FortyOn the 13th day of every month 20
Editorial address PO Box 534, Keighley, West Yorkshire. BD21 9DH email: email@example.com General queries Tel: 0113 225 9797 Fax: 0113 225 2515 firstname.lastname@example.org Editor-at-large Tony Hannan email@example.com Managing editor Phil Caplan firstname.lastname@example.org Associate editor Professor Tony Collins
Circulation manager Mark Handley
Editorial policy Forty-20 magazine is committed to delivering the best rugby league writing by the best rugby league writers - old and new. As such, unsolicited contributions are more than welcome but, be warned, quality counts! Please email email@example.com in the first instance with your idea
Happy snappers Barney Allen, rlphotos.com, Action Photographics (Sydney), Getty Images, SWPix.com
Administration Executive Ros Caplan firstname.lastname@example.org
Advertising To request a rate card call 0113 225 9797 or email email@example.com Distribution COMAG, Tavistock Road, West Drayton, Middlesex. UB7 7QE firstname.lastname@example.org Subscriptions Postal and online subscriptions to Forty-20 are available, along with an iPad and iPhone app For details see page 47 email@example.com Printed by Acorn Web Offset Ltd, Loscoe Close, Normanton Industrial Estate, W Yorkshire. WF6 1TW. Tel: 01924 220633
All material copyright Forty-20. Views expressed are those of individual contributors.
, by ithin
Cover: The Devil W
Publisher Scratching Shed Publishing Ltd
Registered office: 47 Street Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire. LS8 1AP Registered in England & Wales
4 Forty-20 May 2012
Great to hear last month that former England international Ikram Butt is now an ambassador for the British Asian Trust.
As the founder of the British Asian Rugby Association [BARA], Ikram continues to work tirelessly to build community cohesion through sports development. The recognition comes as a result of his fundraising efforts on behalf of the Pakistan Recovery Fund which assists victims of the devastating floods there.
The Trust was founded in 2009 by a group of British Asian business leaders at the suggestion of HRH Prince Charles. So far, it has helped over 350,000 people to beat poverty in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, the UK and Sri Lanka.
The power of Forty-20. Last month’s feature on Milton Keynes Wolves not only saw more numbers at training but flushed out a sponsor for the new Eastern Division side.
The voting process for rugby league’s Wembley statue is bubbling along nicely. Forty-20’s own editorat-large El H’Annan has just got back from sitting on a media panel in Leeds that along with five other such groups made up of coaches and fans etc, was charged with attempting to whittle down a longlist of supporters’ votes into a single winning subject.
No word on the outcome yet, although the statue itself is expected to be officially unveiled at next year’s World Cup. Forty-20also hears on the grapevine that the sadly longneglected RL Hall of Fame is soon to make an overdue comeback.
Gone are the days when Mark Brooke-Cowden was the exception rather than the rule. When Hemel Stags met Huddersfield Underbank in
Off to the races: Jon Wilkin
“The voting process for rugby league’s Wembley statue is bubbling along...”
the opening round of Conference Three, four players had doublebarrelled surnames. Kelvin MooreRapana and Connor Boyd-Barnes for the Stags, Leon Alexis-Bailey and Jayden Covell-Wood for Rangers. No wonder they are taking more of an interest in rugby league at Eton.
An expansion story to warm the hardest traditionalist heart. National Coaches Development Manager Martin Crick is back from Jamaica where he oversaw the graduation of three first level coaches.
“Primary school children were playing in bare feet on dusty, stony patches of ground, high school pupils in similar circumstances,” he says. “College students trained on a patch of waste land no more than 20m x 10, and on another night played a match on a rock-hard pitch with tackles so ferocious it made you wince. The game in Jamaica is on the rise.”
This was emphasised when 27 coaches gave up their Easter weekend holiday to attend the JRL’s first ever Level 1 coaching course.
“The enthusiasm was overwhelming, their desire to learn inspiring, and at the conclusion of the course, when they received their certificates and each coach spoke of their ‘coaching philosophy in rugby league’ I felt very humble indeed. They spoke not only of the game, but of their desire to use rugby league to improve the lives of young people, to make a difference.”
Pudsey-sited independent school Fulneck – founded by Moravians – attracted visitors from across the Channel during the Easter holidays.
Sixty young players and coaches from the Villefranche Aveyron XIII club took advantage of the school's boarding house and sports facilities. As well as playing local opposition and visiting some of Yorkshire's many tourist attractions, the youngsters attended Leeds Rhinos' Super League clash with Catalan Dragons.
It can be difficult to think of new and innovative testimonial ideas but Jon Wilkin reckons he has come up with something.
