RUGBY League will struggle to gain a foothold in South Africa because of the country's strong rugby tradition, according to Group Three president Wayne Bridge.
However, he added, where there's life, there's hope.
Bridge, from Wingham, is just back from an 11 day tour of the republic as manager of the NSW Country team. Taree's Des Raward was one of the trainers.
Country played two games and won both comfortably, beating a combined clubs side 50-0 and the national team 58-18.
Bridge said there's plenty of enthusiasm among players and supporters for the game.
"But they're only just re-establishing league and certainly their skill levels were down on the Country players,'' Bridge said.
However, officials are ambitious. So-much-so that South Africa will bid to host the World Cup in 2017.
"They probably won't get it I'd say the Australia/New Zealand bid will win out. But they are thinking ahead,'' Bridge said.
Country coach David Barnhill has suggested that South Africa eventually host a World Club Challenge match as a way of promoting the game there.
"They'd certainly have the facilities to hold it there,'' Bridge said.
"The High Performance Complex we stayed in at Pretoria was absolutely fantastic. Unbelievable, really.''
He understands the recently recognised South African Rugby League hopes to organise an exchange program with Australia.
"They're hoping to send players over here to improve the skill levels, or we could send coaches over there to help out,'' he said.
While neither game attracted particularly big crowds, Bridge said the spectators were right behind the locals.
"Everytime they'd make a break or if there was a big hit the crowd would get right into it,'' he said.
Meanwhile the 2013 Group Three season will finally come to an end tonight when the judiciary is convened to hear cases against Old Bar forwards Tom Alchin and Brendan Clarke along with Forster-Tuncurry winger Wayne Paulson.
Alchin is hoping to have charges against him downgraded after he was sent off in the grand final against Wauchope while Clarke and Paulson were cited by the group management and charged with bringing the game into disrepute.
Group Three's annual meeting will be held at the Wingham Services Club on Sunday November 17.