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July 2021 n Volume 11 Issue 7

n What better ways to celebrate a 10th birthday issue than with a great day out at Wembley, World Cup confirmation and big crowds.

To have reached ten years of residence at Forty20 Towers i s something of which we are hugely proud. A massive thank you to our loyal readers, commercial partners (Betfred particularly), Acorn printers and, of course, our exceptional contributors and columnists.

It’s just so heartening to know that the desire to preserve the printed word is shared by so many – here’s to the next ten. Cheers!

n York, Featherstone, Castleford and St Helens – thank you for such a memorable cup final day at our redeemed national stadium. It was a massive fillip for the sport in the UK and so desperately needed.

Indicative too of incredible sacrifices the players, especially, have made to keep league going. Not only did it gather magnificent newspaper coverage, it led the ITN evening news, BBC TV headlines and trended on Twitter.

In stifling heat, the courage and skill on show was an enormous credit to the players and the sport. It’s why they deserve better.

Similarly, the leadership of those in charge of RLWC2021, Jon Dutton and IRL chair Troy Grant in particular, is an indication of selfconfidence and calculated risktaking so lacking in other areas.

They may well be trying to force the hand of those who don’t yet want to give formal backing, understandably perhaps given the lockdown situation in their own country, but they are dictating the situation, not allowing it to drift.

It was so refreshing in the aftermath to hear likely Kangaroos captain James Tedesco come out publicly and say he wants to play for Australia and really hopes the tournament goes ahead.

Sadly, those such as Souths CEO Blake Solly and Warriors head

Global confirmation: RLWC2021 chief Jon Dutton and Prime Minister Boris Johnson lift the Rugby League World Cup, joined by Jodie Cunningham, Jason Robinson, Chris Brindley and James Simpson at Downing Street

In at number ten n n coach Nathan Brown – who both have experience of the sport here and what a World Cup would mean for it – have been briefing against.

With friends like those, eh?

n Similarly bullish statements came from the French Federation about staging an even bigger, four tournament 2025 World Cup at the home of the competition’s birth.

President Luc Lacoste followed up the announcement by noting: “Everyone is behind us. Already messages are pouring in from the southern hemisphere, Asia, Africa, the UK and Middle East.”

Read all about it on page 7.

n Contrast that with the inertia behind governance here. This issue will look at a growing groundswell for change, something columnist Brian Noble has been at the vanguard of for over 18 months.

Sadly, instead of a recovery plan and some necessary decision making - the case for which has been outlined now by Shane Richardson, as he tries to get the NRL to invest in Super League, and

Speaker of the House, Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP – Super League’s board had spoken about ‘realignment’ with the governing body they chose to break away from for a second time without success, as opposed to a new and clear vision.

And there is growing dissent from players and coaches about the schedule, and chief executives about the disciplinary process. The game feels to be unravelling.

As Wakefield head coach Chris Chester puts it: “The game is in a mess, I really fear for [it] ... there is a distinct lack of leadership.”

Similarly, his club and Catalans issuing statements of displeasure in public is hardly edifying, especially when Trinity’s blog was clearly not edited. What kind of a look is that for a professional organisation?


Magic of the Cup 31 Our 24-page souvenir supplement

Jake’s progress 5 Trevor Baxter’s monthly profile Five Drives & A Kick 7 France targets RLWC2025 and Jason Robinson’s Jamaica buzz The Reality Is... 13 Brian Noble welcomes the Shane Richardson blueprint for change Louie the Lip 15 LMS on his Wembley experience Super League future 16 Phil Caplan on top-flight reality Latham’s Loft 22 The first ten years of the NU


Wilkin’s Wisdom 25 Jon Wilkin’s monthly column Irvine’s Indigestion 26 Forty2010th anniversary special Stand Up for League 27 Ian Boldsworth on the grapevine World Cup latest 60 Lebanon coach Michael Cheika Café des Treizistes 62 France crowns 2021 champions Priim and Proper 64 England meet challenge of Wales

Championship Chat 66 All the fun of the 1895 Cup final No Helmets Required 68 Gavin Willacy goes to Devon Footy20 70 Alarm at blow-out scorelines Isle of activity 74 Ireland development takes off Guide to RL London 77 Mick O’Hare brings his tour bus A Question of Telly 81 Richard Shaw-Wright tunes in Any Other Business 82 Martin Kelner closes the party

World Cup wobble 55 England slip to narrow defeat

July 20213Forty2043

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