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Thread: How Competitive Would A Celtic Team Be?

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    Default How Competitive Would A Celtic Team Be?

    An idea was floated on Forty 20 this week of having a Celtic "national" team in order to provide Wales, Ireland and Scotland with a competitive team to get behind. The argument is that this could be used as a building block towards competitive national Welsh, Irish and Scottish teams. One of the podcasters felt it would work, another said he could see even a combined team getting hammered by the likes of England. So how competitive would it really be?

    My gut feeling is not very. It would have some decent players in it but most would be far off the grade. At least that's what my instinct tells me.

    Realistically how would it line out?

    13 Oliver Roberts
    12 James Bentley
    11 Tyrone McCarthy
    10 Liam Byrne
    9 Connor Davies
    8 Gil Dudson
    7 Joe Keyes
    6 Ryan Brierley
    5 Regan Grace
    4 Elliot Kear
    3 Ethan Ryan
    2 Rhys Williams
    1 Lachlan Coote

    This is the best I could come up with. Can't see how it would be remotely competitive against the likes of Australia, New Zealand or England, especially without a hooker top division rugby.

    Interesting to note that by far the three standout players as well as being the standout player in each of the three nations involved is a Saint; Grace (also the best representing the country of his birth in the 13), Coote and Bentley.

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    Some atmosphere at Parkhead.

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    Unless the Celtic team can parachute in a load of ‘qualifying’ English and Aussie players it’s not going to be competitive. Might as well just leave it as is. I think a better solution would be a 5 or 6 nations with France, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Italy maybe and England Knights. There’s literally no value in England playing against anyone other than the Southern Hemisphere teams at the moment. Incidentally I’d be surprised if Bentley doesn’t switch his allegiance to England, the way his form has been he must be getting close to the squad.
    Forwards win games. The backs decide by how much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angry Dave View Post
    Some atmosphere at Parkhead.
    In fairness, I reckon the 13 above would be more competitive than that current Glasgow Celtic team lol.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Wee Waa Womble View Post
    Unless the Celtic team can parachute in a load of ‘qualifying’ English and Aussie players it’s not going to be competitive. Might as well just leave it as is. I think a better solution would be a 5 or 6 nations with France, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Italy maybe and England Knights. There’s literally no value in England playing against anyone other than the Southern Hemisphere teams at the moment. Incidentally I’d be surprised if Bentley doesn’t switch his allegiance to England, the way his form has been he must be getting close to the squad.
    Was thinking the same with Bentley. How long does he have to wait since his last Irish international?

    I was wondering how competitive the above team would be if you could add in the French. Theo Fages and Remi Casty spring to mind. It would make such a team even more contrived than it would be as a Celtic team though.

    Tbh I would think even in a 5/6 N, England Knights would walk it every year and I'd imagine France would be substantially stronger than the rest of us too.

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    "Coote (or any Saints player) was injured playing for the combined celtic team last week and will miss the next 4 weeks of games leading to the play offs"


    Que Thermo-Nuclear meltdown on RedVee.



    I like the idea. I also enjoyed the Exiles , but the RFL and The International organisers cant stick to a long term commitment.

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    Tyson frizell could slot into the 2nd row for them as well

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Wee Waa Womble View Post
    Unless the Celtic team can parachute in a load of ‘qualifying’ English and Aussie players it’s not going to be competitive. Might as well just leave it as is. I think a better solution would be a 5 or 6 nations with France, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Italy maybe and England Knights. There’s literally no value in England playing against anyone other than the Southern Hemisphere teams at the moment.

    Thats exactly my take.

    Have a GB team to play regularly against Southern Hemisphere teams, with a 5 nations that uses the England Knights.

    It'd be a competitive competition that would raise the sport's profile.

    It has seemed obvious for several years but the morons running the game prefer to bollocks the sport up.
    I f*cking hate wi*an. And rugby yawnion. And Tories. And Brexit f*ckwits.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Webbo Again View Post
    Thats exactly my take.

    Have a GB team to play regularly against Southern Hemisphere teams, with a 5 nations that uses the England Knights.

    It'd be a competitive competition that would raise the sport's profile.

