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World Cup climax can be the catalyst for rugby league to take new direction | Aaron Bower

The 2017 knockout stages could be the most exciting yet but the international game remains undervalued, particularly in the northern hemisphere

As the World Cup enters the knockout stages it is difficult to gauge the mood surrounding what should be the sport’s most important and prestigious tournament.

While things have played out largely as expected, it is the feelgood stories that will live longest in the memory. Whether it is the way Papua New Guinea have proved to be such wonderful hosts, playing in front of sellout crowds in Port Moresby, Samoa and Tonga’s spine-tingling pre-game tête-à-tête or the encouraging progress of some smaller nations, there is much to sit back and smile about.

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