Scrap the Cap would be a better move for Super League

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Look through the sports pages of any major newspaper, and chances are that if you see a Rugby story, it’s Rugby Union. The fifteen man code is strong the world over. In France and Wales it can spell greatness for those of humble beginnings; in Australia and New Zealand it’s part of the national psyche. Even in the United States, home of American Football, Rugby Union enjoys a strong following.

Major competitions such as the Heinkeken Cup and the Six Nations ensure that the game retains a prominence the world over. The only exception to that is Northern England, the spiritual home of the other Rugby code, the one played by thirteen men a side. Rugby League.

Here League, which was born when amateur players turned professional in order to keep playing the game back in the 19th century, can be tasted in the air, so thick is its presence in towns like Wigan. Players are born and raised through children’s teams such as St Patrick’s or St Jude’s, to become the stars of the next generation, and sometimes the whole line-up of a Superleague winning side can claim local roots. Fierce rivalries extend back through those same generations, yet all that passion about the game never spills over beyond the pitch. There is no violence between fans of rival clubs, unlike in Football, and often fans from different sides can be seen sitting together.

jason robinson

For all that apparent strength though, Rugby League has never come close to dislodging its rival code. Even when Wigan Warriors were at the height of their success in the 1990s, beating Brisbane Broncos in 1994 to win the World Club Challenge and triumphing over the elite Rugby Union sides to claim the Middlesex Sevens two years later, League never found itself anywhere near the top tier of professional rugby. Not even the obvious deficiencies of the Union sides, which simply couldn’t keep pace with Wigan (who trounced Bath 82-6 in a League game, and lost by a far smaller margin, 44-19 in the Union match that had preceded it) could propel League to the global prominence it deserves.

Instead Rugby League is like a submarine. It surfaces now and then in terms of its popularity. Attracting the interest of the big newspapers and the public at large whenever there is a big game on, such as the Grand Final or Challenge Cup Final. This year it will do so again when the cream of Australia’s National Rugby League match wits and skill against their English counterparts. St Helens, long Wigan’s great rivals and occasional bete noire, as Wigan have been for them, will play Sydney Roosters. Superleague champions Leeds Rhinos will face North Queensland Cowboys while Wigan themselves will renew their old links to Brisbane Broncos when the two teams meet again on the 20th of February.

While this might not lead to a greater prominence for the game, it will add some much needed spectacle and glamour to the game, and with any luck, reverse the decision on the salary cap. This has been one of the most detrimental aspects of Superleague, ensuring that the best players such as Sam Tompkins or Chris Ashton either decamp to Australia or switch codes entirely to the far more lucrative Rugby Union.

Scrapping the salary cap, which ensures League players can never earn the same as their Union counterparts would be a far better idea for increasing the game’s popularity and prominence, than either bringing the Australians over for a few games, or holding the Challenge Cup final in London. Even providing the capital with its own team, the London Broncos, never did much for the game south of Hull.

c9f1fc53840848e07af80934d8230f4d?s=117&d=mm&r=g
Gareth Wood
I'm a writer and photographer looking for new opportunities. I've written for a range of publications including Planet Ivy and Screen Robot. As a photographer I'm working on what might be my first commission.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Muhammad Ali: 15 Career Defining Rounds

Muhammad Ali fought 548 Professional Rounds against 50 different men across a span of 61 fights, 13 countries, four continents and 21 years. 27 of Muhammad’s fights were scheduled for the 15 round Championship distance, so in this blog I will cover the 15 defining rounds of The Greatest’s career. Muhammad Ali and Joe Louis are the only fighters in history to win The Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year on more than three occasions,...

Sports as We Know It May Never Look the Same Again

This lockdown has given us so many of the bad things we never really thought we'd see: widespread job loss, rampant hospitalization and deaths, and the major, sticking-out-like-a-sore-thumb kind of problems in society. But, if there's something that everyone felt, it's the loss of sports. Many people said that sports is only important to sports fans, but it's becoming more evident that the purpose of sports isn't just exclusively athletic. Now, it seems like...

MLB: End Of Season Award Show 2 Cy Youngs, 2 Rookie of the Years and More!

The 2020 MLB regular season has come to an end, and with it comes playoff brackets, predictions, debates and discussions. However, we are going to save playoff predictions for another article. In this article we are going to talk about End of Season awards. Wo deserves the Cy Young awards?, Rookie of the Year? Most Valuable Player??? All of these questions and more will be answered. These are my opinions after watching the games,...

When It Comes To Israel Adesanya – Believe The Hype

If you've ever had the privilege of watching Israel Adesanya fight, you know that he is the perfect example of handcrafted precision. In his most recent fight, so many people felt this would be the fight that would finally DE-thrown the champ.  They felt Paulo Costa had the advantage because of his size, his strength and his overall power. If you've seen Costa, you know he's like a modern day Hercules. Costa's punches are explosive and...

2020 NBA Finals: A Champion Will Be Crowned

The stage is set. After a few short months that involved an eight game restart season and a very unique postseason,  the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat will face each other for the first time in the NBA Finals. There are a lot of storylines that will unfold during the duration of the Finals, but the main storyline will have to be LeBron James facing the team that helped him win two championships....

Memorable Test Match Innings: Kevin Pietersen at the Oval 15 years on

“I saw this innings via a social distancing gap between myself and the television. To truly have the visceral thrill of Pietersen’s 158, you needed to be at The Oval on 12 September 2005.” “Just because I've got a stupid haircut or diamond earrings, it's not going to make me cover drive a ball any differently.” Kevin Pietersen arrived on the international scene in full technicolour. In early 2005, KP entered the lion’s den of his...

Tewatia plays blinder as Rajasthan chase historic total to beat KXIP

Rahul Tewatia hit 5 sixes in an over as Rajasthan Royals chased down the highest score in Indian Premier League history to beat Kings XI Punjab by four wickets on Sunday. Tewatia hit Sheldon Cottrell for five sixes in the 18th over and added another six of the next ball he faced as Rajasthan chased down 224. Jofra Archer hit 13 from 3 balls to see the side home. Rajasthan beat their own record – they...

NRL Finals Loom as Regular Season Concludes

The first fixtures of the National Rugby League's finals series are locked in after the final round of the regular season came to an end today. The Competitors While Penrith Panthers had already secured the minor premiership and the top eight were determined two rounds ago, some key positions were still open and the race for those positions made for some entertaining footy. The Newcastle Knights failed to hold sixth place, going down on Friday to a...

Russian GP – Race Preview

Russian Grand Prix can be a boring race so let's hope this race gets off to a great start. The only memory I have of the Russian GP is Valtteri Bottas letting Lewis Hamilton win. Last race at Mugello was an exciting race. With two red flags and one horrible crash. And Ferrari 1000 celebration wasn't the best either, but that might be because of the strict rules now during COVID 19. So I am happy...

Benny Leonard: Always A Champion

If you sat down with a group of boxing fans under the age of say, 50, and began to talk about whether Benny Leonard really is a Top-10 all-time fighter, you'd probably have a cacophony of voices barking at you about how great "Sugar" Ray really was. Tell them you were talking about Benny Leonard though, and you might hear a lot of "Who's that?" from the same group. But Benny Leonard most definitely belongs...

Social Connect

1,185FansLike
3,754FollowersFollow

Trending Now

AFL Finals Locked In

This weekend's results conclude the heavily disrupted Australian Football League regular season, turning attention towards the Finals series in October. Across 18 rounds spanning six...
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x