NOT SO long ago English rugby league clubs were nailed on to win the World Club Challenge.
No matter which side came across to represent the best of the Kangaroos they didn’t seem to have the heart for the battle.
Sadly the Gillette-sponsored competition is becoming a mirror image of the sport at World Cup level with the Aussies reigning supreme after Melbourne Storm gained revenge for their 2008 defeat at the hands of Leeds Rhinos.
A year on from their thrashing at the hands of Manly Sea Eagles, the Rhinos came out second best again, and with Australia having taken the Four Nations also at Elland Road last year, it’s turning into green and gold domination again.
After the unimpressive way Leeds have begun the new Super League season, perhaps a different English club will get a crack next time round.
Signs are this could be a very open competition with half a dozen clubs with the potential to be crowned Super League champions in the autumn.
I AM delighted to see that England’s Under 21 side is playing at Doncaster Rovers’ Keepmoat Stadium against Greece tonight, but why does our senior team have to play at Wembley whatever the occasion?
A few years ago when the new national stadium was under construction the England team had to go to Old Trafford or St. James’s Park or even the Stadium of Light, and taking the team around the country was a huge success.
England’s footballers belong to the country as a whole not just the capital and, while I can understand every British player wants to tread our most sacred turf, so do those who represent everyone from Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe.
You watch tonight. Egypt will play like men possessed, inspired by merely setting foot in one of the world’s great arenas.
I agree that every competitive match in European Championship or World Cup qualifying should be played at the national theatre of dreams, but not friendlies for heaven’s sake.
We are blessed with dozens of top class stadiums in this country – more than anywhere else in the world – and they should be utilised to show off our best players to the overall population.
Spain virtually never play in Madrid or Barcelona, ditto Italy in Rome, hence you’ll see international football in outposts like Elche, Valencia, Seville, Palermo, Bari or Naples.
Wouldn’t it be great to see England in Huddersfield or Hull, Sheffield or Southampton?
There’s no reason why not.