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5 Live Rugby League

A weekly podcast from BBC Radio 5 Live featuring the latest rugby news, analysis and interview. With contributions from Dave Woods, Stuart Pyke, coaches and players.

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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No World Cup, but England are back

In the final episode of the season, in what should have been the final days leading up to the start of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup, we turn our attention to international rugby league, as England’s men and women prepare to take on France in a double-header in Perpignan on Saturday. Correspondent Dave Woods is joined by St Helens and England stars Alex Walmsley and Amy Hardcastle to discuss their club side’s heroics this season and their pride of pulling on the England jersey again. Wales head coach, and former England and France head coach, John Kear also joins the pod to discuss the growth of the international game and his thoughts for 2022.

46mins

21 Oct 2021

Rank #1

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St Helens do the ‘three-peat’ and 2021 season review

In the penultimate episode of the season, correspondent Dave Woods is joined by the Bradford and Wales head coach John Kear, the former Great Britain halfback Iestyn Harris, and BBC rugby league commentator Matt Newsum to dissect Saturday’s Super League Grand Final, in which St Helens beat Catalans Dragons 12-10 to secure their third consecutive Grand Final triumph to make them the most successful club of the Super League era with a ninth title. The panel discuss where this Saints side ranks on the list of great title-winning teams and how Catalans can build on their historic maiden Grand Final appearance, as well discussing their best moments of the 2021 season.

34mins

12 Oct 2021

Rank #2

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History in the making for French Rugby League

On this week's episode, correspondent Dave Woods is joined by Perpignan-based Rugby League journalist Steve Brady and Toulouse Olympique star Johnathon Ford to look ahead to potentially a historic weekend for French Rugby League, with Catalans Dragons just 80 minutes away from their maiden Super League Grand Final appearance and Toulouse Olympique just 80 minutes away from the ‘Million Pound Game’, which could see them promoted to Super League in 2022. The team discuss the growth of the sport in the South of France ahead of the country hosting the Rugby League World Cup in 2025.

41mins

28 Sep 2021

Rank #3

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The Fans View on Rugby League

On this week's episode, correspondent Dave Woods is joined by Kevin Rye, Director of Think Fan Engagement, whose organisation has surveyed over 1,000 fans from across Rugby League’s top three divisions to get their views on the current state of the sport in the UK. The survey shows the vast majority of fans of Rugby League feel cut off from decisions at both their club and the governing bodies - Super League and the RFL. The survey also indicates that, although a few fans felt their clubs listened to them, the vast majority report a negative view of the way clubs engage and communicate with them. Many were scathing at how ignored they are in major decisions, including rebranding, changes of identity and name and stadium relocations. Other major issues included the RFL’s poor engagement with fans, and broadcaster Sky Sports changing kick-off times - something fans of football have themselves regularly complained about for years. England wheelchair star and World Cup ambassador James Simpson also joins the podcast to talk about his Leeds Rhinos side completing an unprecedented treble after beating Leyland Warriors in Sunday's Wheelchair Super League Grand Final.

45mins

21 Sep 2021

Rank #4

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What next for Rugby League in the UK?

On this week's episode, correspondent Dave Woods is joined by two of the rugby league’s most high profile administrators – RFL CEO Ralph Rimmer and RFL Chair Simon Johnson – to discuss the current state of the sport and their plans moving forward, including answering listeners questions on the future of rugby league in the UK. We’re also joined by Salford halfback Kevin Brown ahead of his final ever game of rugby league on Friday before retirement, and Kav Ellison, ambassador for Team Colostomy UK, the rugby league side looking to end the stigma surrounding stomas and provide inspiration for others in their situation.

1hr

14 Sep 2021

Rank #5

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What's going on at Wigan?

On this week's episode, correspondent Dave Woods is joined by Salford halfback Kevin Brown, Wigan Today sports editor Phil Wilkinson, and Daily Mirror rugby league correspondent Gareth Walker to discuss what's going on at Wigan following their heavy defeat to local rivals St Helens and the uncertainty over the future of head coach Adrian Lam. We also discuss which six clubs will make the end of season playoffs with just five weeks of the regular season remaining and ask whether Leigh can make a late survival push after winning their first game of the season at the 17th attempt.

42mins

24 Aug 2021

Rank #6

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12 months to save rugby league

On this week's episode, Correspondent Dave Woods is joined by Hull FC chairman and owner Adam Pearson and the St Helens and Ireland prop forward Kyle Amor to discuss the current plight of Super League. Pearson says the sport will be "dead" in 12 months if it doesn't make itself more appealing to the younger generation and bring in private investment. We also look ahead to this week's Super League Rivals Round, which, in most cases, pits clubs against their local rivals, including Pearson's Hull FC up against Hull KR and Amor's Saints up against Wigan.

42mins

18 Aug 2021

Rank #7

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2022 Challenge Cup Final moves to Tottenham

On this week's episode, correspondent Dave Woods is joined by Salford halfback Kevin Brown and Leeds Rhinos assistant coach Jamie Jones Buchanan to discuss next season’s Challenge Cup Final moving across North London from Wembley to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and whether a new Champions League-style format could revitalise the competition. We also reflect on Chris Chester’s surprise sacking as Wakefield head coach and ask whether the Super League season should be extended following the postponement of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.

42mins

12 Aug 2021

Rank #8

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Rugby League World Cup Postponed to 2022

On this week's episode, correspondent Dave Woods is joined by England player and RLWC2021 tournament ambassador Jodie Cunningham, Wales head coach John Kear and Brad Walter, senior journalist for NRL.com in Sydney, to discuss the immediate fallout to the decision, and whether the tournament can be a success in 2022.

45mins

5 Aug 2021

Rank #9

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Rugby League is its "least healthy in my 21 years here in England”

On this week's episode, Correspondent Dave Woods is joined by the Hull KR head coach, and former England head coach, Tony Smith, whose Rovers side are undertaking five days of quarantine after returning to the UK after being asked to play Catalans Dragons at short notice due to Covid cancellations. Previous to that, they hadn’t had a game since June 19. Salford Red Devils halfback Kevin Brown also joins the podcast from isolation following a breakout of Covid in the Salford squad, meaning their next two games have been postponed. The panel discuss whether the season will be completed and how rugby league develops as a sport post pandemic. We also ask whether the 2021 Rugby League World Cup can survive without Australia and New Zealand.

44mins

27 Jul 2021

Rank #10