10 Russian Words Impossible to Translate Into English

1. Poshlost

Russian-American writer Vladimir Nabokov, who lectured on Slavic Studies to students in America, admitted that he couldn’t translate this word, which every Russian easily understands.

What is poshlost (пошлость)?

Nabokov gives the following example: “Open any magazine and you’ll certainly find something like this – a family just bought a radio (a car, a refrigerator, silverware, it doesn’t matter), and the mother is clapping her hands, mad with joy, the children gathered around her with their mouths agape; the baby and the dog are leaning towards the table on which the `idol’ has been hoisted… a bit to the side victoriously stands the father, the proud breadwinner.

The intense “poshlosity” of such a scene comes not from the false exaggeration of the dignity of a particular useful object, but from the assumption that the greatest joy can be bought and that such a purchase ennobles the buyer.”

“This word includes triviality, vulgarity, sexual promiscuity and soullessness,” added the late Professor Svetlana Boym from Harvard University.

2. Nadryv

German Wikipedia has an entire article dedicated to the word nadryv (надрыв). This is a key concept in the writings of Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky.

The word describes an uncontrollable emotional outburst, when a person releases intimate, deeply hidden feelings.

Moreover, Dostoevsky’s nadryv implies a situation in which the protagonist indulges in the thought that he can find in his soul something that may not even exist.

That’s why the nadryv often expressed imaginary, excessively exaggerated and distorted feelings. One part of the novel, Brothers Karamazov, is called “Nadryvs.”

3. Khamstvo

Soviet émigré writer Sergei Dovlatov wrote about this phenomenon in the article “This Untranslatable Khamstvo,” commenting that “Khamstvo is nothing other than rudeness, arrogance and insolence multiplied by impunity.”

In Dovlatov’s view, it’s with impunity that khamstvo (хамство) outright kills us.

It’s impossible to fight it; you can only resign yourself to it. “I’ve lived in this mad, wonderful, horrifying New York for ten years and am amazed by the absence of khamstvo. Anything can happen to you here, but there’s no khamstvo. You can be robbed but no one will shut the door in your face,” added the writer.

4. Stushevatsya

Some linguists believe stushevatsya (стушеваться) was introduced by Fyodor Dostoevsky, who used it for the first time in a figurative sense in his novella, The Double. This word means to be less noticeable, go to the background, lose an important role, noticeably leave the scene, become confused in an awkward or unexpected situation, become meek.

5. Toska

This Russian word can be translated as “emotional pain,” or “melancholy,” but this does not transmit all of its depth. Vladimir Nabokov wrote that, “Not one word in English can transmit all the nuances of toska (тоска). This is a feeling of spiritual suffering without any particular reason. On a less dolorous level, it’s the indistinct pain of the soul…vague anxiety, nostalgia, amorous longing.”

6. Bytie

This word comes from the Russian byt’(to exist). In Russian-English dictionaries this philosophical concept is translated as “being.” However, bytie (бытие) is not just life or existence, it’s the existence of an objective reality that is independent of human consciousness (cosmos, nature, matter).

7. Bespredel

Eliot Borenstein, professor of Slavic Studies at New York University, explains that bespredel (беспредел) literally means “without restrictions or limits.” Translators often use “lawlessness” (bezzakonie). In Russian, however, the meaning of bespredel is much broader, and refers to the behavior of a person who violates not only the law, but also moral and social norms.

8. Avos’

It’s rather difficult to explain to people of other nationalities what this means. Interestingly, many people believe that avos’ (авось) is the main Russian national trait. Hoping for the avos’ means doing something without planning, without putting in much effort, counting on success.

9. Yurodivy

Yurodivys (юродивые) in ancient Rus’ were people who voluntarily renounced earthly pleasures in the name of Christ. Such people looked like madmen, and led a wandering lifestyle with the aim of obtaining inner peace and defeating the root of all sin – pride. They were valued and were considered close to God. Their opinions and prophecies were taken into consideration and they were even feared.

