Rugby League World Cup
The Rugby League World Cup is an international rugby league tournament, contested by national teams of the Rugby League International Federation, first held in France in 1954, the first World Cup in either rugby code. The idea of a rugby league world cup tournament was first mooted in the 1930s with the French proposal to hold a tournament in 1931, again in 1951; the fifteen tournaments held to date have been at intervals ranging from two to eight years, have featured a number of formats. So far three nations have won the competition. Australia and New Zealand are the only teams to have played in all tournaments. Since 2000, the RLIF has organised World Cups for women and other categories; the 2017 Rugby League World Cup was held in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, won by Australia. The Rugby League World Cup was an initiative of the French, campaigning for a competition since 1935; the idea was raised in 1951 by the President of the French Rugby League. In 1952, Rugby Football League secretary Bill Fallowfield persuaded the Rugby League Council to support the concept.
At a meeting in Blackpool, England in 1953, the International Board accepted Paul Barrière’s proposal that France should be the nation to host the first tournament to be known as the "Rugby World Cup". In addition to the hosts, the tournament featured teams from Britain and New Zealand; the 1954 Rugby League World Cup was won by Great Britain who defeated France in Paris on 13 November to claim the title. The World Cup was contested by the four Test nations: Australia, Great Britain and New Zealand; the teams played each other in a league format. A final match was played between the top two teams in 1954, it was decided that the team that finished first in the league would be declared the winner at the second World Cup in 1957, when Australia proved victorious on their home ground. After the successful 1960 competition, in which Great Britain won the title for the second time, there would be no further World Cup for eight years; the competition had been scheduled to be held in France in 1965, this time with the inclusion of the South African team.
However, after an unsuccessful tour of Australia, the French withdrew. The tournament was next held in 1968, followed a two-year cycle until the mid-1970s; the 1972 World Cup final ended in 10-all, the title was awarded to Great Britain by virtue of their superior record in the qualifiers. Great Britain were captained by Welshman, Clive Sullivan, the first black player to captain any British national sports team. In 1975, the competition underwent a radical overhaul, it was decided to play matches on a home and away basis around the world instead of one host nation and the Great Britain team was split into England and Wales meaning that the tournament would be increased from the 4 teams of previous tournaments to 5, this number taking part in the two future internationally held tournaments. There was not a final held to decide the champions of the 1975 tournament and so Australia won by virtue of topping the group standings; as Australia had not beaten England in that tournament a'final challenge match' was hastily arranged which Australia would win 25-0.
In 1977 it was decided. Although the final between Australia and Great Britain was a fought affair, public interest in the tournament waned due to the continuing tinkering with the format and it was not held again until the mid-1980s. From 1985 to 1988, each nation played each other a number of times on a home and away basis with a number of these games being considered part of various international tours that took place during the years in which these world cups were being played. At the end of that period, Australia met New Zealand at Eden Park; the match was a physical encounter, Australian captain Wally Lewis played part of the match with a broken arm. The Kangaroos won the competition 25-12; this format was repeated from 1989–1992 and Australia won again, defeating Great Britain 10-6 at Wembley Stadium in front of 73,361 people. This crowd remained a Rugby League World Cup record until beaten by the 74,468 crowd which attended the 2013 World Cup Final at Old Trafford; the fifth nation to compete in these two tournaments was Papua New Guinea.
In 1995, the competition was once again restructured, returning to the traditional'host' format with ten teams entering. Unlike previous tournaments where the top two teams in the table playing in the final, a knockout stage was added with a quarter and semi final. New teams competing included Fiji, Tonga and South Africa. Due to the Super League war, players aligned with the rebel competition were not selected by the ARL to represent the Kangaroos; this meant the absence of many star players from the Australian team's line-up. The tournament, held to celebrate the centenary of the sport in England, was successful with over 250,000 people attending the group stages and over 66,000 people attending the final to see Australia defeat England 16-8. Following the Super League war, the subsequent re-structuring of rugby league's international governing bodies meant that the proposed 1998 World Cup was postponed; the 2000 World Cup expanded the field further, with sixteen teams entering. This tournament included a New Zealand Maori representative team, the only time this team has t
1911–12 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain
The 1911–12 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain was the second Kangaroo tour and was a tour by an "Australasian" squad including four New Zealand players in addition to twenty-four Australian representatives. It took place over the British winter of 1911–12 and this time, to help promote the game of Rugby league in New Zealand, the Northern Rugby Football Union invited a combined Australian and New Zealand team, they became the first tourists to win the Ashes. and the last to do so on British soil for over half a century. The tour was a success in organisation. Matches were well attended, the squad's touring payments were maintained throughout and the players all shared in a bonus at the tour's end. Prior to the tour a three-way series of matches between New South Wales and New Zealand was organised as a basis of selection for the tour; the New South Welshmen dominated the touring side, with four New Zealanders and only one Queenslander selected. However counted amongst the New South Welshmen was Con Sullivan, who had moved to Australia from New Zealand a few years before.
