the team from Tonga. Ireland are in a tough group along with Samoa and will have to perform well above expectations to qualify for the later stages. In the last tournament in 2000 the Irish reached the quarter finals, losing to England in a tight game. After a pretty bruising 1st half, Tonga lead 12-10 – can Ireland stay in touch in the second half?
Update Tonga 22 Ireland 20. Ireland gallant in defeat against an ill disciplined but talented Tonga – if Ireland had capitalised on their penalty count advantage it could have been very different. Damien Blanch was Ireland’s man of the match with a hat-trick of tries. “The Green Machine’s” next game is against Samoa on November the 5th.

  • iluvni

    Did they play an anthem to ensure we all support the team’s efforts or did RLI insist upon using the Republic’s national anthem only?

  • Dec

    Did they play an anthem to ensure we all support the team’s efforts or did RLI insist upon using the Republic’s national anthem only?

    Is there any topic you won’t MOPE about, Iluvni?

    Given the strength of Tonga (14 NRL & 3 SL players in the 17) this was really a great, (though still disappointing), result.

  • Is there enough difference in the two codes to justify two different sports at this stage.
    I am only saying this here as I believe that it is unlikely that there are too many league officianados on here to grind me into the mud.

  • the future’s bright the future’s orange

    Both codes appear to be thriving. Generally, Union had broader appeal and is rolling out worldwide – shame the next world cup wasn’t in Japan. League is largely restricted to Oz, NZ and England but is big business in those countries. I believe france are joining the big guns in league next year.

    With regards the anthems, i believe the irish side are mostly english so GSTQ would be appropriate:
    http://www.thewest.com.au/default.aspx?MenuID=147&ContentID=102759

  • pat

    Don’t think there is a single player from the 06 in the squad.

  • George

    Iluvni,
    Did they play an anthem to ensure we all support the team’s efforts or did RLI insist upon using the Republic’s national anthem only?

    You didn’t hear us southerners whinging and moaning that our supporters would have to listen to God Save the Queen when it used to be the Great Britain and Ireland team did you?

    Somehow I doubt you were calling for Amhrán na bhFiann to be played back then. We most certainly weren’t.

  • Ross O’Carroll Kelly

    No need for a merger.

    Leave league in Neilstown where it belongs.

  • Dec

    I believe france are joining the big guns in league next year.

    Catalan Dragons are now in their 4th year in Super League and I believe the plan is to hand a license to Toulouse in 3 years time(though I’m sure the Rugby league would officially deny this).

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    “Did they play an anthem to ensure we all support the team’s efforts or did RLI insist upon using the Republic’s national anthem only?”

    An seperate NI British Rugby team would best solve this issue!

  • Rubgy league though a very physical game with a lot of front on tackling lacks some variety in its game plan.To me its a little monotonous and I consider the game stopped everytime a tackle is made.
    Rugby union for its faults has a lot of different stuff going on.Proper scrums,lineouts,rucks,mauls and restarts to name well probably most of these facets.
    I am a bit of a sports nut but have never been won over by league due to the lack of variety in play.

  • Republic of Connaught

    Most of the “Irish” rugby league team was born in England. It’s a joke to the nation. There should be a quota on how many non Irish born players represent the country in any intenational competition.

    I welcome a quota of English/Scottish lads of Irish descent like we seen under Jack Charlton. But the majority of these squads have to be Irish born or we simply shouldn’t compete in these tournaments if we haven’t enough players.

    Only 4 of the Ireland team was born in Ireland! 14 were born in England and 5 in Australia. Now that is a joke. If we haven’t got the numbers don’t compete. But let’s not have all Geordies and Jocks and Scousers playing for Ireland and no Ulsterman or Munsterman or Connaught man. (I can live without Dubs in our teams.)

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    “But the majority of these squads have to be Irish born or we simply shouldn’t compete in these tournaments if we haven’t enough players.”

    I agree!

    “Rugby union for its faults has a lot of different stuff going on. Proper scrums,lineouts,rucks,mauls and restarts to name well probably most of these facets.”

    I agree. Rugby Union is far more enjoyable than Rugby League! BTW, anyone watch the American Football on BBC2 last night. What an awful game as well!

  • Dec

    Rubgy league though a very physical game with a lot of front on tackling lacks some variety in its game plan.To me its a little monotonous and I consider the game stopped everytime a tackle is made.

    Sorry, that just displays a bit of ignorance about the game. What about goal-line drop-outs, 40/20s… It’s what happens after the tackle, at the play the ball, that determines a team’s fortunes. The lack of a competitive scrum seems to me to be an advantage over Rugby Union with the scrums now constantly collapsing.

