Wednesday 15 November 2023

British Colombia RL : 2015-21

2015 seems to have been the year that a consistent season by season league started. If anyone can add additional information about the history of RL in this province, please leave a comment. The 2022 season is a bit sketchy for me as well if someone can assist there too.

Six teams participated with the Capilano Cougars winning the league and doing so undefeated. The next best team, the Vancouver Dragons lost once to take second place. The Abbottsford Griffins were unable to secure a win.

The Cougars and Dragons played in the grand final with the Cougars winning that also, 30-6. 

The Vancouver Thunderbirds dropped out but the other five returned in 2016. Again, the Capilano Cougars won all four league games. In a surprise turnaround, last year's wooden spoon winners came second with just the one loss. It was the Valley Warrior's turn to go winless.

The Cougars won the final again, 48-12 over the Griffins. That was the double in both seasons so was there a dynasty in the making?

The Surrey Beavers went and in came the Kelowna Roosters. The latter took the league, winning all matches. The Valley Warriors got off the canvas and were second. The Griffins went back losing all games.

In the final, the Warriors took the final 20-0! Not bad for the team coming last a year earlier. First year Roosters had a good introductory year.

Kelowna Roosters decided one season was enough and then there were four. Each team played each other twice to make it the longest season yet. The Vancouver Dragons finally took the league title (undefeated) from the Cougars.

They also won their first grand final, 26-24 over the twice winners Cougars. 

The Abbotsford Griffins left after four years of competing, the Cougars appear to have changed their name to Coastal Cougars and the Point Grey Thunder joined the competition.

For the first time, no side went through the league undefeated. The newbies Thunder won the league on their debut season. The Cougars came second. That would usually be the final sides determined but this year semi finals were held. 

The top two from the league won their semis, the Cougars 32-22 and the Thunder 34-14 They then met in the final with the Cougars in their fourth appearance. That experience probably helped as they won their third grand final 38-28.

The five became six when the Whistler Wolves were added to the competition. The Point Grey Thunder won all five matches, the Valley Vipers just three but enough to secure second placing. All teams had at least one victory.

The Thunder went on to take out the double, with a narrow 38-34 result over the Vipers in the grand final. 

If I can find the full 2022 season, it will follow as will 2023. 

Saturday 11 November 2023

Utah RL : 2023

There were four sides participating in 2023 and the matches are listed below in the purple chart.

I did some research on their location which I hope is correct. The Herriman Roosters is in the southwest part of Salt Lake City. Glendale is a suburb on the western side of Salt Lake City. Riverton Seagulls are located in the south of Salt Lake City but I'm not sure there are many seagulls there. The Provo Broncos is slightly south of Salt Lake City, to the right of Utah Lake. 

The final standings to the right had the Broncos as winners. The three games not played earned a single point each (under D). I'm not sure why some matches didn't eventuate. I assume insufficient players or weather conditions. 

The Provo Broncos went on to play the Santa Rosa dead Pelicans to decide the best team in the west. Provo prevailed 36-12. They were stripped of the win due to some major failings regarding players used.

Pacific Coast RL : 2023

This is a new competition formed in the USA on the southwest coast. Los Angeles has two sides, San Diego and Santa Rosa one each. The results of the games are as below. Two matches were not completed, one due to a forfeit and the other due to extreme heat. 

To the right are the final standings. The two matches not played earned each side one point (under D for a draw). The Dead Pelicans were the strongest side, not losing a fixture. They also progressed to a playoff match with the best from Utah. 

To see one of the matches, see below.            Click on the YouTube logo to go there for a larger picture and to see other matches if you wish.

Tuesday 7 November 2023

International Test Match Comparison : France RU vs France RL

Rugby league only arrived in France in 1934 but within a few years, it was considered a top nation internationally. It was shamefully banned by the pro-Nazi Vichy government with all assets confiscated. No recompense was paid but RL in France was again prospering in the 1950's anyway. 

Rugby Union arrived in France around the 1870's. It was supposed to be amateur but in due course, the French RU flouted that which led to there being standoffs between them and other nations, international competition suffering. In the 1950's tensions gradually eased and more matches for the Tricolores eventuated.

In the 1960's both codes were playing a similar number of internationals but the French RL was now suffering through internal strife. That meant that the XIII code was losing ground to RU. As RU pursued more internationals, mainly through a consistent Five Nations Championship, RL largely neglected the international scene apart from World Cups.

