Tuesday 24 October 2017 / 04:08 AM

LEAGUE PASSPORT: SUPRISE PACKETS DOMINATING ON WORLD STAGE

Are we seeing international rugby league history slowly starting to advance before our eyes?

Take these three pieces of news over the past two weeks as evidence the foundations are moving, in case you missed it.

Firstly, Fiji was crowned world champions after beating Australia in the Defence Forces World Cup final. Let’s consider this for a moment.

They defeated the Australians, the defending champions, with a thumping 44-12 win. Even more significantly, the Fijians were a late inclusion to the tournament – they only came in after Serbia dropped out.


The news was widely reported in the big Fijian newspapers: Fiji Times, Fiji Village and Fiji One TV. Along with the pre-World Cup games in Suva later in the year, Fiji rugby league continues to build on an excellent year.

Here’s some more news to make your correspondent smile. France reached a World Cup final, for the first time since 1968 – and won! The French hosted the Wheelchair World Cup and scored a late try to pip England 38-34 in the decider.

They defeated Italy in the semi-final – again, how good to see European sides featuring – with Spain and Wales also playing.

Australia grabbed a podium spot with a 58-45 win in the third and fourth play-off against the Italians.

Lastly, some Anglo-Australian cooperation.

NRL.com has confirmed that two Super League sides will play pre-season games in Sydney next year.

Wigan and Hull FC will play two games in Australia, including their Round 2 Super League game to be at WIN Stadium in Wollongong on Saturday 10th February.

The sides will also take on South Sydney and St George Illawarra respectively at ANZ Stadium in a double-header.

Before you say it sounds distinctly like the World Club Challenge, these are purely exhibition games, designed to give exposure to the Super League (always a positive step).

Fiji dancing, France triumphing, and Super League clubs coming to Australia. Now there’s some news to make any big-picture thinking rugby league fan smile.

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About the author

Andrew Marmont

Andrew is a freelance writer, producer and presenter. He writes for Big League, Rugby League World and Inside Sport. His book ‘Their Finest Hour: A History of the Rugby League World Cup in 10 Matches’ will be published in July 2017

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