Due to family and business commitments, rugby league great Dally Messenger declined to tour with the 1911–12 Kangaroos. His friend and teammate Sandy Pearce chose not to go. Chris McKivat who had captained the 1908 Wallabies to Olympic Gold was at age 32 a natural selection as tour captain; the Heads/Middleton reference describes McKivat as being revered on that tour – a magnificent general, durable and an inspiration to the men around him. It quotes Johnny Quinlan the tour co-manager "He always set a splendid example in conduct and training – a natural leader" Tour vice-captain was Paddy McCue. Tour managers were John Quinlan; the team sailed to England on the RMS Orvieto. The tourists received a bonus of £ 178 each. All eight teams of the New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership were represented in the touring squad; the New Zealand players that accompanied the Australians on tour have been listed in the Australian Rugby League's Kangaroos players register. Robert "Harold" Nicholson of Queensland was selected for the tour but withdrew.
Played: 35 Won: 28 Drew: 2 Lost: 5 Ashes: Australia 2–0 Test No. 12 In this match, Australia's Charles Fraser became Australia's youngest Test player at 18 years and 301 days, a record which would stand until 2007. Test No. 13 McKivat lead the way for Australia scoring a vital try. Renowned Australian journalist Claude Corbett was acting as one of the touch judges and referee Renton, over-ruled his goal decision on one of the Australian conversion attempts. Test No. 14 Great Britain only needed to win the third Test to tie the series and keep the Ashes but were reduced to 12 men early in the encounter after an injury to Dick Ramsdale. Great Britain had no answer to the Australian attack as they ran in nine tries; this would be the first time the Kangaroos would win The Ashes on British soil until the 1963–64 Kangaroo tour. "Australian tour of Great Britain". Hunterlink.net. Archived from the original on 11 May 2006. Ashes series 1911 at rugbyleagueproject.org
France national rugby league team
The France national rugby league team represent France in international rugby league tournaments. They are referred to as les Chanticleers or less as les Tricolores; the team is run under the auspices of the Fédération Française de Rugby à XIII and is made up of players from Super League and the Elite One Championship. The French rugby league team first played in 1934 on a tour of England, they have taken part in all World Cups, twelve in total, with the first being held in 1954 in France. They have never won the title but finished runners-up in both 1954 and 1968; these are considered the glory years of French rugby league as from the 1950s to the 1970s the team were strong and beat Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain. Since those days, les Chanticleers have not done as well, not managing to win a single match in the 1995 World Cup, but doing better in the 2000 World Cup with wins over Tonga and South Africa before losing to eventual finalists, New Zealand. In 2006, the Perpignan based team Catalans Dragons entered Super League Europe, have since produced a number of top-class French players.
Despite improved professionalism, France finished 10th in the 2008 World Cup in Australia. The team reached the quarter-finals of the 2013 World Cup; the team is ranked fifth in the world. In Europe alone they are ranked second, ahead of Ireland and Lebanon, but behind their main rival, England. On New Year's Eve 1933, England and Australia played in Paris – the first game of rugby league football in France; the match was one-sided, with Australia winning 63-13 in front of a crowd of about 5,000, but the seed was sown. French rugby union players, disgruntled that France had been suspended from the Five Nations Championship, formed the "Ligue Francaise de Rugby à XIII" on 6 April 1934. Jean Galia, a former rugby union international and champion boxer, led France on a six-match tour of England in 1934 and they recorded their first win in Kingston upon Hull; the national team's first game was in Paris on 15 April 1934, losing 21-32 to England in front of a crowd of 20,000. By 1939, the French League had 225 clubs and the national side won the 1938–39 European Rugby League Championship where they became the first French team in any sport to beat England at home.
The game of rugby league suffered in France during the Second World War, as administrators within French rugby union worked with the collaborating Vichy regime to have rugby league banned. Some players and officials of the sport were punished, whilst the total assets of the rugby league and its clubs were handed over to the union. After the war the French game was re-established and the French became one of rugby league's major powers, competing in the Rugby League World Cup and in major international series against Great Britain and New Zealand, despite continuing persecution. In 1949, they became the first French sporting team to win at Wembley Stadium. In 1951 France embarked on their first tour of Australasia, coached by Bob Samatan and led by the legendary chain-smoking fullback, Puig Aubert, their flamboyant style of unorthodox attacking rugby attracted huge crowds. When the two nations met for the first Test, the match became the first "all ticket" international to be staged at the Sydney Cricket Ground, attracted a crowd of over 60,000.
