International rugby league to be saved by huge Samoa and Tonga decision

International rugby league is as strong as it gets at present.

After years of there being only three competitors for glory in the Rugby League World Cup in the shape of New Zealand, Australia and England, there are now five teams vying for glory.

This started with Tonga when a number of stars taking the decision to represent their heritage in the 2017 World Cup getting all the way to the semi-finals but came up just short against England.

On the back of this, Samoa did the same with Penrith Panthers stars taking the decision to play for Samoa after they lifted the NRL title for the second consecutive season.

They made it all the way to the World Cup Final after a dramatic win over England at the Emirates.

They came up short against Australia in the final at Old Trafford but it demonstrated that now there is a big five teams vying for international glory which is vitally important for the sport moving forward.

However, there were fears it would go back to three.

This is because of the rules around State of Origin. Right now the rules state that you can still play State of Origin if you represent Australia or any Tier Two nation.

Representing another Tier One nation would end your Origin career which is why it was such a big call for Victor Radley to play for England at the World Cup.

Thus there were fears that Tonga and Samoa could be promoted to Tier One which would either spell the end of their success or see State of Origin drained of some top talent.

As Samoa boss Matt Parish said after the World Cup Final: “Do we want these guys to play Origin? Yes. Do we want them to play for Samoa? Yes. Then things have to stay the same or we’ll go back to only having three teams.”

Well Parish’s fears have been alleviated with news from the Daily Telegraph this morning that Samoa and Tonga are set to remain as Tier Two protecting their quality squads and State of Origin.

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