10. Podvig

This word is often translated into English as “feat” or “achievement,” but it has other meanings. Podvig (подвиг) is not just a result, or the achievement of an objective; it’s a brave and heroic act, an action performed in difficult circumstances. Russian literature often mentions military, civilian podvigs and even scientific podvigs. Moreover, this word is a synonym for selfless acts, for example, a podvig in the name of love.

Source: Russia Beyond the Headlines

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Long covid – How the pressure is being felt in English hospitals | Britain

TO THOSE WHO receive them, vaccines offer fast protection, with effects kicking in just a few weeks afterwards. For health-care systems, though, the protection takes a little longer—as those working in English hospitals are now acutely aware.

In all 32,689 National Health Service beds are currently occupied by people with covid-19, 50% more than in last year’s peak. Modelling by the Covid-19 Actuaries Response Group suggests that because of the slow start to the roll-out, even if everything goes to plan, hospital admissions will not decline sharply until early February.

Intensive-care admissions will take still longer. The government has jabbed the oldest first. Yet the elderly tend not to end up in intensive-care units, because they don’t do well on ventilators (the average age of covid-19 patients on critical-care wards is a sprightly 60). Thus the actuaries think intensive-care admissions won’t drop much until the end of February.

The modelling is based on the assumption that cases will remain at current levels. That is not too far off what many in the health service are now expecting. Growth in cases seems to have halted, but the lockdown may not force a fast decline in infections, because of the increased transmissibility of the new variant.

The result will be a period of sustained pressure on hospitals. London’s and the south-east’s have so far borne the brunt of this wave. Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, a representative group, says he is worried about those in the north-west, which have patients in beds from the autumn, and the south-west, which has low capacity.

Politicians talk of the need to avoid “collapse”, implying a binary outcome where hospitals suddenly go from being able to provide care, to not. In reality there is a gradual ratcheting up of risk well in advance of such a moment. “It’s really important that nobody in the NHS should pretend that you will get the same quality of care or the same outcomes,” says Mr Hopson.

This can be seen in oxygen supplies. Since the first wave there has been a move to less-invasive breathing support, which requires lots of oxygen (as much as 60 litres a minute, compared with 15 for a ventilator). Piping—particularly in older institutions—is struggling, meaning some hospitals have reduced blood-oxygen targets to prevent systems from giving out. William Harrop-Griffiths of the Royal College of Anaesthetists says this is safe in itself, but leaves little wiggle room if, say, there is an interruption in the gas supply or if the patient’s lung function deteriorates.

It is a similar story in other areas of care. Some 6% of London’s ambulances are now delayed for longer than an hour, more than double the rate this time last year. Patient-to-staff ratios in critical care are rising, with reports suggesting three or four intensive-care patients to each specialist nurse in some places. That is lower than during the worst of the first wave, but well above the normal one-to-one ratio.

Efforts to free up capacity are getting increasingly unpleasant; ranging, in the capital, from booking hotel rooms for recuperating patients to cancelling cancer operations. The hope is that this will stop critical-care capacity being breached. Whether it works is still in the balance. Yet even if it does, it will come at a cost.

Editor’s note: Some of our covid-19 coverage is free for readers of The Economist Today, our daily newsletter. For more stories and our pandemic tracker, see our hub

This article appeared in the Britain section of the print edition under the headline “Long covid”

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English Premier League football players told to stop hugging or risk matches being stopped

The British government is increasingly alarmed by the sight of soccer players hugging and kissing in celebrations, risking coronavirus infections and the sport’s ability to be allowed to continue during the latest lockdown.

Outbreaks at Premier League teams, forcing the postponement of matches, have heightened concerns about the avoidable — and very visible — close contact between players.

“Everyone in the country has had to change the way they interact with people and ways of working,” Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston tweeted Wednesday.

“Footballers are no exception. COVID secure guidelines exist for football. Footballers must follow them and football authorities enforce them — strictly.”

Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, the Premier League has warned clubs that punishments will be handed out for flouting the rules.

Players have been told to avoid the very visible close contact between players that follows a goal.(AP: Rui Vieira, Pool)

The Football Association also expressed alarm at a lack of social distancing during last weekend’s FA Cup matches.