On Saturday 30 June 1951, Australia secured a hard-fought second Test victory over France in Brisbane by 23 points to 11. The third Test took place at Sydney Cricket Ground three weeks before a crowd of 67,009. Late tries from Duncan Hall and Brian Davies could not prevent the Kangaroos from suffering an embarrassing 35-14 defeat. France played 28 matches during the three-month tour, winning 21 matches, drawing twice and losing just five times. In November 1951, France met "Other Nationalities" in an International Championship match at the Boulevard, Hull which became known as the "Battle of the Boulevard". Other Nationalities won 17-14 but the match centred on the behaviour of Edouard Ponsinet, involved in most of the violence that happened at the game; the Other Nationalities were down to eleven players at one stage, with Arthur Clues being the most serious casualty, hospitalised with head injuries. Ponsinet was sent off, ten minutes from time after breaking the nose of Jeff Burke. Despite this defeat France went on to retain the title with home victories over Wales.
In the 1954 World Cup, the first of either rugby code and was instigated by France, Les Tricolores defeated both Australia and New Zealand, drew with Great Britain to reach the final. This was the closest they went to getting their hands on the World Cup, going down narrowly, 16-12, to Great Britain in the final in Parc des Princes. France donated the original World Cup trophy. France repeated the success of their 1951 tour in 1955, with bigger attendances greeting the team. Puig Aubert did not tour. Despite this, France played splendidly to win the second test in Brisbane and the third test at the SCG; the 1951 and 1955 French sides that toured Australia are still regarded as two of the strongest sides to tour that country. In the 1957 World Cup, held in Australia, the winner was decided by finishing top of the table with no final being played. France finished winning one match against New Zealand. History was made when the returning French and British squads visited South Africa and played a series of exhibition matches in
1908–09 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain
Not to be confused with the 1908-09 Australia rugby union tour of BritainThe 1908–09 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain was the first such tour for the newly-formed Australia national rugby league team. The tour was to England and Wales and coincided with the first Wallabies Rugby Union tour of Great Britain, which in hindsight put the Kangaroos in a tough position; the game of rugby league was not yet twelve months old in Australia however a New Zealand side had toured to Britain, Australia had encountered New Zealand during the 1908 season and the pioneer Australian leaders of the game were keen to match up against the Northern Union founders of the code. The 1908–09 Kangaroos wore jumpers of sky blue and maroon representing the New South Wales Blues and Queensland Maroons players that comprised the team; the first Kangaroo tour was considered a financial failure, with poor weather and economic conditions contributing to smaller than expected gate takings. Tour promoter James Giltinan was bankrupted as result.
However for a century afterward, Kangaroo tours took place every four years and involved a three-Test Ashes series against Great Britain and a number of tour matches. The 1908-09 tour was depicted in the 1988 Australian television movie The First Kangaroos; the Kangaroos sailed for Britain on RMS Macedonia prior to the close of the 1908 NSWRFL season, denying some of the selected players to appear in the inaugural grand final. They worked as stokers to keep their fitness levels up as well as doing daily sessions in the ship's gymnasium and boxing ring; the jerseys were coloured sky blue and maroon, combining the state colours of NSW and Queensland respectively. When tour captain, Lutge was injured early in the tour, Messenger became captain in the 1st and 2nd Test Matches. After he was injured, Alec Burdon assumed the captaincy for the 3rd Test. One of the players Pat Walsh sailed to Britain separately on the ship and brought the live Kangaroo mascot with him. Walsh arrived in England for the 5th match of the tour against Salford.
The team's live marsupial mascot died before the end of the tour due to the execrable weather. The Kangaroos scored some memorable victories, including wins against Yorkshire and Hunslet. Rugby league made its first appearance in Scotland in 1909 when Glasgow’s Celtic Park hosted a game between the Northern Rugby Football Union representative side and the touring Australians. Matches played: 45 Won: 17 Drew: 6 Lost: 22 The Ashes: Great Britain 2-0. Leading try scorers of the tour were Devereaux 17, Messenger 10, Frawley 10, Walsh 9, Courtney 8. Dally Messenger was the tourists' leading point-scorer with 160, a full 103 points clear of next highest-scorer; the seven-month tour proved to be a true test of survival and was a disaster due to small gate-takings. A crippling cotton mill strike in northern England made it difficult for many fans to afford their way through the turnstiles and there was criticism of the entry price the Australians wanted to charge. Australian morale ebbed during one of the meanest northern winters on record.
