May 19, 2022

Road to the Cup: Benji Marshall set to wear black jersey for the first time at a World Cup since the 2008 final victory over Australia

3 min read

BY CURTIS WOODWARD

@woodward_curtis

You could almost forget there is a World Cup happening over in the United Kingdom at the end of the season such is the way the NRL news cycle spins here in Australia.

But we’ll do our very best over the coming months to keep you posted with everything that’s happening around the globe.

Welcome to the ‘Road to the World Cup’.

SCOTS PLAN OUT STRATEGY BEFORE CUP

Scotland will rely heavily on overseas players when they begin their World Cup campaign on October 24 against Italy but that hasn’t stopped local officials from doing everything they can to kick start the game again in Scotland after the pandemic hit the United Kingdom heavily. Competition gets underway in June. According to reports, the Scots are set to announce a four-year strategy that would include the announcement of a domestic women’s competition.

HERBIE FARNWORTH CUT FROM ENGLAND SQUAD

English coach Shaun Wane has axed Brisbane Broncos centre Herbie Farnworth from his World Cup train-on squad after an awful start to the year for the Broncos in the NRL. Wane told the Rugby Football League: “The players know the standards expected of them as England players. Herbie’s standards have dipped below what I expect. It’s as simple as that.”

CAS UPHOLDS TONGA NATIONAL RUGBY LEAGUE’S EXPULSION

Tongan rugby league will continue under the umbrella of the new Tonga Ma’a Tonga Rugby League after the Court of Arbitration for Sport dismissed TNRL’s appeal after the IRL expelled them in February. The CAS panel sighted “TNRL’s refusal to cooperate with or to participate in the IRL’s investigation and consultation processes, including its failure to consider or adopt any of the good governance recommendations made to it, established that expulsion was a proportional disciplinary sanction for TNRL’s failure to comply with its IRL membership duties.”

GREEK PROP RIGHT AT HOME IN DONCASTER

Stefanos Bastas, a Greek front rower with 12 International caps to his name might just feel at home when the ‘Titans’ touch down in the United Kingdom for the World Cup in October. Bastas currently plays for Saint-Gaudens in France – one of the nation’s Greece play in the pool stage. They’ll do so at Keepmoat Stadium in Doncaster – the club Bastas played at in 2019.

‘WARRINGTON WILL BE DECORATED IN PNG COLOURS’

PNG coach Michael Marum says the Kumuls are set to take over the city of Warrington during the World Cup. “It (Warrington) will be decorated in PNG colours given everywhere we go there will be PNG flag and you might be thinking you are in the Highlands. It is a big city,” Marum told the PNG Post-Courier.

‘It’s madness, mania’: Conference split is one of the worst ideas rugby league could come up with and its current minders need to take a hard look at themselves

T-REX LATEST TO JOIN NEW AMERICAN COMP

The United States representative side is in safe hands if the latest signing for the new North American Rugby League is anything to go by with New York Freedom announcing the acquisition of Tony ‘T-Rex’ Williams. While the 2013 quarter-finalists missed qualification for the ’21 World Cup, you’d like to think a strong domestic competition will garner more interest in the Hawks the next time they appear on the world stage.

LONG TIME BETWEEN DRINKS FOR BENJI

It has been a long time since Benji Marshall has donned the black jersey at a World Cup. In fact, the last time the mercurial half wore it was in the final of the 2008 World Cup in Brisbane where the Kiwis beat the Kangaroos. Surely Marshall is one of the first picked in the New Zealand squad. He has been incredible for South Sydney so far this season in the NRL. Former teammate Gareth Ellis recently wrote in The Yorkshire Post that he hoped Marshall made the trip to the UK. “Having him around the squad and the leadership qualities he has, you’d be silly not to pick him as long as he’s fit. The way he’s playing, why wouldn’t you?”

@woodward_curtis

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