International game needs long-term strategy: Wood

RLIF chairman Nigel Wood is hoping that a ten-year plan devised by the game will help prevent top Rugby League stars being lured into other sports.

Wood, the Rugby Football League chief executive who was voted in as chairman of the International Federation this year, admits the game needs to act to make its international aspect more attractive in the wake of the most recent high-profile defections.

England forward Sam Burgess is in the process of switching codes to join Bath, while Australian back Jarryd Hayne pulled out of the forthcoming Four Nations Series to try his hand at American football.

“I think the international game is under-developed by reference to what it is capable of,” said Wood.

“We all know what the challenges are in terms of the number of nations that are legitimate contenders for the big prizes.

“I think there has to be a long-term strategy to grow more nations. In the long run, you need six to eight decent nations to put on really great world events.

“The International Federation needs to work with both the RFL and the NRL to help grow those nations over the fastest possible period of time.”