Huddleston linked on Twitter to a news story about the league’s letter to clubs which specified players should avoid handshakes, high-fives and hugs and that they were “fortunate to be able to continue to play”.

Those warnings have proven far easier to lay out than enforce, with the majority of goals still being celebrated with group hugs.

“It’s an emotional game,” Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said after his side’s 1-0 win over Burnley.

“We have to understand the players when they celebrate but also understand the concern nowadays for a bit of less emotions and less hugging.”

The league configured protocols for the return of games in March in conjunction with Jonathan Van-Tam, the deputy chief medical officer for England, who on Wednesday also urged players to avoid hugging and kissing.

“We are in a very dangerous place now,” Van-Tam said on LBC radio while discussing the issue.

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EU should stop speaking ‘broken English’ after Brexit, says French minister – POLITICO

The EU’s impenetrable “Globish” is dead. Long live le Français — or at least “linguistic diversity.”

With Brexit and the EU-U.K. trade deal finally concluded, the EU should stop speaking “a type of broken English, ” Clément Beaune, France’s EU affairs minister said Tuesday. Instead, concrete action is needed to enhance “linguistic diversity,” he told journalists.

“It will be harder for people to understand, after Brexit, that we all stick to a type of broken English,” Beaune said. “Let’s get used to speaking our languages again!”

Addressing reporters in French, Beaune said the EU27 had gotten used to working and holding discussions almost exclusively in English. “I believe we must get out of that,” he said. Like many national officials active in Brussels, Beaune himself speaks good English.

English has long been the EU’s main working language — especially after the last wave of enlargement brought in officials and diplomats from Central and Eastern European countries who had studied the language of Shakespeare rather than that of Voltaire.

However many complain the version used inside the Brussels bubble has developed into a type of “Globish” packed with non-native eccentricities.

With Britain now a non-EU country, there are only two, relatively small, EU members — Ireland and Malta — that still list English as an official language. And they use it alongside Irish and Maltese. For everybody else, English is, at best, a second language.

The use of English has become so widespread in Brussels that several institutions have made behind-the-scenes efforts to streamline costs or improve efficiency by prioritizing an English-only format or adding English to meetings where French was once used exclusively.

French officials, up to the very highest level, have long defended the use of their language in the EU.

Beaune did not explicitly advocate for French to replace English after Brexit. However, he said a post-Brexit Europe “which would work only in one language, would communicate only in one language would be a mistake.”

France will hold the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2022. In preparation, Beaune said, Paris would take “concrete initiatives” to enhance European languages. That will include language training, and making sure the EU institutions are “very vigilant” on language diversity in recruitment processes.

“It’s not a rearguard action or the fight of one single country,” Beaune said. “It is, truly, a fight for European linguistic diversity.”

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Coronavirus forcing English football into reckoning as Steve Bruce says it is ‘morally wrong’ to keep playing

After a string of postponed games and dozens of players going into self-isolation and with a new, more infectious strain of the virus on the rise, English football faces a COVID-19 reckoning.

The UK recorded 68,000 positive tests and a new record of 1,325 COVID-19 deaths on Friday.

Leaders have issued warnings hospitals are at risk of being overwhelmed.

But English professional sporting competitions have been permitted to keep playing while the rest of the country is unable to head into work or go to school.

Newcastle manager Steve Bruce says it is “morally” wrong for games to continue and West Bromwich Albion’s Sam Allardyce says a two-week “circuit breaker” should be considered.

But Spurs boss Jose Mourinho says postponing any more games could cause an “impossible” backlog for clubs.

The football leagues plan to keep the show going on, with the Premier League issuing a warning to clubs they will discipline players who breach its strict coronavirus rules.

Here’s why the situation may come to a head.

How has COVID-19 affected English football?

At least 60 games have been postponed across the country so far, with the problem far worse in the lower tiers and in the women’s game.

The Premier League only makes up for three of those matches, but the issues still run deep.

Manchester City and Aston Villa shut their training facilities in recent weeks after positive tests and the latter was forced to field a team of youth players in the FA Cup on Friday after 10 senior players contracted the virus.

