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SATURDAY 26TH MAY Castleford Tigers v Wakefield Wildcats 1pm Warrington Wolves v Widnes Vikings 4pm Hull FC v Hull KR 7pm
SUNDAY 27TH MAY Catalan Dragons v London Broncos 12pm Huddersfield Giants v Salford City Reds 2pm Bradford Bulls v Leeds Rhinos 4pm St Helens v Wigan Warriors 6pm
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Sport as it should be #forty20 @forty20magazine
April 2012 Volume 2 Issue 4
Taking the biscuit
Here at Forty-20magazine we are all passionate advocates of the 2013 Rugby League World Cup; you may well have noticed.
We so desperately want the tournament to succeed handsomely and capitalise on its place as part of the golden decade of sport, the next cab off the rank after the Olympics. For one thing, how else are we to counter the dismissive attitude of national newspaper sports editors?
On the whole, the drip feeding of announcements does seem to have generated wider local publicity, whether by accident or design. But having tickets on sale by now - or at the very least packages and prices ought surely to have been a priority.
And while we’re talking joinedup thinking, why no Midlands game to help bolster Northampton and Hemel as they come to the end of their first semi-professional season? Same with the Scottish development crew - who the RFL actually employ, lest we forget. Why no elite World Cup game north of the border?
At least last month we were due to learn all the venues from opening ceremony to final - except that, at the very last moment, we didn’t. A dual-announcement was planned at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium - site of a double-header opener as it turned out (seepage26) - and Old Trafford, in Manchester. But then, shortly beforehand, the OT date was switched to Leigh Sporting Village, for “positive” reasons unknown.
Fortunately, no Canary Wharf nearly typed Fleet Street - bigwigs were on their way north to interview Tournament Director Nigel Wood, who wasn’t there anyway having firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com made his apologies by email a full 90 minutes before the midday start.
That so few journalists were actually put out is a sad indictment of how low this sport rates on the national agenda. And for the hardy few who did bother to turn up: no welcome, no reason for the late cancellation; no explanation of the ‘interesting developments’ that had now delayed the naming of the semi and final venues. After a farcical carry on like that, do we have any right to complain when league is not taken seriously by the media giants?
Would it really have been too much trouble to roll out current World Cup holder Tommy Leuluai of the Wigan and Leigh parish, say, for quotes about how the Cup was going to stay in New Zealand?
What those at the Sporting Village got instead was local Tongan pair Lee Hansen and Tau’alupe Liku you might remember them from the ’95 World Cup - having been pulled out of work to pose for photos with the Wigan World Cup logo. Tonga are being hosted there you see.
There weren’t even any biscuits.
Anyway, no more moaning about national sports desks being out of touch with rugby league from us, for this issue at least. In any case, the evidence is to the contrary. Only last month, the digital TV equivalent of Ceefax featured Leeds Broncos and Barrow Rangers in the Challenge Cup.
Speaking of the Cup. its fourth round draw was staged at Wigan’s DW Stadium this year (seepage34). Upon our arrival we were greeted by a couple of RFL media men fresh from the evening’s first rehearsal. Among the phantom ties: a re-run of the 2011 final, Wigan v Leeds; Saints against Warrington; and a Hull derby.
Lucky escape afterwards too. Stepping into the lift with Oldham coach Tony Benson and Chairman Chris Hamilton, our editor-at-large, not having a memory for this sort of thing, casually enquired who they had got as he couldn’t remember.
“This lot,” said Mr Hamilton, indicating Barrow’s James Dandy and a blazered friend already waiting in there. Like his namesake Kofi of United Nations fame, our very own diplomat El H’Annan stepped smartly between the two factions to prevent any (groan) escalation of violence.
Hearty congratulations to former London Broncos Academy player Matt King, who will carry the Olympic Torch through Dunstable on July 9, one of 8,000 inspirational people to relay the Olympic Flame as it zigzags across the UK this summer. The Torch will also pass Headingley Carnegie Stadium on the afternoon of Sunday 24 June, when the Rhinos are at home to Castleford Tigers.
False start: Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones, RFL Chairman Richard Lewis and pupils of Pencoed Comprehensive start the Belong Ball rolling at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium 2013 World Cup announcement. Read more on page 26
Inside your next generation rugby league monthly
Bulls do it tough 20 Ross Heppenstall reports
5 Gareth Ellis
Andy Wilson’s monthly profile 7 Five Drives and a Kick 14 Triple-tag wrestling
Ambitions of Fev, Wakey & Cas 26 World Cup Wales
Back to the Millennium 28 Cumbria escape act
Paul Turner looks North West
13 The Reality Is...
Brian Noble talks big issues 19 Louie’s Lip
Messrs Brown and Simmons 35 Penelope Davidson 41 Richard Mathers
View from the Back 43 Christopher Irvine
25 Perth 30 Sydney 40 Peterlee
32 Match of the Month 34 The Challenge of TV
43 Place your bets 44 Wolves miscellania 45 Good Pub Guide
Dave Hadfield hits Liverpool 46 Parting Shot
Steve O’Connor meets Angela Powers
April 2012 Forty-20 3