during the 2017 Rugby League World Cup Quarter Final match between Australia and Samoa at Darwin Stadium on November 17, 2017 in Darwin, Australia.

Aside from Tonga vs New Zealand (which will go down as one of the greatest international games of all time), the World Cup has been beyond underwhelming the moment a Tier 1 Nation has taken the field.

The current World Cup format is not an accurate representation of the international state of the game, but rather a farce that makes Australia, NZ and England look good.

The solution to this is simple. Scrap the World Cup completely and replace it with Four Nations every 2nd year. This would be the four top nations in the world, Australia, NZ, England and <insert last team here>.

But, in conjunction with this there will be a World Challenge with the rest of countries. Now before it’s raised, no, it isn’t condescending to the Tier 2 nations. It is a realistic perspective of how far Rugby League has developed in these Nations.

Lebanon and Italy know that they aren’t at a level to challenge Australia at the moment. At the moment the only context they’d have is “Australia beat us by 50+ last time but this time it was a modest 34 points.” This isn’t realistic or entertaining.

Why is this a good idea though? Firstly it wild reduce burnout, smaller tournaments mean less games that have to be played. Second it would provide realistic perspective in context to the current state of the game.

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The most exciting games of this tournament (aside from Tonga vs NZ) has been games like Scotland vs Samoa and Lebanon vs France. The fans were robbed of perhaps the most interesting matchups due to the “fair” pool splits. Imagine seeing PNG take on fellow livewires Fiji, Lebanon taking on Euro rivals Italy or Samoa and Ireland settling who deserved that finals spot.

Then there’s the final icing on the cake. The last placed team of the Four Nations (could be settled by 3rd vs 4th or points differential) take on the winner of the World Challenge with the Four Nations spot on the line for the next tournament


  1. Give yourself an uppercut…. Dumbest article I have read. This world cup has shown how far NZ league has fallen, now losing to two “second” tier nations. In addition, PNG has shown the importance their inclusion in the QLD cup has been in their ability to play with some style of structure (albeit the one game they were poor). Lebanon have been nothing short of impressive as well, sticking it to the Tongans for 80 minutes. England will be in trouble in the next few weeks, as a result of their inability to score points. Go write about something you know about.

    • Well said sir. This article is just trying to join the bandwagon of hating on international footy. I didn’t have high expectations of the World Cup coming in but I have been pleasantly surprised.

  2. “the World Cup has been beyond underwhelming the moment a Tier 1 Nation has taken the field.”

    I guess Lebanon, Fiji and of course Tonga have made these words look a little ridiculous in hindsight wouldn’t you agree Ben?

    I never got to understand what exactly “meh” stood for but then again I fell asleep shortly after reading your suggestion to “Scrap the World Cup completely and replace it with Four Nations every 2nd year”. I could think of better ways to grow the game internationally but not many better to cut it’s life support. So bravo there!

    The fact is the game has to grow or die. It’s that simple. Soccer is already well ahead in terms of development, attracting new audiences and already has international exposure as a gift that RL has to fight for. The LAST thing I think you should want to do is cut that lifeline.

    I guess that’s the problem with bold, sweeping, overly simplistic statements… when you get them wrong you end up falling flat on your ass! How embarrassing if Tonga and Fiji play in the World Cup final. Will YOU tell them that this was NOT suppose to happen? The beauty of sport Ben is it’s unpredictable nature and the fact that it DOESN’T go according to the script, or an article that fits neatly onto a typed up page.

    • Well I will admit I had to look it up…

      meh = uninspiring; unexceptional; expressing a lack of intetest or enthusiasm

      Well you taught me a new word Ben so thanks. It is ironic that it perfectly sums up this story. So again, bravo! πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

  3. Not to mention the world challenge tournament would automatically take a backseat to the Four Nations, meaning many NRL players would probably brush it. World Cup allows for all countries to be on the big stage & with more sides like Tonga & Fiji getting stronger each year, will convince & inspire more NRL players to defect to smaller nations

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