Giltinan as promoter of the tour took the full risk. He paid the players a weekly allowance of one pound early in the tour but before long it was cut to ten shillings. Things became so bad that the team would travel on overnight trains to save on accommodation; the players had sailed from Sydney on one-way fares and the Northern Union had to pay the players' fares home. Evidence emerged that Giltinan lost £418 on the campaign and was bankrupted on his return to Sydney. Peter Moir a seminal figure in the foundation of the Glebe club had an unhappy tour and played in only four games and no Tests. At tour's end he wrote a letter home, The team is run by a clique and you are picked by them. I am disappointed at not getting a game, it is hard as all my people live here and they keep asking me why I am not playing and I cannot tell them a lie. Deane, Frawley, Devereux, McCabe and Rosenfeld all stayed behind to play in the wintry Northern Union competition when the Australians boarded the RMS Seuvic for the journey home.
On the return journey Messenger fell in love with Annie Macauley whom he would marry. While en route back to Australia, secretary J. J. Giltinan, president Henry Hoyle and treasurer, Victor Trumper, the men who had done most to form the NSWRL, were being voted out of it. Tour manager: James Giltinan Giltinan had borrowed £2,000 to fund the entire tour as promoter, he was one of the founders of the breakaway code's Australian formation in Sydney a year earlier. Assistant manager: John Fihelly Fihelly was one of the code's founders in Queensland, he had represented for Queensland in rugby union and in the state's first representative league side in May 1908. He was a state selector that year, he did not play any matches on tour & performed the role of Assistant Manager. He would referee many matches of the 1909 Brisbane club competition & a 1910 Test match. Tour secretary: Bill Noble Selected as a player, Noble the 1908 Newtown club captain was injured early and made only three tour match appearances.
He performed the role of Secretary/Treasurer. Tour captain: Denis Lutge A rugged North Sydney forward North who worked as a stevedore, Lutge was elected Tour Captain by his team-mates shortly after the squad set sail from Sydney, he had captained Australia in the 3rd Test match against New Zealand in June 1908. Lutge appeared in only five tour matches and no Tests. Test captains: Dally Messenger & Alex Burdon Lutge's deputy as tour vice-captain, Messenge
Australia national rugby league team
The Australian national rugby league team have represented Australia in senior men's rugby league football competition since the establishment of the'Northern Union game' in Australia in 1908. Administered by the Australian Rugby League, the Kangaroos are ranked first in the RLIF World Rankings; the team is the most successful in Rugby League World Cup history, having contested all 15 and winning 11 of them, failing to reach the final only once, in the inaugural tournament in 1954. Only four nations have beaten Australia in test matches, Australia have an overall win percentage of 67%. Dating back to 1908, Australia are the fourth oldest national side after England, New Zealand and Wales; the team was first assembled in 1908 for a tour of Great Britain. The majority of the Kangaroos' games since have been played against Great Britain and New Zealand. In the first half of the 20th century, Australia's international competition came from alternating tours to Great Britain and New Zealand, with Australia playing host to these teams in non-tour years.
Great Britain dominated in the early years, Australia did not win a Test against the Lions until 11 November 1911 under captain Chris McKivat. Australia did not win a series at home against Great Britain until 1920 or abroad until 1958. Since 1908, the team has been nicknamed the Kangaroos. Only used when touring Great Britain, France, this has been the official nickname of the team since 7 July 1994. In 1997 Australia was represented by a Super League Australia team, drawing on players from that year's Super League competition. While in the past players for the side had been selected from clubs in various leagues around the country, in recent years the side has consisted of players from clubs of the National Rugby League. Rugby football has been played in Australia since the 1860s. In 1863 Sydney University became the first rugby club to be formed in Sydney, played games amongst themselves or against the crews of visiting British ships; the Sydney Football Club and the Wallaroos followed, inter-club competition commenced.
By 1880, there were 100 clubs across the country, rugby became the dominant winter sport for Sydney. In 1888 an English team visited Australasia, playing rugby rules in Queensland, New South Wales and New Zealand, Australian rules football in Victoria and South Australia. In 1899, an Australian team was formed for the first time using players from Queensland and New South Wales, they played a series of Tests against a British team. By 1907, Sydney club rugby games were attracting up to 20,000 people, with all profits going to the Southern Rugby Football Union, as the sport at the time was an amateur one; this caused discontent among players, in 1908 the New South Wales Rugby Football League and Queensland Rugby League were formed. An Australian national rugby league team was first formed during the first season of rugby league in Australia, the 1908 NSWRFL Premiership season; the team, made of players from the NSWRFL with a few Queensland rugby rebels added, first played against the "professional All Blacks" on the return leg of their tour of Australia and Great Britain.
