Like it or loathe it, the Rugby World Cup begins on Friday, but does it present an opportunity for rugby league?
Super League General Manager Blake Solly was diplomatic when asked of his opinion of the hyped-up tournament, which of course will star cross-code England star Sam Burgess.
There will no doubt be examples of irate leaguies bemoaning the coverage and attention that the Rugby (Union) World Cup gets, particularly compared to our own tournament two years ago, but that’s no accident.
So can rugby league – which of course we’re going to say is more entertaining than union – benefit from the 15-man event?
As a league convert, the presence of Burgess will draw attention to the 13-man code, as will Sonny Bill Williams, while England’s triumph of 12 years ago was of course partly down to former Wigan flyer Jason Robinson. There are a number of other union stars that have also switched from league and for more information on those players, as well as other World Cup and union news, visit Bookies.com.
There is hope that the buzz around Burgess might prompt a greater look at players in the 13-man game, but the hype around rugby generally may help rugby league sell out one its biggest attractions, the Super League Grand Final as well as the end of the Super 8s and the semi-finals.
Already, union toffs are complaining in the press that we dare schedule our big day at Old Trafford on the same day that England and Uruguay play across the city at the Etihad Stadium, no doubt bitter that the greatest club ground in the country has snubbed union to remain loyal to hosting league’s big day.
Stuart Lancaster’s men have been tipped by some for success this autumn but Bookies.com believe that England are simply not good enough to win the Webb Ellis Cup.
The Rugby World Cup, whether we like it or not, is set to have an impact on England in general, particularly if the host nation perform well at the event. While Lancaster’s men will draw a decent crowd, Super League’s biggest clubs will be vying for their places at Old Trafford, and so those games may attract some casual fans.