The Toronto Wolfpack's Rugby Super League Dream
Rugby League In Canada
While the earliest roots of Rugby League in Canada can be traced back to the 19th century, the sport has failed to overcome competition from both Rugby Union and Canadian Football; the latter has dominated the sporting landscape in the country for over one hundred years and developed into the CFL we know today. However, a revival of the sport is well and truly underway, and it all started in 2010 with the development of Canada Rugby League.
The sporting body aims to bring a domestic competition to Canada and also increase the presence of a national team. To further boost the sport in the region, it was announced in 2016 that the 2025 Rugby League World Cup will be co-hosted by the United States and Canada.
On the back of this revival, the Toronto Wolfpack were formed, however instead of joining the domestic competition, the Wolfpack deemed that the Toronto public deserved to see high class rugby league in order to gain an appreciation for the sport. For this reason, the Wolfpack entered into the divisions of the English Rugby Football League.
The Wolfpack's Road to the Super League
Rugby League in England is a three-tier competition that features promotion and relegation, similar to how soccer works in both the U.K. and all major European countries. The top division is known as the 'English Super League', the second is known as 'The Championship' and the third known as 'League 1'. The English Super League is the premier northern hemisphere competition.
The Wolfpack were accepted into the competition in 2017 (League 1), becoming the sixteenth team in the division and joining clubs from England and Wales. Their aim is to become the first Canadian side to reach the lucrative Super League and further boost the profile of the sport in the country. Let's take a look at the long and complicated road the Wolfpack must take to achieve this goal.
While the Toronto Wolfpack have a solid financial backing, have signed some high profile players and could well match it with some of the best teams in England already, entering the Super League is not a rite of passage regardless of how far along your club is.
This is why the Wolfpack will start at the bottom and will be required to work their way up. Perhaps they should employ Drake as a motivational speaker?
League 1 is the entry point and they will compete in a fifteen-match regular season against the other sixteen clubs in the division. To minimise travel, Toronto will have several home games in a row followed by several road fixtures throughout the season.
At the end of the regular season, the league will be split in two halves: the top eight teams will move into the Super 8's and will each play seven more fixtures against the other teams that finished in the top half, while the bottom eight teams will do likewise.
The difference will be that only the top eight teams will have a chance to move forward into the playoffs. Competition points carry over from the regular season.
The Playoffs feature the top five teams at the conclusion of the Super 8's. The first game is known as the Promotion Final and is contested by the top two teams, with the winner gaining automatic promotion to The Championship for the following season. The loser of this match will embark in an elimination playoff series where they will face off against the fifth-placed team, third-place plays fourth, and the winner of each complete for the second and final promotion place.
If the Toronto Wolfpack can navigate their way through the League 1, Super 8's and Playoffs and gain promotion to The Championship, they will embark on an even longer season in a twelve team competition where each team plays each other twice, again followed by a Super 8's competition. It is safe to say that if the Wolfpack do eventually make it to the Super League, they will have well and truly earned it. We told you it was complex!
Betting on the Toronto Wolfpack
Entry into the Rugby Football League also means that the Wolfpack have an opportunity to compete in one of the oldest and most prestigious Rugby League knockout competitions in the world - The Challenge Cup. The Cup dates back to 1896 and involves over one hundred rugby league, predominantly from the U.K.
While winning the Challenge Cup will certainly be no easy task for Toronto, who would need to beat some of the Super League's best teams if they were to do so, it opens up another amazing opportunity that we may be talking about a little further down the road. From 2015, the winner of the Challenge Cup also participates in the World Club Series, featuring the best club sides from the National Rugby League based in Australia.
At present, the only time you can bet on a Toronto Wolfpack game is when they feature in the Challenge Cup tournament. There are very few betting opportunities for regular season matches as they are still in one of the lower leagues of English Rugby League, however as they move up to The Championship and potentially the Super League, the top online sportsbooks will begin to include the Wolfpack in their markets.
You can be sure that we will keep you up to date on all the betting opportunities as they come to light and provide you with the best selection of odds and lines when available.
It will be great to see how far the Wolfpack can go, and at their current rate they present Canada with a real opportunity to get around a new sport and a fantastic new team. Perhaps one day the league will expand further and other Canadian cities will get involved, but for now it's all about the Wolfpack so make sure you support your team!
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