John Dathan isn’t exactly watching the results of his work at the Rugby World Cup – and he’s not angry that he’s not angry.

Instead, he waits ahead. It is important that the NRL, which raises the prospect of participation of Australia and New Zealand next year.


Rugby World Cup executive director John Daton uses the tournament’s delay as a reason to “build better”.Credit: SWPIX.COM

If everything was “normal”, the general manager of the tournament Dathan would be here, there and everywhere, watching the matches during the group stage of the show.

However, the release of “Kangaroo” and “Kiwi”, when it was played this year – to a large extent before the insidious NRL clubs put themselves in front of countries – forced to postpone until 2022.

This meant additional costs in terms of salaries for the organizing team and hope for a lot of goodwill from both the venues and from the UK government.

But instead of lying around, he believes that something good could come out of the mess, as a revised schedule of the tournament will be published this month, which will now take place from October 15 to November 19, 2022.

Datan said: “We overcame the disappointment. We felt sorry for ourselves for a couple of weeks. Now we are focused on putting something that will be even bigger and better.

    Australian Rugby League boss Peter V'landis refused to take part in the Rugby World Cup when it was played this year


Australian Rugby League boss Peter V’landis refused to take part in the Rugby World Cup when it was played this yearCredit: NRL PHOTOS

“We have learned a few lessons from everything we have gone through, but we are thrilled with what we are now able to do next year.

“The lessons were centered around relationships. We had to rebuild some and we would be in a better place for that.

“In the midst of Covid-19’s moment and planning, there may have been some things we couldn’t do that we could do next year.

“Things like interacting with the public and accessing teams are what make the tournament special.

“With the deferral there were costs, we have a company to keep working, but it’s more about wages than about commercial profits – all our partners have stayed with us and we don’t see anything but opportunities.

    Australia barely beat England in the 2017 World Cup final


Australia barely beat England in the 2017 World Cup finalCredit: Getty Images – Getty

“I didn’t think what I would do when the tournament was to start. One thing, however, I did not do – feel sorry for myself.

“October 15 and November 19 next year are much more important than what was supposed to happen on Saturday, the opening match.”

The main relationships that need to be restored are those that have broken with the Australian Rugby League Commission and the New Zealand Rugby League for the way they acted.

Cricket parties from both are in the Middle East at the World T20, rugby parties from both will be in this country at the autumn international tournament.

But Dathan is confident that things are starting to look better in terms of the fact that next year a repeat will not happen – and the support of the government remains.

    John Datan insists he is looking forward to 2022 rather than returning in anger


John Datan insists he is looking forward to 2022 rather than returning in angerCredit: SWPIX.COM

He added: “We have had really positive conversations and we are all looking forward rather than looking back. We can either spend a lot of time looking at what happened and why, or we can wait ahead.

“And I feel like they’re also looking forward to it. Everyone appreciates that the International Rugby League has a role to play in the future growth of the sport.

“The government also remains absolutely committed. We work hand in hand with them, and if it weren’t for their support, we wouldn’t be in the position we are in.

“And without wanting to sound political, we can build better.”


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