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Players are being “robbed” of the proudest moment of their careers

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Following an embarrassing game between England and France, Jon Wilkin has suggested that international rugby league needs to go – unless changes are made.

The match, which was in Toulouse, and not available to watch on television – was played in front of 4,500, far smaller than most Super League attendances.

In addition, there was trouble for many fans to watch the game on SuperLeague+, a streaming platform not even available on most televisions.

It has been widely criticised, with many saying the planning was embarrassing – and the crowd at the Stade Ernest-Wallon really was a sorry sight.

Speaking on The Bench Podcast, Jon Wilkin gave his thoughts: “International rugby league is going on the bench.”

On the podcast, things going “on the bench” are things that the speakers want to remove from the sport.

“On the bench. Get rid of it.

“I’m not saying get rid of it, I’m joking… What I mean is, if we’re gonna do it, just do it well.

“When you play for your country as a player, it’s like the proudest moment. It’s an unbelievable moment.

“I’ve watched the France game, there’s 4,000 fans there, it wasn’t on TV. I just felt like we robbed possibly the most magical moment of people’s careers.”

It has even been suggested that some coaches might stop allowing players to play for England. Castleford lost Sam Wood after sustaining an injury during his England debut.

Lack of high-quality clashes the problem for international rugby league?

England v Australia rugby league

Credit: Imago Images

Warrington Wolves forward Joe Phibin suggested that the main issue is that the quality of England’s opposition just isn’t what it used to be. He added: “I grew up watching tri-nations, GB were playing against Australia, New Zealand.

“Then there was always a fourth team who kind of weren’t there, but you’ve got Tonga and Samoa now, powerhouses… and every era felt like I was watching great games.

“That’s what made me fall in love with rugby league: watching those games for Great Britain.

“We’ve not played Australia since 2017. It’s a travesty.

“If you want to grow the game, the best after play against the best.”

Rugby league England Jon Wilkin v Australia

Credit: Imago Images

Additionally, Jon Wilkin noted the difference between the game and the other sporting events this summer.

He said: “Do you know what, I think the only thing with that is it was just in sharp contrast. We had the State of Origin, we’ve got the Euros on, there’s all this international sports going on.

“You think, ‘wow’ and then Rugby League? Well, I can’t watch it,

“I’ve got to stream it online. Like, come on.”

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