Stalwart - disagree with your comment on Rugby League. RL players are much fitter and have greater skills than RU players. I have been a Pirates supporter/player (second 15 I might add, as they used to be called) for over 50 years. I follow both codes - Wigan with my R/L, and do a couple of trips a season to watch them. I still enjoy both codes.
One thing that I should have learnt in many years of reading Internet forums about a variety of sports is that supporters of different sports will never agree on which sport / sport's participants are "better", bit I will bite!
How would you qualify your statement that RL players are filler and more skilful than RU players? They are different games, RL would dominate RU players in tests specific to their sport and vice versa. For example are RU players as good at offloading in contact as RL players? No - they have the added worry of trying to protect the ball. Are RL players as skilful in the tackle as RU players? No - the laws prevent them from trying to win / needing to protect the ball in contact.
Over the years, I've heard all the arguments:
Football: "Egg chasers are closet homosexual meat heads"
Rugby: "Footballers are a bunch of lawn fairies"
Gridiron: "Rugby players are a bunch of slow weaklings"
Rugby: "Gridiron is full of fat blokes who need pads to play a contact sport"
Etc, etc. Personally I am a SPORT fan whose primary interest is Rugby Union. Some sports I enjoy watching, some don't do a lot for me, but I am yet to find a sport that doesn't impress me in at least one aspect of the qualities of the participants. Not that I am accusing you of this, but I really don't understand why supporters of one sport feel the need to belittle other sports and their supporters / competitors. A thread about American Football on this forum was a classic example, the suggestion that it's an interesting sport and that there are things that rugby could learn from it was met with quite a rude, vitriolic "take it somewhere else" attitude from a select few narrow minded posters.
Agree about Southern Hemisphere teams, getting closer, but will never master them!
To me, the undefeated build up to the 2003 world cup (including holding out with 13 men in Wellington), the subsequent undefeated World Cup campaign and the period as world number 1 counts as mastering them to me. Sadly we couldn't sustain it.