The English Football League, which runs the three divisions below the Premier League, reported 112 positive cases out of 3,507 players and staff members who were tested in the latest round of checks. That is an infection rate of more than 3 per cent.

EFL clubs playing in the FA Cup — Derby, Shrewsbury, Brentford and Middlesbrough — were all missing players due to COVID-19.

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Macarthur FC star Adam Federici on Socceroos teammate Mat Ryan and the cut-throat world of English Premier League goalkeeping

Free to leave in January if he can find another club, the 28-year-old has publicly committed to fighting to win his place back. Federici knows that’s a lonely road to take, as a bloke who tallied just 16 senior league appearances in five seasons with AFC Bournemouth and Stoke City.

“I’m not surprised, just because I know how things work over there,” Federici said. “I’ve been in England a long time and I’ve been through that exact same thing.

Mathew Ryan has committed to trying to fight for his spot at Brighton but has reportedly been told he’s free to leave in January.Credit:PA

“He’s done so well there. But it’s just goalkeeping. It can change overnight. [If] a manager wants to play someone else, there’s literally not much you can do about it. All you can do is work hard in training.

“The only thing I’ll say with Maty, in my experience, and it’s probably something I look back on and wish I handled it a bit better – he’s handled it extremely well.

“If he doesn’t leave, he’ll definitely get his opportunity again. He’s such a good professional, he’d be ready for that, and he can prove his point.”

In Federici’s case, a late-career retreat to the A-League with Macarthur FC – who face Wellington Phoenix on Saturday – has thankfully broken him out of that vicious cycle.

Seven years ago, the proud South Coast product was a Premier League regular for Reading and a key figure alongside former Sydney FC ace Adam Le Fondre in their promotion from the Championship to the top tier. Since leaving the club in mid-2015, he has barely played.

“It’s tough. Goalkeeping’s a different position – I could talk all day about it,” he said.

“There’s one spot. You don’t get to come on in the 80th minute and prove your worth. Once you find yourself out of a team, it’s very hard to get back into a team.

“You end up training like a madman and trying to prove a point every day in training and it does become really difficult.

“When you do that, you’re pushing yourself into the red zone a little bit. It’s exactly what happened to me. You push yourself and you push yourself and you push yourself and I ended up breaking and having a couple of knee operations.”

Adam Federici has barely played since leaving Reading in 2016, but is relishing his time at Macarthur FC.

Adam Federici has barely played since leaving Reading in 2016, but is relishing his time at Macarthur FC.Credit:Getty

Some players are happy to grind away in those circumstances. But Federici was never that type, and when coach Ante Milicic came calling for him last year, a move to the Bulls made sense for all sorts of reasons.

He was man of the match on debut in Macarthur’s 1-0 win over Western Sydney, an emotional evening that will go down in the fledgling club’s folklore.


It was one game, but it has already thrust his name back into Socceroos calculations. Federici is hopeful of adding to his 16 caps, but is somewhat doubtful, and believes the country is well covered for goalkeepers, even accounting for Ryan’s uncertain future : Mitch Langerak broke the J.League record for clean sheets last season; Danny Vukovic is back from injury and playing regularly for Genk in Belgium; and a new generation of shot-stoppers is emerging in the A-League.

Federici insists he is not playing to prove a point or remind people what he’s capable of. He’s just playing, which for now is good enough.

“I’m not looking to do anything other than just be the best I possibly can each day,” he said.

“I’ve found it hard to get games the last couple of years, and I’ve come back to enjoy my football. That’s the main thing for me: to set my own standards and enjoy it for myself. I get to define what’s successful, not other people.

“If I’m needed or if they want to play a particular way, there’s no better feeling getting to sing the national anthem wearing those colours on a big occasion. I feel like I’m made for those big games.

“But that position’s well covered, I think. I’m just looking to enjoy my football and do the best I can for Ante and the new club we’re trying to build.

“That’s one of the reasons why I’m here as well. Ante wanted me here, wanted me to play and he wants to play the sort of football I love to play as well.”

