Gavin Willacy

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What are England’s plans for hosting the next Rugby League World Cup?

The man responsible for organising the tournament discusses TV plans, legacy and the role Middlesbrough could play in 2021By Gavin Willacy for No Helmets RequiredWith local authorities submitting bids to host games and teams at the 2021 Rugby League Wo…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/no-helmets-required/2018/jul/31/rugby-league-world-cup-england-2021

The Super 8s are causing mayhem in the Super League. And it’s great fun

Every minute of action in the Super League and Championship will matter this weekend – especially for troubled Leeds RhinosBy Gavin Willacy for No Helmets RequiredWhen Super League launched the Super 8s system a few years ago, they did so with the tagl…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/no-helmets-required/2018/jul/19/rugby-league-super-8s-super-league-championship-leeds-rhinos

What rugby league should learn from the World Cup in Russia

Players do not need to be born in the country they represent but they do need to build those international bonds over timeBy Gavin Willacy for No Helmets RequiredThe World Cup has shown rugby league fans there are a few things we need to stop worrying …

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/no-helmets-required/2018/jul/03/rugby-league-learn-world-cup-russia

‘I can’t wait’: Stefan Ratchford on England v New Zealand in Denver

Ratchford is loving his time with ‘relaxed bloke’ Wayne Bennett and thinks rugby league has ‘enormous’ potential in the USBy Gavin Willacy for No Helmets RequiredEngland coach Wayne Bennett is not the man you think he is. That’s according to Stefan Rat…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/no-helmets-required/2018/jun/21/stefan-ratchford-england-new-zealand-wayne-bennett-denver-test

‘I’d have loved this’: Kevin Sinfield on England v New Zealand in Denver

Kevin Sinfield captained England in his playing days. Now he is trying to turn the team into World Cup winners By Gavin Willacy for No Helmets RequiredKevin Sinfield had a remarkable playing career. He captained Leeds to seven Super League titles, play…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/no-helmets-required/2018/jun/20/kevin-sinfield-england-new-zealand-denver-test

London Sevens offered a perfect template for rugby league nines

Let’s hope the people in charge of promoting rugby league were among the crowd of 50,000 at Twickenham on SaturdayBy Gavin Willacy for No Helmets RequiredAround 50,000 people went to a rugby event last Saturday. They all seemed to have a ball, cheering…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/no-helmets-required/2018/jun/08/london-sevens-rugby-league-nines-sevens-union-england

What does the future hold for rugby league’s weakest pro clubs?

League 1 clubs should all have a clear purpose, whether that is producing players, promoting the sport, or representing an areaBy Gavin Willacy for No Helmets RequiredBradford Bulls were missed at the Summer Bash in Blackpool at the weekend. While a fe…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/no-helmets-required/2018/may/30/rugby-league-weakest-clubs-league-one-bradford-bulls

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