    Only 4 of the Ireland team was born in Ireland! 14 were born in England and 5 in Australia. Now that is a joke. If we haven’t got the numbers don’t compete. But let’s not have all Geordies and Jocks and Scousers playing for Ireland and no Ulsterman or Munsterman or Connaught man. (I can live without Dubs in our teams.)

    The sport is in it’s infancy so it’s perfectly understandable that the diaspora is used in order to increase the game’s popularity. It’s an improvement on the last world cup where only one Irish-born player was selected – Ryan Sheridan (and he was brought up in England). Btw both Pat Richards’ parents are from Dublin and he holds an irish passport – to me that’s Irish.

  • Stewie Griffin

    300% increase on the numbers of players born on the island of Ireland since last time.

  • iluvni

    George,
    There was no Amhrán na bhFiann played at Windsor in 2000 when Ireland played Samoa in the world cup. Nor, as far as my memory takes me back, was it played in 1997 against the USA.
    Are we, as with Union, supposed to pretend that all is ok to have a team claiming it represetns us all using only the anthem of one of the nations on the island?
    (though no-one has answered my original question with a yes or a no yet!)

  • Homer

    Why don’t you all try watching it, and give it a chance?

    RU, by comparison, is a turgid affair in my opinion, but I have actually watched it so that I can form an opinion. The incessant whistling from the referee makes me feel as though I am suffering from some sort of game induced tinnitus.

    Oh, and it’s a bit rich to be taking the piss out of eligibility when you lot so famously embraced Tony Cascarino into your soccer loving hearts.

    Watch it, you never know, you may come to like it.

  • (though no-one has answered my original question with a yes or a no yet!)

    Iluvni,

    Yes, it the Republic’s anthem played before the game. And you better just shut up asking George such impertinent questions- it’s his team, his anthem, got it ?!!

  • pith

    Blinding,

    Agree entirely about the monotony of league. It seems to be one of those sports one needs to grow up with to appreciate fully. Still, it has its appeal even to the outsider.

    Iluvni,

    The way the Irish rugby league team starts a game is class an’ flippin’ cracker soitis. First they all sing the Green Grassy Slopes of the Boyne, then they burn a tricolour and then they all pull their shirts over their heads to reveal “F Celtic” t-shirts underneath. After that they play a game but that’s just an add-on. Ok for you?

  • RepublicanStones

    Iluvni…why shouldn’t Amhrán na bhFiann be played at Irish Rugby matches? After all its the internationally recognised anthem of the majority of the country, apart from the occupied portion. So therefore the majority should be appeased…isn’t that what the unionists say about the north? No tricolours over city halls, no 1798 tourist treks etc etc etc? If you wan’t GSTQ played, lets drop the majority rules bullshit in the northern statelet too. I’ll meet you at the flag pole tomorrow yeah?

  • pith

    Iluvni,

    Depressingly having read RepublicanStones’ latest comment, I am beginning to see where you come from.

  • Slug it out

    Iluvni

    The answer is yes, they did sing the anthem of the Republic and they also flew the tricolour as the teams were being presented. This is a definite departure from previous occasions and from the qualifying campaign when they wore shirts with the four provinces flag on and used “Ireland’s Call”. A few years ago they used their own association flag with their own logo on, if I remember correctly.

    Quite a few people have been raising their concerns about the RLI abandoning their previous inclusiveness ever since the official RLWC08 website appeared with the Ireland page showing the tricolour. Similarly, when the samples of the official merchandise were released by Classic, the inappropriateness of the tricolour for an all-Ireland team was pointed out. It was assumed that these were innocent mistakes made by Australian RL administrators unaware of the situation – they are not used to hosting Irish sides – although promises to “look into it” never amounted to anything.

    Why has this happened? No one outside the RLI and they won’t answer the question. Looking at the press releases, however, it seems as though it may have been the team management, and possibly coach Andy Kelly in particular, who made the decision.

    “As a player, I would miss out,” said Kelly, whose Irish heritage is based on great grandparents who came from County Mayo.

    “I don’t want to sound plastic Irish but I do have an affinity with Ireland. I have bought into the culture – I listen to a lot of music and there is always something Irish kicking about the house – and it does influence the way I think.”