He is starting his with a day at Haydock Races on 24 May, with the added incentive that anyone with a Super League season ticket gets in free at the Tattersalls entrance. Gates open at 12.20pm with the first geegee off at 2pm. Hospitality - and the chance to rub shoulders with the Saints squad - is available. For more details see www.jonwilkin.co.uk
Back to One
Warrington Wolves & Exiles
1. Super League’s 2009 Man of Steel Brett Hodgson, now with Warrington, below, was born in Liverpool, New South Wales
2. In 1906-07, English NU side Liverpool City lost every single game and were replaced the following season by Ebbw Vale and Merthyr Tydfil, right
3. Merthyr Tydfil is the birthplace of Bill Roberts,
the engineer who built and helped to design the Daleks
5. In the absence of a 2012 Four Nations, this year’s International Origin Series is designed to assist with England’s 2013 World Cup preparations
4. Cyborgs from the planet Skaro, the Daleks were among Cardiff-born DoctorWho writer Terry Nation’s creations
6. Brett Hodgson was last month named captain of the 2012 Exiles, ahead of the two-match series on June 16 and July 4 Personality of the month
Game, set and match ANDY WILSON assesses the impact on rugby league of out-going RFL Chairman Richard Lewis
So how will history judge Richard Lewis’s decade in charge of British rugby league? A safe pair of hands, I imagine, who in partnership with his right-hand man Nigel Wood steered it away from chaos, acrimony and potential ruin at the start of the noughties - to, er, something worryingly similar in 2012?
Certainly he leaves with the Super League enduring its flattest season in recent memory, which has to be blamed on the decision that was made roughly halfway through his tenure to expand from 12 to 14 teams, and to determine membership through licensing. With around half of the season gone, there has hardly been a memorable or meaningful match.
Perhaps the Catalans’ thrilling comeback at St Helens, which launched a month of misery for Royce Simmons. Bradford’s Good Friday win against Leeds was also a stirring occasion, although the circumstances behind that were nothing to be celebrated.
Six teams are half-heartedly jockeying for position in the playoffs; another three - Bradford, Hull and Hull KR - would seem to be scrambling for the remaining places in the top eight, although not with any realistic prospect of competing even if they do qualify; and the remaining five are already planning for 2013.
But one of the most impressive features of Lewis as a man has always been his willingness to stand by his convictions. Unless he’s changed considerably since I last spoke to him properly, he will have returned to his first sporting love of tennis convinced that licensing will eventually be acclaimed a trailblazing success, in rugby league and well beyond.
The same with the decision to mothball the Great Britain shirt at the end of the 2007 series against New Zealand, and for the national team to play as England. I remember interviewing Lewis at some length in his Red Hall office to mark his fifth anniversary in the job, shortly after that controversial decision had been announced. He was happy to take full responsibility for it, and categorically refuted my assumption that it was a pragmatic call to secure extra funding.
Whether you agree with him or not - and having grown up cheering GB teams wearing a blue and red V, I never have - this issue does highlight two areas in which Lewis has played the leading role in resetting the priorities of British rugby league for the better.
First, in engaging with the quangos that have become increasingly influential in all aspects of public life - Lewis’s RFL did this so effectively that they were awarded £29.4m from 2009, and that he was appointed the chairman of Sport England a few months later. That’s a significant amount of money, even though it has been trimmed in the last couple of years, and will hopefully bring dividends for the game nationally in the near future.
Second, in stressing the importance of international sport. Perhaps that had something to do with Lewis’s background in tennis, in which he enjoyed his best moments playing for his country (Great Britain, funnily enough) in the Davis Cup. Whatever the reason, a succession of national coaches, from David Waite through Brian Noble to Tony Smith and Steve McNamara, have appreciated his support, mostly in terms of financial resources, but also occasionally advice.
And here’s one other point that I’ve rarely heard anyone else mention - at the risk of sounding homoerotic about a man in his late 50s from Epsom, Lewis is a pretty impressive physical specimen, one of the reasons why he’s always been far more commanding one-on-one than when addressing a press conference or dinner in that frustratingly understated, underwhelming way.
Lewis’s legacy includes the 2013 World Cup, and plans for that to be the first on a new, regular four-yearly cycle; a European Federation, providing a framework for the enthusiasts who are starting to organise in various unlikely pockets of the northern hemisphere; but still no effective International Federation, although not for want of trying on his behalf.
In speaking off the record to a couple of Red Hall staff for this piece, there was a striking degree of loyalty to their departing leader. Many of the comments echo what Maurice Lindsay said on Lewis’s appointment in the spring of 2002 don’t underestimate the strength of character this apparently affable southerner has shown behind the scenes.
“He’s got an intellect, but he’s also a scrapper,” said Lindsay. “He will have a freshness coming from outside the game so he won’t be trapped by some of its traditions. But he has made it quite clear that he will still respect those traditions.”
I’d say that on balance Lewis has delivered on that.
Let’s be generous and say the jury is still out on licensing, and the renaming of the national team. But with his departure coinciding with some strong hints of turbulence, and various heavy-hitters at Super League clubs flexing their muscles, you’d hope that his successor can keep working along similar lines, ideally with a bit more pizzazz.
That might not be the most glowing tribute, but it seems suitably understated for a safe pair of hands from Surrey.
“That is what the Cup is all about and I hope that lives with Featherstone for many years to come. I thought they were outstanding...” -WigancoachShaun WanesingsRovers’ praisesafterwinning 32-16toreachthe quarter-finalsofthe ChallengeCup
“We’ve been out for seven years and we might as well have been out for 70. We’re miles behind in every aspect of the club,” - WidnesDirector ofRugbyPaul Cullenheapsmore doubtonthe efficacyofthe SuperLeague licensingsystem
“Testing my skills in the Aviva Premiership will be the ultimate challenge...” - Catalanforward SetaimataSa preparestoend threeyearsinthe NRLandSuper Leaguewithamove toLondonIrish
May 2012 Forty-20 5