Rugby league “needs” more international fixtures to grow

Sebastian Sternik
England face the Siva Tau of Samoa international rugby league PA

Rugby league needs to follow union’s example and build an international calendar in order to expand, according to Jason Robinson. 

The former Great Britain and England international hopes the ongoing World Cup will lead to more international fixtures in the sport.

The 48-year-old, who won the Rugby Union World Cup in 2003, spoke with Love Rugby League in association with Farah Menswear, the off-field clothing partner of the Jamaican national rugby league team.

“I’ve wanted to see more international rugby league for years,” said Robinson when asked about the current tournament.

“All of a sudden, I’m absolutely bombarded by it. There’s been some great games, starting off with England putting 60 points on Samoa which I never saw coming at all. 

“Loving the games – it’s nice to see some teams we’ve not seen before. Obviously Jamaica and Greece making their debuts. Just many different styles and excitement around rugby league at the moment.”

International calendar is what rugby league needs

Robinson also believes that building an international calendar is exactly what league needs in order to grow.

He said: “I think it’s massive, I think it’s one that has been overlooked for a long time. Quite often we’ve talked about expanding the game in rugby league and think that it’s going to come from London or a team in France. 

“For me, having played rugby union, and seeing how strong the rugby union game is at international level, I know that it’s key for rugby league to put on more international games, and put it on the calendar. 

“You know with rugby union every year, six nations for February and March, you know there’s a summer tour, you know there are the Autumn internationals in November. You know there will be at least 10 games in the year. 

“I think this is what rugby league needs. It needs fans to get behind the international game. I think this tournament, the Rugby League World Cup, is the boost the game needs. 

“Hopefully on the back of this, I heard that IMG are looking at the calendar and looking at putting more international fixtures on. I think that’s certainly what’s needed to grow the game.”

Internationals could boost league financially

Robinson believes an expanded international calendar can also boost commercial business.

He added: “Look at this tournament – 61 games live on the BBC. But also from sponsors. If it’s an international tournament, sponsors are more likely to put money into a sport when they know it’s going to get international exposure.”

Farah Menswear has been entwined with Jamaican culture since the 1970s and has continued that tradition, as the official off-field clothing partner for the Jamaican World Cup team.

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