    Also at a team meeting “Andy gave us all a lecture on our heritage and who the Celts were and what they did, how they fought and what it was like to be a part of a tribe like that. We are a tribe after that talk last night. Andy, Mike and the rest of the management had organised a ceremony to present us with something to bond us, to identify us and to remind us of what we are here to do. Andy gave the captain Grixie his medal which is an Irish wild boar, an animal that is very strong, a good runner, elusive, intelligent and one which will defend his family to the end.”

    So, and this is pure speculation, it’s possible that it is a case of an English coach with distant Irish heritage trying to be more Irish than the Irish (but having a very fixed idea of what Irishness is and without understanding the offence that could be caused). Whatever the reason it would seem to be inappropriate for the RLI to continue to be the development body overseeing the introduction of the game into Northern Ireland. Not that there has been much development in NI in recent years.

  • pith

    The Celts were a tribe? Shit? What does that make the Romans? A posse?

  • Donnacha

    Brilliant result, given that Ireland wasn’t expected to put up any kind of fight at all. Bookies here were giving huge odds for them to get a point. And I can understand people not really finding league a great game – but try watching the NRL instead of the grindingly dull Spuer League and you’ll see a helluva difference.

  • Dewi

    So you are useless at cricket and Rugby League….and there has been no thread on that daft international Australian thing u just won – strange !

  • George

    Iluvni,
    “using only the anthem of one of the nations on the island?”

    you seem to be addressing a different issue than the one I raised, especially bringing up nations no less.

    I merely said there were no sleepness nights down south (or north for that matter) during all those years when Great Britain and Ireland lined out to the British anthem of God Save the Queen and presumed to say that this reality never bothered you either.

    Anyway, rather than heading down the worn path of the anthem debate, because it has been done to death, I think it’s more interesting to speculate as to why this has happened.

    If I was to guess, I would say it has absolutely nothing to do with political views.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that it something much more mundane like someone has made a call that to best market Rugby League in Ireland then it would be better to use the Irish flag and play the Irish national anthem.

    You may disagree with that but I fear the harsh reality is that just as rugby union’s financial heart in Ireland beats in Dublin, league probably sees its best earnings lie south of the border.

  • RLWC Ireland

    I was at the match in Parramatta, and although I follow a bit of Rugby League in Australia, I don’t go out of my way to watch to many matches. However, last night was a great, one the best Ireland matches I’ve been to see – in any sport.

    All the players seemed really proud to represent their country (or that of their parents/grandparents) – they responded to the crowd throughout the game and got a standing ovation at the end. Can’t wait until the Samoa game next Wednesday.

  • iluvni

    Perhaps George, but as someone who has followed rugby league for years and who convinced my NI-born Aussie cousin to represent Ireland in 1995, I am a little pissed off that RLI (just like IRFU) has decided that Ireland’s symbols, flags and anthems must now only reflect the Ireland of Nationalists and Republicans.
    They’ve taken the team from me.
    I’ll not be cheering Samoa, but I’ll be indifferent now as to whether Ireland win, loses or draws.
    Impressive development work there from RLI.

    Hope for an England v Australia final at Brisbane though. Great crack at the tri-nations match there 2 years ago.

  • RepublicanStones

    Didn’t see ya at the flag pole iluvni !!!!!

    It was bloody freezing too.

  • iluvni
    It is very difficult to get a song that please everyone.Danny boy maybe but a bit masculine for these times.

    I would rather sing GSTQ than Irelands call.
    Phil Coulter should have been locked up for that dirge.

  • Mike

    George

    —————
    I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that it something much more mundane like someone has made a call that to best market Rugby League in Ireland then it would be better to use the Irish flag and play the Irish national anthem.

    You may disagree with that but I fear the harsh reality is that just as rugby union’s financial heart in Ireland beats in Dublin, league probably sees its best earnings lie south of the border.
    ——————-

    Looks to me like just another example of how all-Ireland teams, in any sport where there is significant support, are in practice completely incompatible with fairness and equal treatment.

  • George

    Mike,
    I’m not making a value judgement here but I wonder if this is just one of the unforeseen side-effects of the GFA with this agreement over being British, Irish or both.

    The Republic’s teams are now seen by more and more people as representing the Irish nation rather than the Irish state.

    Because of the GFA, the jurisdictional claim in the Constitution over the whole island has been removed by one claiming to represent an Irish nation which anyone on the island of Ireland is free to be a member of.

    This could be creating the inadvertent consequence that there is absolutely no requirement to accommodate members of the British nation in NI anymore as they, as is their right under the GFA, consider themselves part of the British nation.

    As I said, I’m not saying whether this is justified or not, just that something certainly seems to have changed in recent years. It could be economics, it could be the zeitgeist, I don’t know.