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Ryan Shotton completes Melbourne Victory’s English invasion fresh out of hotel quarantine

“It’s been a while which is why we’re not going to rush into things this weekend and make sure I’m 100 per cent ready to come back in,” Shotton told reporters on Wednesday after his first training session as a Victory player.

“We were well looked after in quarantine. They were really considerate during Christmas so I’m very thankful to everyone who looked after me and my family.

It was mostly strength work and a fitness regime, which was using the bed as a prop to make sure I could get strong that way.

Ryan Shotton on training restrictions in hotel quarantine

“The club tried to get me a bike but because it was the holidays they struggled, so I didn’t get anything fitness wise in. It was mostly strength work and a fitness regime, which was using the bed as a prop to make sure I could get strong that way.”

“It [knowing Gestede, Butterfield and McManaman] has made it so much easier, it’s allowed me to integrate so much better in the squad.”

With three seasons in the English Premier League for Stoke under his belt, Shotton wants to lend his experience to Victory’s defence and bid to return to the top of the A-League.


“I spoke to Brebs [Victory coach Grant Brebner] and he said, ‘Listen, I am looking to compete at the top, try and win the league and I want you on board,” Shotton said.

“[Brebner wants me to] bring my English experience of talking and leadership in the back four and bring some lads through.

“I’ve also worked with [Victory and Australian under-23 defender] Dylan Ryan the past two days and Brebner sat us down and told me that he wants to bring him through and that he learns off me.

“It’s important to have partnerships all over the pitch, so if it’s me and Dylan then you have to form those partnerships. I just talk my way through games, so that’s what the fans will see.”

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First trucks cross English channel in Brexit era after UK leaves the EU trade bloc

A steady trickle of trucks has begun rolling off ferries and trains on either side of the English Channel, a quiet New Year’s Day after a seismic overnight shift in relations between the European Union and Britain.

The busy goods route between south-east England and north-west France is on the front line of changes now that the UK has fully left the economic embrace of the 27-nation bloc, the final stage of Brexit.

“For the majority of trucks they won’t even notice the difference,” said John Keefe, spokesman for Eurotunnel, the railway tunnel that carries vehicles under the Channel.

“There was always the risk that if this happened at a busy time then we could run into some difficulties, but it’s happening overnight on a bank holiday and a long weekend.”

On the French side of the channel, Calais Port director Jean-Marc Puissesseau held a news conference after the first post-Brexit arrivals, saying the relationship had changed, but the EU side was ready for whatever happens.

He said things like taking liquor or sausages across the border wouldn’t be the same as before, as there would be limits and checks on produce.

“Personally, I love to go to Britain,” Mr Puissesseau said.

“But that’s, for me, that’s life, and we are ready, as I told you.”

PM hails ‘amazing moment’ for UK

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was a driving force behind Brexit.(AP: Francisco Seco)

Britain left the European bloc’s vast single market for people, goods and services on Thursday at 11:00pm London time (Friday morning AEDT), in the biggest single economic change the country has experienced since World War II.

A new UK-EU trade deal will bring new restrictions and red tape, but for British Brexit supporters, it means reclaiming national independence from the EU and its web of rules.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose support for Brexit helped push the country out of the EU, called it “an amazing moment for this country.”

The break comes 11 months after a political Brexit that left the two sides in the limbo of a “transition period” in which EU rights and rules continued to apply to Britain.

The trade agreement sealed on Christmas Eve after months of tense negotiations ensures that Britain and the EU can continue to buy and sell goods without tariffs or quotas. But companies face sheaves of new costs and paperwork, including customs declarations and border checks.

Two trucks with a large P&O ferry in the background.
Trucks heading to Britain on the first ferry after Brexit from the port of Calais, northern France.(AP: Lewis Joly)

The English Channel port of Dover and the Eurotunnel braced for delays as the new measures were introduced.

The vital supply route was snarled for days after France closed its border to UK truckers for 48 hours last week in response to a fast-spreading variant of the virus identified in England.

The pandemic and a holiday weekend meant cross-Channel traffic was light on Friday.

Britain has also delayed imposing full customs checks for several months so that companies can adjust.