    It has seemed obvious for several years but the morons running the game prefer to bollocks the sport up.
    I’d love them to be able to run these 3 competitions. Maybe every 2 years with World Cup and maybe a Lions series (home or away) filling the years off. If there’s a Lions series every 4 years then it makes it more of an event, gives people a chance to save up for the away series as well.

    4 Nations
    Australia, New Zealand, England, Tonga

    Pacific Nations Cup
    NZ Maori, Australia ‘A’, Fiji, Samoa, PNG, Cook Islands (expand to include likes of USA and Jamaica)

    European Cup
    England Knights, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France (expand to include likes of Italy, Greece, Lebanon, Serbia)

    Build up the Pacific & European competitions to the point where you can include extra teams like the ones outlined, could be anyone really depending on development. Hopefully you could get to a point where the Pacific & Euro competitions are good enough to not need the Aus, NZ, Eng B teams or the winners could be included in the next 4 nations.

    For example
    2021 - World Cup
    2022 - Nations Cups
    2023 - Lions series (away)
    2024 - Nations Cups
    2025 - World Cup
    2026 - Nations Cups (expanded)
    2027 - Lions series (home)
    2028 - Nations Cups (expanded)
    2029 - World Cup

    Would give us meaningful international rugby through the next decade, gives all the federations the opportunity to plan, budget and recruit players.
    Forwards win games. The backs decide by how much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Wee Waa Womble View Post
    I’d love them to be able to run these 3 competitions. Maybe every 2 years with World Cup and maybe a Lions series (home or away) filling the years off. If there’s a Lions series every 4 years then it makes it more of an event, gives people a chance to save up for the away series as well.

    4 Nations
    Australia, New Zealand, England, Tonga

    Pacific Nations Cup
    NZ Maori, Australia ‘A’, Fiji, Samoa, PNG, Cook Islands (expand to include likes of USA and Jamaica)

    European Cup
    England Knights, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France (expand to include likes of Italy, Greece, Lebanon, Serbia)

    Build up the Pacific & European competitions to the point where you can include extra teams like the ones outlined, could be anyone really depending on development. Hopefully you could get to a point where the Pacific & Euro competitions are good enough to not need the Aus, NZ, Eng B teams or the winners could be included in the next 4 nations.

    For example
    2021 - World Cup
    2022 - Nations Cups
    2023 - Lions series (away)
    2024 - Nations Cups
    2025 - World Cup
    2026 - Nations Cups (expanded)
    2027 - Lions series (home)
    2028 - Nations Cups (expanded)
    2029 - World Cup

    Would give us meaningful international rugby through the next decade, gives all the federations the opportunity to plan, budget and recruit players.
    That sounds like a workable strategy.

    The RFL would never go for it.
    I f*cking hate wi*an. And rugby yawnion. And Tories. And Brexit f*ckwits.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Webbo Again View Post
    That sounds like a workable strategy.

    The RFL would never go for it.
    No and you’d need cooperation and coordination across all the different federations. Complete pie in the sky I just like the idea.
    Forwards win games. The backs decide by how much.

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    Give that these are mostly heritage players I don't see much point. Maybe if you included the French players and called it a European XIII team maybe you would have this as a legit competitive opponents for England.

    In the end these games are pretty pointless and when they result in injuries get canned pretty quick. Steve Prescott suffered a career ending injury during a Lancs/Yorks game, another pointless game.

    I understand that the England team haven't played in a long time and we have a world cup at the end of the years, so an Exiles/AN Other game is a special case. But it should be a one off.

    My opinion is the Championship should have an England Team, this would give the competition some identity and you could have Lancs/Yorks, Celtic XIII, Euro Champs, regular games Vs France.
    I could agree with you but then we would both be wrong.

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    The problem with including the Knights is they'd walk the tournament year in year out putting substantial scores on the others.

    The "GB" team possibly needs more pushing but for me its name, colours and logo need changing. Hell would freeze over before I'd support a GB team in its current format. It also wouldn't include the Irish.

