RUGBY LEAGUE SET TO REACH CHINA AS WORLD NINES SPREADS WINGS
A GROUP of Chinese athletes is set to learn rugby league, training with NRL clubs as the game continues to spread its wings via Nines Football.
Nines is shaping as the league equivalent of T20 cricket, faster and shorter than the more traditional game and appealing to a far wider audience.
And it has attracted the interest of the world’s largest country, China – 1.386 billion people – thanks to the efforts of veteran league official Paul Broughton.
Former Balmain and Newtown coach Paul Broughton has arranged a true World Nines tournament in Samoa next October including China, India and the USA.
There is no rugby league as such in China – but Broughton, who has been travelling to China making contacts for over 30 years, aims to change that.
“China has become a world sporting powerhouse but they don’t play any real collision sports,” Broughton says.
“They are very keen to get involved in league and we will send coaches over to identify talent.
“The one thing about the Chinese, they work hard at whatever task you set them.
“They could become a real force in time, as they have in other sports.”
The Prime Minister of Samoa has backed the tournament in Apia next October, which could be a breakthrough for league on the world stage.