The Government insisted that “the border systems and infrastructure we need are in place, and we are ready for the UK’s new start”.

Implications for the Irish

New checks were also in place across the Irish Sea. A dozen trucks rolled off the first ferry to arrive at Dublin Port from Wales before dawn, clearing the new customs inspections without delays.

“We have avoided the kind of dramatic disruption of a no trade deal Brexit, but that doesn’t mean that things aren’t changing very fundamentally, because they are,” Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said.

“We’re now going to see the 80 billion euros’ [$127 billion] worth of trade across the Irish Sea between Britain and Ireland disrupted by an awful lot more checks and declarations, and bureaucracy and paperwork, and cost and delay.”

Brexit could also have major constitutional repercussions for the United Kingdom.

Northern Ireland, which shares a border with EU member Ireland, remains more closely tied to the bloc’s economy under the divorce terms.

So while goods will continue to flow freely across the Irish land border, there will be new procedures for trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

In the long run that could pull Northern Ireland away from the rest of the UK and toward its southern neighbour.

In Scotland, which voted strongly in 2016 to remain, Brexit has bolstered support for separation from the UK.

The country’s pro-independence First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “Scotland will be back soon, Europe. Keep the light on.”


European leaders also expressed regret at Britain’s departure.

“The United Kingdom remains our neighbour but also our friend and ally,” said French President Emmanuel Macron in his New Year’s address to the nation.

“This choice of leaving Europe, this Brexit, was the child of European malaise and lots of lies and false promises.”

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English batsman belts record Big Bash knock

Sydney Thunder opener Alex Hales says a renewed emphasis on footwork has paved the way for his stunning return to form with the bat.

The Englishman’s technique was exposed by balls that nipped back when he was bowled in consecutive games for golden ducks against the Heat and Scorchers, but that’s long forgotten following a couple of destructive knocks against the Melbourne franchises.

Hales bounced back with a fluent 35 against the Renegades on Boxing Day, but his record-breaking 71 off just 29 deliveries in his side’s big win over the Stars has put the rest of the competition on notice.

The opener smashed five sixes in the 75-run win, including a towering slog sweep off Adam Zampa that sent the ball flying out of Manuka Oval to bring up his half-century off a Thunder record 21 deliveries.

“It’s been a bit hit and miss so far for myself with a couple of noughts and a couple of starts, so to finally get that real matchwinning contribution – which is what you want from your overseas players – was nice to get that under the belt,” he said.

“As an opening batter you can get the occasional low score, but when you really get going, you know it’s going to be your night. That was one of those days when you really get in the zone and cash in.”

A simple change in mindset and a slight adjustment with his footwork has worked wonders for Hales, who is part of a Thunder top order that can’t stop scoring.

The men in green have set club record scores in their past two games thanks to Hales, Callum Ferguson, Usman Khawaja and Oliver Davies, and that trend will continue if their star import continues to fire.

“It’s just about getting through the first few balls,” he said.

“There’s been a little bit of swing and seam at the top with the brand new ball, particularly under the lights here where there’s definitely a bit of assistance (for the bowlers) in the first few overs.

“I’ve had a couple of nice balls first up and maybe I was a bit lazy with my footwork, so in the nets over the last few days I’ve tried to get my feet moving a bit better and being a bit more switched on for my first few balls.

“Once you get through that, the pitches are pretty good here, so you can look to cash in.”

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Rugby League news 2020: English Super League, Leigh Centurions to replace Toronto Wolfpack

Leigh Centurions head coach John Duffy says his club are “Super League ready” after winning the race to replace Toronto Wolfpack in next year’s English rugby league top-flight.

Leigh beat off competition from Toulouse Olympique, London Broncos, Bradford Bulls, Featherstone Rovers and York City Knights to fill the 12th slot left vacant following the rejection of Toronto’s bid to re-join the competition last month.

The Canadian side were involved in their maiden Super League season until July, when they withdrew, citing financial problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

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Super League, the northern hemisphere’s elite club competition in the 13-a-side code, will next season comprise 11 English teams and France’s Catalans Dragons.

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