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3 days ago - 6 Likes
So the IOC has announced that Rugby 7s (among other things) will most likely be included in the 2016 Olympic Games. Good result for the further development of rugby, particularly in minnow nations. But a good opportunity to expand rugby league?
Well it could be. Sevens is an attractive sport for the Olympic as it provides entertaining content in a condensed timeframe (the fact that the RFU chose to recommend Sevens and not traditional Rugby to the IOC is a debate for another day). Rugby players must love the game too. It gives them open field to run and a chance to take on one-on-one defence.
Many nations will undoubtedly send a team of amateurs or expats from rugby playing nations, just pleased to get a run at the games. In the context of this debate we have to consider how many minnow nations have tasted rugby league in the last decade.
Latvia, Norway, Germany, the Ukraine and Jamaica are a handful of the dozens of nations who have entered the rugby league international community in recent history. While progress is reasonably slow, these nations are expanding the code in new directions.
While some league and union fans may gasp at the thought, but many league players in these countries are simply union players who want to participate in something in the summer months or they are seasoned union players looking for something different.
And this is where the RLIF can come in. After the 2016 games there is going to be scores of players who have represented their minnow nations in the Olympics. After the games many, in light of the running rugby they have enjoyed in sevens competition, may be tempted by a faster, more up tempo game. Enter rugby league.
This, of course, isn