News that Australia could boycott the end of season Four Nations pretty much sums up the state of international rugby league.
The continuing push to convince the world we have a global sport takes a new turn this year, when France join the relatively successful Tri Nations series, alongside England and New Zealand.
But owing to regulations banning alcohol sponsorship and advertising in France, Australia have revealed they may boycott their game against France. The Kangaross are of course backed with a brewer, VB.
Australia Rugby League chief executive Geoff Carr told Rugby League Week magazine: “I don’t know how this is going to be resolved. We have a contract with VB which we take very seriously and have every intention of honouring.”
It comes less than 12 months after the farcical World Cup format which resulted in the Aussies being humbled in their own back yard by New Zealand.
France were the worst team in the World Cup, yet find themselves pitted up against the three best teams in the world come the end of the season. Whipping boys? Who knows.
Earlier this year, a mid-term international schedule was brought up, finally looking like sorting the random and unpredictable nature of international matches in our sport.
2009 – Oct/Nov – Four-Nations series in the northern hemisphere featuring England, New Zealand, Australia and France.
– South Pacific Cup with the winner gaining entry into the 2010 Four Nations.
2010 – Oct/Nov – Four-Nations series in southern hemisphere featuring Australia, New Zealand, England and the winner of the 2009 South Pacific Cup.
– European nations to contest qualifying series to determine who will join the 2011 Four-Nations.
2011 – Oct/Nov Four Nations in northern hemisphere.
– South Pacific Cup (no guarantee of Four-Nations berth)
2012 – No major series to be contested.
2013 – World Cup to be staged (venue to be confirmed) and to begin a fixed, four-year cycle from that point.
It looks almost too good to be true. Maybe it is. We’ll have to wait and see.