Castleford Tigers Coach Champions International Rugby League Growth

Rugby League News: Castleford Tigers Coach Calls for Meaningful International Calendar

Castleford Tigers coach Craig Lingard has joined a chorus of Super League counterparts in advocating for the improvement of international rugby league in the northern hemisphere. Lingard’s comments come in the wake of England’s 40-8 mid-season victory over France in Toulouse, which was overshadowed by a low-key affair with just 4,500 fans in attendance and no television coverage, airing only on Super League+.

Lingard’s fellow Super League coaches, including Paul Wellens (St Helens), Matt Peet (Wigan), and Willie Peters (Hull KR), have also shared their thoughts on the state of the international game. Former England stalwarts James Graham and Kevin Brown have also expressed disappointment over the lack of fanfare surrounding the Toulouse Test match, hoping that the generated frustration will spur positive changes.

“I want to do as much as we possibly can to make sure that the international game grows, but it’s got to be better than it was,” Lingard said. “I thought it was – to echo Willie’s comments and Matty Peet’s comments – the pinnacle of anyone’s career is representing their country. We’ve got to make sure that the spectacle represents that as well.”

Lingard emphasized his desire to see players representing their country, as it benefits the club in the long run by demonstrating that joining Castleford does not jeopardize international recognition. However, he acknowledged the frustration of losing a key player like Sam Wood, who suffered a season-ending shoulder injury during his England debut.

Lingard insisted that he had no issues with the England-France Test taking place mid-season, but he believes more needs to be done to create a “meaningful” international calendar that is well-thought-out and embraced by all stakeholders.

“I think when you are looking around on how to watch an international game, and then when you watch the game and there is hardly anyone there, I don’t think it was a great spectacle for the game,” Lingard added. “For us to grow the game, we’ve got to grow the international game. As a coach, I’m fully supportive of that but I think we’ve got to have some foresight on how to do that and I don’t think we can do it halfheartedly.”

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