Gavin Willacy

Author's posts

What next for Wigan and Warrington after the Super League Grand Final?

Warrington’s title drought goes on for another year, but will Wigan be vulnerable next season after their triumph?By Gavin Willacy for No Helmets RequiredGritty, nerve-wracking and desperate it might have been but, remove the extraordinary emotional so…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/no-helmets-required/2018/oct/16/wigan-warrington-super-league-grand-final

Six clubs battle for Super League places as Qualifiers reach crazy climax

Leeds, Salford, Toronto, Hull KR, Toulouse and London Broncos are all aiming to secure their Super League statusBy Gavin Willacy for No Helmets RequiredThis week will take some beating for entertainment: four games to decide six clubs’ future. Any of t…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/no-helmets-required/2018/sep/26/super-league-places-qualifiers-leeds-salford-toronto-hull-kr-toulouse-and-london-broncos

Enjoy the tortuous Qualifiers one last time before Super League is revamped

Expect the big clubs to hit the top flight soon; Ukraine and Malta dream on; and a teaser for Castleford and Wakefield fansBy Gavin Willacy for No Helmets RequiredSo this is it: the last time we can guilty enjoy the eight-stage torture that is the Qual…

Permanent link to this article: http://sportgnome.com/blog/2018/09/21/enjoy-the-tortuous-qualifiers-one-last-time-before-super-league-is-revamped/

Relegation took Eloi Pelissier’s house and job. Now he dreams of promotion

Pelissier hit rock bottom when Leigh went down last year but London Broncos could be his ticket back to the Super LeagueBy Gavin Willacy for No Helmets RequiredThe best story in rugby league right now is not at the top of the Super League, but in the f…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/no-helmets-required/2018/sep/13/eloi-pelissier-leigh-centurions-london-broncos-super-league-relegation

Catalans Dragons’ uplifting triumph showed off rugby league’s global roots

Steve McNamara’s cosmopolitan lot are the first team to have taken the famous cup out of England. They may not be the lastBy Gavin Willacy for No Helmets RequiredBy hanging on in nerve-jangling fashion to lift the Challenge Cup on Saturday, Catalans Dr…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/no-helmets-required/2018/aug/28/catalans-dragons-challenge-cup-uplifting-triumph-rugby-league-warrington

Leeds Rhinos all but secure Super League status in season to forget

Leeds fans can relax; Widnes are struggling in the Qualifiers; sponsorship is out of control; NRL clubs reign supremeBy Gavin Willacy for No Helmets RequiredAnd breathe, Leeds fans, breathe. Baring a calamitous collapse, the Rhinos will still be in the…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/no-helmets-required/2018/aug/20/leeds-rhinos-super-league-horror-season-london-broncos

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