Rugby League Coaches Concerned about International Duty Impact

Rugby League Coaches Wary of International Duty After Disappointing Mid-Season Test

(Yorkshire Post, May 10, 2023)Hull KR head coach Willie Peters has expressed concerns that many Super League coaches may reconsider sending their players on international duty following the disappointing mid-season test match in Toulouse over the weekend.

The match, which was played in front of just 4,500 fans – a far cry from the typical Super League attendance figures – was also plagued by issues with the SuperLeague+ streaming platform, which was not widely accessible for viewers. The planning for the event has been widely criticized, with many describing it as an “embarrassing” affair.

“As a coach, I want my players to play international rugby and would never hold a player back from playing for their country. For so many different reasons but most of all because it should be the highest honour.”

Despite Shaun Wane’s experimental England side emerging victorious with a 40-8 scoreline, the result held little significance for many within the rugby league community. Peters, who was similarly disappointed with the overall situation, stated:

“I would never want to not let my players play for their country but certainly some coaches now will be looking and going: ‘Why would we let our players go there with the injury risk if people aren’t going to fully buy into what it’s all about?'”

This sentiment is perhaps reflected in the absence of Castleford Tigers’ Sam Wood from their 21-man squad for the upcoming fixture against St Helens, which may be due to injury concerns following the international match.

Peters also lamented the lack of television coverage for the event, stating:

“There were some good players on that field for both teams, world-class players. It’s crazy to think that we wouldn’t want to get that product out to a wider audience. It’s disappointing.”

The issues surrounding the mid-season test match have undoubtedly raised questions about the future of international rugby league and the willingness of Super League coaches to release their players for such events. As the sport continues to navigate these challenges, the focus will be on ensuring a more robust and engaging international platform for both players and fans.

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