    I appreciate the reasons why most would be looking at this through an English lens but I think the idea behind any project along these lines would be to try to get the Celtic nations to improve and provide better competition for the international game. In the long run it would be better for England, New Zealand and Australia if the game could be built up in at least one of the Celtic countries. It would also help in discouraging the likes of Regan Grace being attracted to switch codes to play for our much more competitive (usually) union team. There's already rumours of that (personally I'm not sure it will happen nor convinced how successful such a move would be but the temptation must be there).

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Heretic View Post
    The problem with including the Knights is they'd walk the tournament year in year out putting substantial scores on the others.

    The "GB" team possibly needs more pushing but for me its name, colours and logo need changing. Hell would freeze over before I'd support a GB team in its current format. It also wouldn't include the Irish.

    I appreciate the reasons why most would be looking at this through an English lens but I think the idea behind any project along these lines would be to try to get the Celtic nations to improve and provide better competition for the international game. In the long run it would be better for England, New Zealand and Australia if the game could be built up in at least one of the Celtic countries. It would also help in discouraging the likes of Regan Grace being attracted to switch codes to play for our much more competitive (usually) union team. There's already rumours of that (personally I'm not sure it will happen nor convinced how successful such a move would be but the temptation must be there).
    I agree with the Knights. I am pretty sure that the Euro nations concept has already been tried, tested and failed. In 2014 11,414 watched 5 games. In 2018 over 6 games 8,866 attended albeit England didn't play in either. I wouldn't say do away with it but it isn't something the International Game should be hanging its hat on.

    The Knights did tour PNG (who handed them their only loss) and Southern Hemisphere teams is what they what they should be focusing on. As should England/GB.

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    Reality is extremely few in any countries other than England, Australia and to a lesser extent New Zealand are really interested in league. To an extent, trying to build a presence elsewhere is a bit like flogging a dead horse. There are pockets in the Pacific Islands but let's be honest, the majority of them are union territory. With there being problems over finding a host for the World Cup in 2025 it might be time to look at having a reduced tournament with maybe 8 instead of 16 teams. Nobody is really interested in watching a tournament they know their team is going to get a hiding in and frankly for those of us who aren't English, Australian or New Zealander, very few of us care who wins it. To be honest, as long as no Saint gets injured in it, that's all that matters to me personally.

    GB is a non runner for a lot of us too because it's condescending and intensely political. It does what it says on the tin; England + the odd player who basically gets temporary English nationality to help England out. The name of the team, the colours and the badge are essentially England. There's nothing wrong in that. I'm not anti-England (and part of me would like to see Roby get a World Cup medal) and anyone with half a brain isn't blanketly anti any country. But most Celts have a bit more pride in our own identity than to jump on the bandwagon of another country lol.

    Perhaps the biggest problem is for players like Regan Grace. A tremendous talent but one who is, if he wants to achieve anything on the international stage, is going to have to either switch codes or play for a country which isn't his own (I know lots of players do but they tend to go in the other direction eg. Coote playing for Scotland because there were too many ahead of him for Australia).

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    I think we should stop being arrogant and actually play proper nations instead of these meaningless faux internationals against a load of blokes cobbled together, like the Exiles. The Exiles was a rubbish concept, it meant nothing and there was no history with “Exiles”.

    Mid-season internationals while we plan on 27 weekly rounds, a six team play-off and the Challenge Cup is just shoehorning a game in for a games sake. This planned Exiles return in June is mad. It’s a week or two after the Semi-Final of the Cup and a couple of weeks out from the Final, I think there will be a stink kicked up if a finalist loses a player from this crap game and I wouldn’t blame them. It’s also approaching the business end of the season, so it’s just not a desirable time for a game.

    I think we need to be bringing in Toulouse to Super League and giving them and Catalans an exemption from relegation (I wouldn’t have relegation at all but that’s another discussion) for a determined period and between Super League, The RFL, French RL and International Rugby League, we need to be looking at developing a strong France national team. How we do that, I’m not sure but having seen the development in PNG, Tonga and Fiji in the Southern Hemisphere, we’re at risk of going backwards due to our own arrogance and refusing to play any games against European nations.
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    I've always thought we could have our very own 3 match Origin Series badged up as Wests Select v Easts Select organised with a bit more oomph than the old Lancs v Yorks set up. Wests could be Cumbria, Lancs, Cheshire and Wales and the Easts from Northumberland, Yorkshire and London areas.