Three years into the 2020's the contrast in the number of internationals played has become stark. Northern Hemisphere RL needs to get its international act together. Now that France struggles to compete against England yet other NH nations are some way below France, public interest is low in one sided teat matches. That means there is no business case for international matches for a sport already cash strapped.  

Union is blue, league red. The 2020's cover four years only.

Win percentages are somewhat closer than the number of matches played. The RU side of things is fairly consistent apart from a good start to the 2020's. 

As for Rugby XIII, the decline of the game as a whole in France (from the 1960's) is mirrored in the decline in success. The arrival of the Catalan Dragons as a club in 2000 and its entry into the Super League in 2006 seem to have helped the success rate to some degree. More now needs to be done to lift the game in France further.

Others in the series are as follows. Simply click on the country name to go there: AustraliaEnglandNew Zealand.

Monday 6 November 2023

Women's Pacific Series : 2023

In a format I found hard to understand, there were many matches played but no finals games so technically there was no winner of the series. I was waiting for the final to be played before writing this article and then realised it wasn't happening. I will list the games below with a brief comment for each.

Australia 16-10 New Zealand. Australia usually wins these games and despite this being a hard fought match, they came out on top yet again. Halftime was 16-4 and although the Jillaroos were kept scoreless in the second half, the Kiwi Ferns were unable to overturn the deficit..

Samoa 26-12 Fiji. I know little of the relative standards of these teams but Fetu Samoa were too good in this encounter, They led 16-4 at the change of ends and Fiji Bulikula was not able to mount a serious comeback.

New Zealand 28-10 Tonga. The Kiwi Ferns were favourites to win this clash but had to work hard for it. Halftime came with a scoreline of 14-6 in their favour. Mate Ma'a Tonga had a player sent off shortly after the resumption which didn't help their cause. 

PNG 28-20 Cook Is The PNG Orchids were favoured to win this match at home and at halftime the 20-10 lead reinforced that. However, the Cook Is Moana didn't lie down and but despite a late comeaback were unable to catch the orchids.  

New Zealand 12-6 Australia Australia opened the scoring early on and the script looked already written. By halftime it was 6-6 and the Kiwi Ferns went on to win it with a spirited defensive display. It was their first victory over the Jillaroos in seven years.

For highlights of the last match:

Sunday 5 November 2023

Men's Pacific Series : 2023

This series put the three higher ranked nations in the Pacific Cup competition and the three lower ranked sides in the Pacific Bowl competition. Tonga was touring England so they were not part of this.

Pacific Cup: Australia, New Zealand, Samoa.

Pacific Bowl: Cook Islands, Fiji, PNG. 

Pacific Cup: 

Australia 38-12 Samoa. First up were the hosts against Manu Samoa in a repeat of the World Cup grand final a year previously. they quickly took control of the fixture, leading 28-6 when the oranges appeared. It was closer in the second half but the Kangaroos were never at risk of losing this one. 

New Zealand 50-0 Samoa. The Kiwis have assembled a strong squad and while Manu Samoa is competitive (they made last year's World Cup final), they were blown off the park in this meeting. The half time score was 18-0. Most of the spectators were supporting Samoa so not even getting a score was no doubt disappointing for them.

Australia 36-18 New Zealand. In what was a tightly fought match, the Kangaroos were ahead just 18-12 at the break. It remained close until the Aussies scored two tries in the final three minutes to pull away.

Final: New Zealand 30-0 Australia. The Kiwis hosted the final in Hamilton. NZ controlled the half well to lead 12-0 by halftime. Any hope of the usual Kangaroo's comeback didn't materialise. Instead, the Kiwis upped the ante and gave Australia their heaviest defeat ever!

To see extended highlights of the final Pacific Cup match:

Pacific Bowl: 

PNG 46-10 Cook Is. The match was played in Port Moresby and by half time it was already 30-0 to the Kumuls. A few minutes into the second half and it was 42-0 but after that it was a close contest but by then the horse had already bolted. 

Fiji 22-18 Cook Islands. I was expecting Fiji Bati to be too strong for the Kukis but it was a very close game. The Cooks led 18-16 with six minutes to go but a late try got the Bati home. 

Fiji 43-16 PNG. I was expecting home ground advantage and quality to tip the game the PNG Kumuls's way. Instead the Bati lead 19-4 at the turn around after conceding first points. In the second stanza, Fiji raced to a 35-4 lead which ended the Kumul's hopes.  

Final: PNG 32-12 Fiji. The Kumuls raced to a 26-0 halftime lead which was quite the opposite of last week. The second half was a more even contest but never really in doubt.

To see extended highlights of the final Pacific Cup match: