FAR & WIDE: Number 32

By Far & WideSTEVE MASCORD

HERE’S one from the ‘It Can Only Happen In Rugby League’ department.

Keen readers will be aware that Thailand made their international bow last October, taking on the Philippines in Bangkok, and assembled a national team from scratch without having a club competition.

Since then they’ve been trying to get club teams off the ground. Well guess what’s happened? C’mon, think about it, what would be the most ridiculous but predictable development to occur in a country where there is almost no rugby league.

That’s right, THERE IS NOW A REBEL THAI RUGBY LEAGUE.

National coach Andrew Charles wrote to Far and Wide when we recently reported plans for a game in Bangkok between Thailand and Greece A. Basically, he said ‘that’s not us, it’s the rebels’.

Say wha? Charles said the man behind it is one Shannon Crane.

A few excerpts from his response: “They seem to be selling franchises for a domestic comp … they had our Facebook page disabled claiming for copyright infringement but we are registered …. Super League Thai Style … we are all sad about it but pressing on.”

I mean, seriously. This equals the stand-off in the 1990s between Super League Japan and the East Japan Rugby League when there was no actual rugby league being played in Japan.

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ON a much more serious and insidious note, the antics of the Moroccan Rugby Union in trying to wreck a tour by the Great Britain Pioneers students team is nothing short of a disgrace.

In case you missed it, police marched journalists out of one game and theats by the rugby union resulted in a ground withdrawing permission to host another match while even the bus company was prevented from carrying the team around!

As in South Africa, rugby league is not recognised as a separate sport to rugby union in Morocco and the rahrahs have done their best to keep it that way.

Surely we need a more active RLIF to stand up to this sort of prejudice. We really need an Ambassador For Rugby League. Who would you appoint?

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RUSSIA could have lifted the European Shield with a win over Italy in Este two weekends ago but instead were soundly beaten.

Warming up for the World Cup, Italy raced to a 32-0 halftime lead and then coasted home. The Russians need to beat Germany in August to secure the title, which is played for over two years.

Meanwhile, Vanuatu will announce its post-season program this week.

Filed for: RUGBY LEAGUE WEEK

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