澳大利亞取得勝利,並採取了 "特別措施"--但橄欖球聯盟的下一步是什麼?

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澳大利亞取得勝利,並採取了 "特別措施"--但橄欖球聯盟的下一步是什麼?

最後更新於.從橄欖球聯盟部分

澳大利亞在男子決賽中以30-10戰勝薩摩亞,拉開了橄欖球世界盃的帷幕--這項賽事歷時六年。

幾項上座率記錄也被打破--在為期五周的時間裡,共售出近50萬張門票。

巴西、希臘和牙買加等新國家帶來了良好的感覺和記憶,使小組賽階段的一些一邊倒的結果黯然失色,然後才是激烈的競爭、高質量和充滿戲劇性的後期階段。

除了積極的一面,也有需要學習的教訓。

一個更光滑和更靈活的票務操作可能會被證明對下一屆世界盃的成功至關重要--2025年在法國--並且這次會幫助進一步傳播比賽的福音。

而2023年及以後的國際計劃的缺乏--在為期五周的橄欖球聯盟節之後--給一項似乎在實現其全球潛力方面蹣跚而非加速的運動帶來了不確定性的感覺。

現在去哪裡?

英格蘭隊計劃在明年4月與法國隊進行男女雙打比賽,但目前還沒有其他國際比賽可供期待。

國際管理機構已承諾在12月發布一項比賽的10年計劃,但由於澳大利亞的內部爭論,2022年的比賽公告已經被推遲並重新安排了兩次。

據報道,包括澳大利亞和新西蘭在內的南半球杯賽已接近達成協議,其中一個太平洋島國也可以選擇在北半球進行比賽。

當被問及是否需要解決這些問題時,澳大利亞男隊教練馬爾-梅寧加說。"絕對的。作為世界盃冠軍的教練,我現在可以這麼說。

"就像我多次說過的那樣,特別是在過去的幾天裡:'從現在開始到哪裡?我們需要一個時間表來努力。

"整個比賽都很出色。這是一個很好的表演賽,它顯示了國際比賽的發展方向,薩摩亞在其中。

"我期待着我們的決策者決定國際比賽的走向。"

袋鼠隊--這項運動中最成功的國際隊--在抵達英格蘭之前,已經有近三年的時間沒有進行過測試。

前英格蘭隊隊長傑米-皮考克在接受BBC採訪時說。"我們一直都在說這個,不是嗎?我們一直都在說這個。國際橄欖球需要整理自己"。

薩摩亞隊長小保羅說。"我不知道我們如何找到一種方法,但我們需要找到一種方法,為國際橄欖球聯賽向前發展阻斷比賽。"

雖然早期階段的一些痛擊並不漂亮,但一些慶祝活動將長期存在於人們的記憶中--特別是在Siteni Taukamo為被英格蘭隊擊潰的希臘隊滑倒後,以及在Dallin Watene-Zelezniak為牙買加隊對新西蘭隊的歷史性得分後。

薩摩亞和湯加的傳統賽前戰舞也將如此--這些令人嘆為觀止的時刻,單單是門票就值得了。

一旦比賽開始,薩摩亞也會吸引眼球--成為第一個進入決賽的二級國家,以戲劇性的金點擊敗了在揭幕戰中以60-6大勝的英格蘭隊。

巨大的老特拉福德球場觀眾的支持--以及對斯蒂芬-克萊頓最後的安慰性嘗試的喜悅--說明了自己的故事。

"這太棒了,"保羅說。"我們在對陣英格蘭隊的比賽中處於另一端,他們發出了噓聲,這表明橄欖球聯賽是多麼好。

"看到孩子們慶祝那個嘗試,儘管我們在記分牌上的位置,對我們來說意味着一切,我們為這支球隊感到多麼自豪。"

英格蘭隊在女子比賽中的半決賽出局,不可避免地推動了職業化的案例,如果他們要與兩個強國--新西蘭和世界冠軍澳大利亞競爭,他們的球員幾乎都是全職的NRLW。

但所展示的產品的質量也強調了過去十年的巨大進步--英格蘭和巴西之間的A組揭幕戰創造了新的北半球女子橄欖球比賽的上座率記錄。

在決賽中,Jillaroos隊的表現令人眼花繚亂,技巧嫻熟,Meninga是眾多觀眾中的佼佼者。

"他說:"這是女子橄欖球聯賽的一次偉大崛起。

"他們已經邁出了非凡的步伐,這是很好的見證。

"我希望橄欖球聯盟的比賽能夠繁榮。我們都是平等和包容的--這就是我們的比賽所帶來的。"

這一點在輪椅比賽中是最明顯的,它把這項運動帶給了許多新的人。

"澳大利亞記者Steve Mascord在5日的橄欖球世界盃直播中說:"我認為我們已經看到了一種新的流行文化現象的誕生。

正如橄欖球世界盃首席執行官喬恩-達頓在決賽前夕所說。"我們已經有了這項運動所沒有的新觀眾。

"例如,他們已經被輪椅橄欖球的精彩消費所吸引,而在女子比賽中所發生的一切是變革性的。

"不同的人將有不同的看法,但對我們來說,這個結構已經取得了巨大的成功。"


Last updated on .From the section Rugby League

Australia's 30-10 victory over Samoa in the men's final brought the curtain down on the Rugby League World Cup - a tournament six years in the making.

