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“Awful, truly awful”: Fans fume at decision not to televise England v France game

England and Super League stars

England secured a comfortable, if scrappy, win over France at the Stade Ernest-Wallon yesterday. France had the better of the opening exchanges of the game, racing into an early 8-0 lead with England struggling to match their intensity. But England ran in 40 unanswered points to claim what was eventually a routine 40-8 win.

Several England players produced impressive performances with Jack Welsby at the heart of everything good that England did. Harry Smith was excellent with the ball in hand and his kicking in general play was superb, however, his goal-kicking needs improvement. Mikey Lewis produced an impressive cameo from the bench to spark England in the second half.

However, after the game, the decision not to televise the game has come in for criticism, as Rugby League at the international level struggles to find its place in the calendar. The game appeared poorly attended in the stadium and the decision to show the game on the Super League+ app has been heavily criticised.

Below is a selection of fan reactions to the decision not to televise the game, as fans have shared their frustrations.

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Fans share angry reactions to the decision not to televise England game

England George Williams

Credit: Imago Images

Fans took to social media to vent their frustration at the decision not to televise the game. Overall, there was a feeling that it was a missed opportunity to try and engage a new audience with the coverage at a time when the game is trying to market itself better at all levels.

On X, formerly Twitter, the decision was compared to an act of self harm by one fan:

Another fan negatively compared the coverage to the mid-season internationals in Rugby Union, which are fully televised and have big production budgets.

Another claimed to have had technical problems which prevented them from watching the game on the app.

Another lamented the game as a sign that the opportunity created by the Rugby League World Cup has been missed. England opened the tournament in front of a big crowd at St James’ Park. However, that momentum now appears to have been lost.

Fans believe international Rugby League has hit “rock bottom”

England

Credit: Imago Images

On the Serious About Rugby League Facebook page, fans also shared their frustrations about the way in which the game was covered. In response to a graphic sharing the full time score, we asked fans to sum up the game in their own words. However, many took the opportunity to share their anger.

One fan believes that Rugby League in the UK has hit rock bottom, stating: “Just shows how far to rock bottom Rugby League has reached in our Country. Couldn’t find it anywhere to watch, 4,000 max in the ground for an International, no pre match marketing, such a shame”.

Another fan did not know that the England game, given the lack of marketing: “Very obscure and well hidden away. Is this the way RL is heading? Most people didn’t even know there was an international game on. At least this explains why there were no Superleague games on Sky!”

Another believes all nations need to come together to improve the planning of the international calendar to avoid similar issues in the future: “It’s a shame the sport as a whole including the precious Aussies treat the international game as a joke. The two teams deserved better. Until we have a set international calendar, planned 10 years in advance with set world cups, regular tours and Ashes series, games like this will always struggle for any attention. A mid-season run out, planned on the back of a beer mat simply isn’t good enough.”

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