Alex Massie

Rugby League Pipedreams

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Here's today's nominee for Most Deluded Man in Britain (Non-Government Division):

Wigan head coach Brian Noble believes Super League clubs should be buying up rugby union's big stars.

The former GB coach is advocating the scheme in order to bring more British and Irish talent into the sport.

"Every club should be given a remit to sign one union home nations player," Noble told The Super League Show.

"Just imagine the national headlines our game would generate for bringing the likes of a Jonny Wilkinson or a Brian O'Driscoll across." Just imagine! Well that's all you can do, isn't it? I can't think of a single reason why any leading rugby union player would want to switch to league these days. Can you? Rugby league partisans will doubtless say their game is more skilfull and, well, "better" and that's fine. Each to each is what we teach and all that. But there's more chance of me - or you! - being picked for the Lions this summer than there is of any leading union star defecting to league.

League fans like to think their players are better but all we can say is that they're better than union players at playing rugby league. They're certainly not very good at playing rugby union. Jason Robinson aside, has any league star who did not grow up playing union made a splash in union? Not many anyway and some, such as Andy Farrell or Iestyn Harris have been expensive embarrasments to the unions paying their wages. (True, plenty of union players disappointed in league, but that was then and this is now.)

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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