Several attendance records were also broken - with nearly 500,000 tickets sold over the course of a five-week period.

New nations such as Brazil,Greece and Jamaica delivered a feelgood factor and memories to eclipse some of the lopsided outcomes in the group stages, before the intense rivalries, high quality and drama-filled later stages.

Alongside the positives, there were lessons to be learned too.

A slicker and more agile ticketing operation is likely to prove vital to the success of the next World Cup - in France in 2025 - and would have helped spread the gospel of the game even further this time around.

And the lack of an international programme for 2023 and beyond - coming off a five-week festival of rugby league - purveys a feeling of uncertainty for a sport that appears to trundle rather than accelerate towards realising its global potential.

'Where to from now?'

England have a men's and women's double header against France scheduled for April next year, but as it stands there are no other international matches to look forward to.

The international governing body has pledged to release a 10-year plan for the game in December, but fixture announcements have already been delayed and rescheduled twice in 2022 amid internal wrangling in Australia.

A southern hemisphere cup competition including Australia and New Zealand is reportedly close to being agreed, with one of the Pacific Island nations also given an option to tour the northern hemisphere.

When asked about need for the issues to be resolved, Australia men's coach Mal Meninga said: "Absolutely. I'm in a position where I can say that as coach of the World Cup winners.

"Like I've said many times, particularly in the last few days: 'Where to from now?' We need a schedule to work towards.

"The whole tournament was excellent. It was a good showpiece, and it shows where the international game is going with Samoa in there.

"I am looking forward to our decision-makers deciding where the international game goes to."

The Kangaroos - the sport's most successful international side - had been without a Test fixture for almost three years prior to their arrival in England.

Speaking on the BBC, former England captain Jamie Peacock said: "We've been saying this forever, haven't we? We say this all the time. International rugby needs to sort itself out."

Samoa captain Junior Paulo said: "I don't know how we find a way but we need to find a way to block games out for international rugby league moving forward."

While some of the thrashings doled out in the early stages were not pretty, some the celebrations will live long in the memory - in particular those after Siteni Taukamo slid over for a Greece side crushed by England, and following Dallin Watene-Zelezniak's historic score for Jamaica against New Zealand.

So too will the traditional pre-match war dances of Samoa and Tonga - breathtaking moments worth the entrance fee alone.

Samoa more than caught the eye once the action got under way too - becoming the first tier-two nation to reach the final with a dramatic golden-point defeat of an England side that had thrashed them 60-6 in the opening game.

The backing of a huge Old Trafford crowd in the showpiece match - and the delight at Stephen Crichton's late consolation try - told its own story.

"It was awesome," said Paulo. "We were on the other end of the stick against England where they were booing and it goes to show how good rugby league is.

"Seeing the boys celebrate that try despite being where we were on the scoreboard meant everything to us about how proud we are of this team."

England's semi-final exit from the women's tournament inevitably pushed the case for professionalism if they are to compete with the two powerhouse nations - New Zealand and world champions Australia - whose players are almost exclusively based in the full-time NRLW.

But the quality of the product on show also underlined the massive strides over the past decade - and the Group A opener between England and Brazil set a new northern hemisphere record for attendance at a women's rugby league match.

The Jillaroos were at their dazzling, skilful best in the final, with Meninga among many watching on in admiration.

"It has been a great rise for women's rugby league," he said.

"They have taken extraordinary steps forward and it is great to see.

"I want the game of rugby league to prosper. We are all equal and inclusive - that is what our game delivers."

That was obvious nowhere more than during the wheelchair tournament, which brought the sport to so many new people.

"I think we've seen the birth of a new pop culture phenomenon," Australian journalist Steve Mascord said on the 5 live Rugby League World Cup podcast.

As Rugby League World Cup chief executive Jon Dutton said on the eve of the final: "We've got a new audience the sport didn't have.

"They've been attracted by how brilliant wheelchair rugby is to consume, for example, and what's happened here in the women's game is transformational.

"Different people will have a different take but, for us, the structure has been a resounding success."

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