    We could probably get 2 decent sides but it would need quite a few years to get to the intensity of the OZ origin games if done in the proper manner.

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    Quote Originally Posted by STIDDY View Post
    I've always thought we could have our very own 3 match Origin Series badged up as Wests Select v Easts Select organised with a bit more oomph than the old Lancs v Yorks set up. Wests could be Cumbria, Lancs, Cheshire and Wales and the Easts from Northumberland, Yorkshire and London areas.

    We could probably get 2 decent sides but it would need quite a few years to get to the intensity of the OZ origin games if done in the proper manner.
    Do you see yourself as Western then? I don’t know anyone in the country that deems themselves Eastern or Western.
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    I think we should have teams based on pet ownership.
    Dogs versus Cats, Small rodents versus Budgies, etc...
    Obviously, not everyone will have a pet, but Grandparent ruling could be applied, or even 'residency' if you live near to someone with a pet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dos Cervezas View Post
    Do you see yourself as Western then? I don’t know anyone in the country that deems themselves Eastern or Western.
    Our family demographic blood line is Cumbria that's a fair distance away from the Shire of York.

    Kentish Barry is suggesting pet ownership, thats a lot of players in Yarkshire with pet sheep behaviour.

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    Quote Originally Posted by STIDDY View Post
    I've always thought we could have our very own 3 match Origin Series badged up as Wests Select v Easts Select organised with a bit more oomph than the old Lancs v Yorks set up. Wests could be Cumbria, Lancs, Cheshire and Wales and the Easts from Northumberland, Yorkshire and London areas.

    We could probably get 2 decent sides but it would need quite a few years to get to the intensity of the OZ origin games if done in the proper manner.
    I genuinely cannot see any Welsh people getting behind a West (of England) team. We're not English. Without derailing from sport into politics, many of us don't consider ourselves British and that portion of the population is growing which is why I believe "GB" is off-putting. The initial idea behind a Celtic team is a starter because most Welsh, Irish and Scottish people would feel an affinity with each other and Celtic identity. That isn't to say that we all hate England. Admittedly the bulk of us enjoy seeing England beaten in sport (oddly I would feel that way about union and soccer, cricket I don't like anyway, but not about league maybe because it doesn't make sense to go from supporting guys like James Roby and Alex Walmsley 11 months of the year to supporting against them for 1) but that is, except for the hard of thinking, banter. The reality is though that the vast majority of us identify as Celts which mean there is a connection between Wales, Ireland and Scotland (Isle of Man, Cornwall and Brittany too).

    The meat of the Celtic concept might not be there but people will at least not turn away from it immediately. If England wants a West v East series, great. It could potentially be entertaining if done right. I'd watch it and as a Saints fan would want the West to win in the same way as I like to see Queensland win SoO because in the NRL I follow Brisbane. But it should be what it is, an English concept and competition. You're not going to lose a lot by not including us other than the odd Regan Grace here and there not playing for West. But Welsh people aren't going to thank you for making out that we're part of the west of England .

    Quote Originally Posted by Dos Cervezas View Post
    Do you see yourself as Western then? I don’t know anyone in the country that deems themselves Eastern or Western.
    I tend to agree with this. The divide in England (and in Wales actually) is overwhelmingly north-south. I think in Scotland you have a bit of east v west as you do in Ireland but as with Wales it's hard enough getting a national team together in league nevermind dividing one up. Why did "State of Origin" never work in England though because there is a natural and historic rivalry between Lancashire and Yorkshire (and most people with a league background would still identify as one over the other even if technically these days they may come from Merseyside, Greater Manchester etc.)?

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    Quote Originally Posted by KentishBarry View Post
    I think we should have teams based on pet ownership.
    Dogs versus Cats, Small rodents versus Budgies, etc...
    Obviously, not everyone will have a pet, but Grandparent ruling could be applied, or even 'residency' if you live near to someone with a pet.
    Interestingly I'd wear a shirt with sheepshagger written on it quicker than one with England!

