Shane Richardson keen to boost international rugby league

Incoming NRL head of strategy Shane Richardson is keen to do his best to make international competition the pinnacle of world rugby leeague.

He wants to see greater integration of the sport’s calendars in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

He has also warned the RFL, however, that a reduction in domestic fixtures is required to properly support the international game.

“You can’t have the National Rugby League in Australia run separately from England,” said Richardson, who will leave his current post as South Sydney chief executive to take up his new role with the NRL on March 2.

“If you’re going to put rugby league on the world stage, you’ve always got to include what we’re doing in England and France.

“We’ve actually grown apart and we’ve never given international football the kudos it deserves – we will in the future.

“The biggest challenge we’ve got is that England still thinks you can play 40 games a season whereas we’re working with our players to reduce the number of games.

“We want quality, not quantity, but that’s not the case in the Northern Hemisphere, which is ridiculous.”

Richardson has been pleased by the way the expanded World Club Series competition has been received, however.

He also expressed admiration for the way in which the RFL continues to meet the challenges of expanding the sport to a wider base.

“No-one knew what it would be like,” he added.

“As it turns out, it looks like we’ve got sold-out stadia which says it’s a success.

“The thing I’ve got to admire about the English rugby league is that they’ve taken on all these challenges to try and expand the game without a lot of support.

“All the financial risks here are with the clubs who have taken it on. We’ve got to start taking risks, it’s as simple as that.

“We’ve got to have confidence in our great game that we can take it to another level.”

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