Gavin Willacy

Author's posts

Toulouse aim for Super League under sheep-farming coach Sylvain Houles

In praise of the Toulouse Olympique coach; rugby league makes Eurovision look sensible; and a football-related teaserBy Gavin Willacy for No Helmets RequiredBefore their second-half meltdown at Warrington on Sunday, most fans assumed any new overseas t…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/no-helmets-required/2018/may/15/rugby-league-toulouse-olympique-toronto-wolfpack-houles-challenge-cup

Toronto Wolfpack are on their way to the Super League, so get used to it

A Canadian club reaching the top flight would not please everyone but they could bring something exciting to the partyBy Gavin Willacy for No Helmets RequiredWith half of the regular season done, it’s already looking like Huddersfield will have to see …

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/no-helmets-required/2018/apr/30/toronto-wolfpack-super-league-championship-rugby

Rugby league finally has a national women’s competition to celebrate

Leeds Rhinos pulled off an upset against Bradford Bulls in the first weekend of the new seven-team Women’s Super League By Gavin Willacy for No Helmets RequiredSo often the innovators, rugby league has been lagging behind other sports in establishing a…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/no-helmets-required/2018/apr/19/rugby-league-womens-super-league-st-helens-bradford-leeds

Super League’s global growth may expose England’s low-income clubs

If Super League becomes an elite 10-team global league, English clubs will have to rethink their commercial operations to compete with new teams from Toronto, New York and beyondBy Gavin Willacy for No Helmets RequiredIf you were watching Sky Sports la…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/no-helmets-required/2018/mar/28/super-league-wigan-hull-st-helens-warrington-toronto-new-york-boston-perth

Welsh rugby league has a remarkable past – and a promising future

The BBC’s documentary about Welsh rugby players swapping union for league was fantastic. But the country’s relationship with the 13-man game is far from overBy Gavin Willacy for No Helmets RequiredIt is not often a documentary about rugby league gets m…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/no-helmets-required/2018/mar/16/wales-rugby-league-union-codebreakers

What next in rugby league’s obsessive pursuit of the perfect structure?

London Broncos defy the odds; Toronto Wolfpack suffer a shock; and a rugby league player excels at the Winter OlympicsBy Gavin Willacy for No Helmets RequiredRugby League’s obsessive belief that changing how many teams are in each division is the root …

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/no-helmets-required/2018/feb/27/rugby-league-structure-super-london-toronto-winter-olympics

Wigan and Hull’s trip to Australia shows Super League suits the road

The success of the first Super League game outside of Europe should inspire clubs to explore other cities around the worldBy Gavin Willacy for No Helmets RequiredEven before the friendlies in Sydney this weekend, Wigan and Hull’s trip to New South Wale…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/no-helmets-required/2018/feb/14/wigan-hull-australia-super-league-on-the-road

Super League: what we learned from the first round of fixtures

St Helens showed why they are favourites to win Super League in their thumping 46-6 win over CastlefordBy Gavin Willacy for No Helmets RequiredSo the bookies are right again. St Helens showed exactly why they are favourites to win Super League; Castlef…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/no-helmets-required/2018/feb/07/super-league-st-helens-castleford-catalans-hull-salford

Wigan coach Shaun Wane is feeling upbeat before a make or break season

Wigan Warriors are not nailed on for a top-four finish in Super League this season but they have an abundance of young talentBy Gavin Willacy for No Helmets RequiredWigan fans have had it pretty good in recent years. They have won three Super League ti…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/no-helmets-required/2018/jan/24/wigan-warriors-shaun-wane-super-league-season

Will new rugby league clubs in the US and Canada pick up college footballers?

Youngsters who do not make it in the NFL could take up a new career if rugby league clubs spring up in New York, Boston, Hamilton or PhiladelphiaBy Gavin Willacy for No Helmets Required, part of the Guardian Sport NetworkSo that was the off-season: thr…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/no-helmets-required/2017/dec/22/rugby-league-nfl-college-football-us

Rugby league: 13 lessons the sport should learn for the next World Cup

The organisers of the 2021 World Cup should maximise TV audiences, appoint neutral referees, give players more rest and rethink scheduling and qualificationBy Gavin Willacy for No Helmets Required, part of the Guardian Sport NetworkWatching the final a…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/no-helmets-required/2017/dec/13/rugby-league-world-cup-england-australia-2021

England aim to end 45 years of hurt in Rugby League World Cup final

England may have lost 12 straight matches against Australia but they have enough quality to upset the Kangaroos in Brisbane on SaturdayBy Gavin Willacy for No Helmets Required, part of the Guardian Sport NetworkThe Kangaroos have won all their prelimin…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/no-helmets-required/2017/nov/30/england-aim-to-end-45-years-of-hurt-in-rugby-league-world-cup-final

England go looking for their first World Cup final since 1995 – and a head coach

Wayne Bennett’s contract runs out after the World Cup. If he wants to bow out at the top, Leeds Rhinos and USA head coach Brian McDermott is ready for the jobBy Gavin Willacy for No Helmets Required, part of the Guardian Sport NetworkA couple of days b…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/no-helmets-required/2017/nov/22/england-rugby-league-world-cup-coach

What next for the Celtic nations after early exits at Rugby League World Cup?

Five of the six European countries at the World Cup have been knocked out at the group stage. They need to develop more players in new territories to competeBy Gavin Willacy for No Helmets Required, part of the Guardian Sport NetworkThere are some simp…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/no-helmets-required/2017/nov/15/rugby-league-world-cup-australia-england-scotland-wales-ireland

Rugby League World Cup mismatches look bad but don’t belittle weaker teams

Wales and USA could be in line to join the big time; Scotland’s drunk players treated their coach and country with contempt; and Tonga v Fiji could be tastyBy Gavin Willacy for No Helmets Required, part of the Guardian Sport NetworkWhen 25 players pile…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/no-helmets-required/2017/nov/07/rugby-league-world-cup-scotland-wales-fiji-australia

Wales face Fiji desperate for their first Rugby League World Cup win in 17 years

‘We let ourselves down badly last time but are looking to make up for it with our first World Cup win for a very long time,’ says Wales captain Craig KopczakBy Gavin Willacy for No Helmets Required, part of the Guardian Sport NetworkEvery World Cup has…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/no-helmets-required/2017/nov/04/wales-rugby-league-world-cup-after-previous-failures