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Heretic View Post
    I genuinely cannot see any Welsh people getting behind a West (of England) team. We're not English. Without derailing from sport into politics, many of us don't consider ourselves British and that portion of the population is growing which is why I believe "GB" is off-putting. The initial idea behind a Celtic team is a starter because most Welsh, Irish and Scottish people would feel an affinity with each other and Celtic identity. That isn't to say that we all hate England. Admittedly the bulk of us enjoy seeing England beaten in sport (oddly I would feel that way about union and soccer, cricket I don't like anyway, but not about league maybe because it doesn't make sense to go from supporting guys like James Roby and Alex Walmsley 11 months of the year to supporting against them for 1) but that is, except for the hard of thinking, banter. The reality is though that the vast majority of us identify as Celts which mean there is a connection between Wales, Ireland and Scotland (Isle of Man, Cornwall and Brittany too).

    The meat of the Celtic concept might not be there but people will at least not turn away from it immediately. If England wants a West v East series, great. It could potentially be entertaining if done right. I'd watch it and as a Saints fan would want the West to win in the same way as I like to see Queensland win SoO because in the NRL I follow Brisbane. But it should be what it is, an English concept and competition. You're not going to lose a lot by not including us other than the odd Regan Grace here and there not playing for West. But Welsh people aren't going to thank you for making out that we're part of the west of England .



    I tend to agree with this. The divide in England (and in Wales actually) is overwhelmingly north-south. I think in Scotland you have a bit of east v west as you do in Ireland but as with Wales it's hard enough getting a national team together in league nevermind dividing one up. Why did "State of Origin" never work in England though because there is a natural and historic rivalry between Lancashire and Yorkshire (and most people with a league background would still identify as one over the other even if technically these days they may come from Merseyside, Greater Manchester etc.)?
    When I was a kid Lancs V Yorks were big games. They died out after I left home so not sure why, but I always enjoyed watching them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Belgian Saint View Post
    When I was a kid Lancs V Yorks were big games. They died out after I left home so not sure why, but I always enjoyed watching them.
    Without wishing to sound rude, I'm guessing that was when it actually was Lancashire and Yorkshire?
    I know many of you on here don't like the 'Merseyside' thing, but would kids under the age of thirty or so identify with 'Lancashire' or the War of Roses games if they were reintroduced? I'm not convinced that they would.

    I can't really comment on the 'Celtic' tag. It seems too general to me, but what do I know? I'm English, live in Kent and would happily support GB.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Belgian Saint View Post
    When I was a kid Lancs V Yorks were big games. They died out after I left home so not sure why, but I always enjoyed watching them.
    Even the last ones, when they brought them back for three years, had respectable attendances.

    Quote Originally Posted by KentishBarry View Post
    Without wishing to sound rude, I'm guessing that was when it actually was Lancashire and Yorkshire?
    I know many of you on here don't like the 'Merseyside' thing, but would kids under the age of thirty or so identify with 'Lancashire' or the War of Roses games if they were reintroduced? I'm not convinced that they would.

    I can't really comment on the 'Celtic' tag. It seems too general to me, but what do I know? I'm English, live in Kent and would happily support GB.
    Celtic identity wouldn't be forced for people from Celtic countries. "I'm a Celt" is not the first thing you'd say to somebody. Naturally, we'd say "I'm Welsh/Irish/Scottish etc." but to refer to ourselves as Celts is pretty common. Actually, when meeting another Celt from one of the other countries it wouldn't be at all unusual to say "oh a fellow Celt, I'm xyz". Just as an example, I watch a lot of union from France and keep an eye out for and watch a lot of Vannes matches. Why? Because Vannes are Breton and therefore Celtic. So there's a connection. At their matches you see Celtic flags (the flags of the six Celtic nations in one flag). It wouldn't be a forced thing at all to push something because it was Celtic. There would be logistical issues. For example, home grounds would have to be alternated, play one match in Cardiff, next in Edinburgh, next in Dublin etc. otherwise people would perceive it as Welsh/Scottish/Irish if they only played in one location. Obviously we're not going to get tied to such a team in the way we would to our national teams but the point is it wouldn't immediately feel unnatural. You're from about as far away as it's possible to go in England from a Celtic country so it's perfectly reasonable you're not aware of this.

    A good example of why GB doesn't cut it for us is look at the rugby union Lions. They're pretty much exclusively referred to as the Lions, the badge is a shield with the logos of the four countries involved on it and the colour, although it's red is pretty neutral because it's a very different shade of red to the Wales shirt. And everyone, English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh who is a union fan supports them (including me). The rugby league Lions are almost exclusively referred to as GB (so immediately Ireland is excluded), and GB is basically a synonym for England (I know technically it means the main island in this collection of isles but it in common parlance doesn't mean that), the colours are basically England, the badge is very English. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. That's not my point. But it either is England with the odd Celt bolted on, which is its current format, or its something more in-line with the union Lions which it isn't at the moment. Also, if Scotland which is appearing more and more likely goes independent, and the desire for independence is growing in Wales too (this is getting dangerously close to far too political a discussion for a sports forum - and I hold my hand up for being responsible for that but there's no way I can explain what I'm getting at in any other way), where does that leave a GB team? The union Lions continue. The league Lions, what happens? The league Lions can carve out their own identity and don't need to be remotely modelled on the union Lions. In fact, they shouldn't be other than looking at the outline of a blueprint. Another good example is the England cricket team. Personally I would rather watch paint dry than cricket but I do know a lot of people in Wales find the English cricket team obnoxious because technically it is England and Wales but no reference is ever made to that second part. I know plenty of people back home who are ambivalent about England winning at soccer, union or league but who really can't stand to see the cricketers winning for the reason I've outlined.

    That said, it depends on what the desired outcome is. If league is happy enough to continue as pretty much an M62 sport in the NH, and in some ways I could understand the rationale for wanting this because various attempts have been made to get the game going in Wales, Scotland and Ireland, fair enough. Continue with GB as it is. It doesn't inhibit expansion into London and other areas of England. If it wants to make a serious drive for getting traction in Wales, Scotland and Ireland then GB almost certainly needs a makeover. Certainly if it wants to include Ireland it does. Personally I don't think it would take a huge effort. Call it the "Lions", soften the badge and colours and it's done. But I can completely understand people not wanting to do this too.

    In terms of Merseyside/Greater Manchester, I'm in a similar boat to you with the Celtic name. I'm from relatively near both but I'm not from either and given Merseyside and Greater Manchester were formed and Cheshire expanded in the decade I was born, Saints, Wigan, Warrington etc. have never been in Lancashire within my living memory. To me Saints are from Merseyside (I know that's heresy here but I'm a foreigner so what do I know ), Wigan from Greater Manchester and Warrington from Cheshire. That said, I am aware that within league circles all three are very much still part of Lancashire and there is a rivalry still with Yorkshire but I don't know whether that's to do with the age of the league fans I know or not.

    As per the political side of GB, I hope people reading this will accept that I'm using it here to highlight a sporting point rather than trying to trigger people. I have my political viewpoint but I respect others. Out of courtesy, apart from in relation to GB in this context, I won't be drawn on that viewpoint though as politics has a habit of very quickly derailing good conversation.

    In terms of the Celtic thing, it would be interesting to get the views of the other Celts on this forum. I know there's a Scottish guy who is on the podcast (sorry mate, I feel like I should know your name but I don't) and Tallaght Tiger is Irish. Any way of tagging them into the discussion?

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    I still identify with Lancashire personally. I was born here and never moved!

    To be honest the "Rodstock War of The Roses" never really took off from my memory and anyone who says otherwise has the rose tinted spectacles on. My abiding memory is that Yorkshire always desperately wanted it whilst the Lancashire team were less enthusiastic
    I can't see any revival being any more successful to be honest.
    I was a huge fan of international RL. I went down under in 1992 to watch an excellent GB side narrowly fail to run the Ashes. Not come any closer since.
    As years gone by become less and less interested the international game. More interested in club football now.
    I understand the attention international sport gets and RU prime example but I just don't feel it's ever going to really take off for our game. Happy to be proved wrong obviously.
    The pricing of the world cup tickets suggests the organisers are out of step with public feeling for me.

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