That year the Australian team arranged to go on a tour of its own. The first Kangaroos arrived in England on 27 September 1908, played their first test against the Northern Union in December in London, it finished 22 all in front of a crowd of 2,000. The second test in Newcastle in January 1909 attracted a crowd of 22,000, the Northern Union won 15–5; the third test was played at Villa Park, the Northern Union winning again 6–5 before a crowd of 9,000. The Australians suggested that the series should be named'The Ashes' after the cricket series of the same name. In 1909, when the new "Northern Union" code was still in its infancy in Australia, a match between the Kangaroos and the Wallabies was played before a crowd of around 20,000, with the Rugby League side winning 29–26; the first British tour of the Southern Hemisphere began on 4 June 1910, when the Northern Union played New South Wales in front of 33,000 spectators in Sydney, losing 28–14. But they won the first test in Sydney against Australia 27–20 in front of 42,000.
They won the second test in Brisbane 22–17. In Auckland, on 30 July, they defeated New Zealand 52–20; the 1910 Great Britain Lions tour of Australia and New Zealand was the first and Australia were beaten for the Ashes in two tests, faring better as "Australasia" with two Kiwis added to their squad. The 1911–12 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain was undertaken by an'Australasian' squad which included four New Zealanders, they won the Ashes for the first time and for the next half a century no other touring team did do so on British soil. The 1914 Great Britain Lions tour of Australia and New Zealand was the second time the British toured down under; the Australians, captained by Sid Deane for all three tests, got one victory but lost the series in the famous decider, the "Rorke's Drift Test". Australia went on a tour of New Zealand in 1919; the 1920 Great Britain Lions tour saw. The 1921–22 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain included a New Zealander and was ostensibly an Australasian side. In January 1922, an "England" side defeated Australia 6–0 at The Willows, Salford, to win back the Ashes, lost in 1920.
They did not lose again until 1950. The Australian national team first wore green and gold in a hooped design, on Saturday 23 June 1928, when they met Great Britain in the first Test at the Brisbane Exhibition Ground. Britain led 10–2 after 25 minutes, 13–7 at half time and, after a nervous second half claimed the Test 15–12; the England team won both the 1928 series in
Great Britain national rugby league team
The Great Britain and Ireland national rugby league team represents Great Britain and Ireland in rugby league. Administered by the Rugby Football League, the team is nicknamed The Lions. For most of the 20th century, the Great Britain and Ireland team toured overseas, played against foreign touring teams and competed in the Rugby League World Cup, which they won three times, in 1954, 1960 and 1972. Since 1995, the RFL has sent separate home nations teams to the World Cup. Great Britain and Ireland continued to compete as a Test playing nation both home and away, they competed against Australia for the Ashes, New Zealand for the Baskerville Shield, as well the Tri-Nations series with both Australia and New Zealand. Great Britain and Ireland played in series and tours against France, Papua New Guinea and Fiji. In 2006, the RFL announced that after the 2007 All Golds Tour Great Britain and Ireland team would no longer compete on a regular basis, its players would represent England and Scotland at Test level.
It is planned that the Great Britain team will come together in future only for occasional tours, similar to the British and Irish Lions in rugby union. On 9 May 2017, it was confirmed that the Great Britain and Ireland team would tour the southern hemisphere in 2019 as Great Britain and Irish Lions. Great Britain were represented by a team made up of players from the Northern Rugby Football Union, known as the "Northern Union" side. On 25 January 1908, the first Great Britain test match took place at Headingley Rugby Stadium, versus New Zealand. At the time, Great Britain were referred to as the "Northern Union" – they won the game 14–6 before a crowd of 8,000; the second test went to New Zealand by 18 -- 6, before 14,000 in London. The third test was played at Cheltenham, 4,000 watched New Zealand win 8–5; the first Kangaroos arrived in England on 27 September 1908, they toured Britain, losing more games than they won. They played their first test against the Northern Union in December in Loftus Road, London.
The second test in Newcastle in January 1909 attracted a crowd of 22,000, the Northern Union won 15–5. The third test was played at Villa Park, the Northern Union winning again 6–5 before a crowd of 9,000; the Australians suggested that the series should be named "the Ashes" after the cricket series of the same name. The first British tour of the Southern Hemisphere began on 4 June 1910 captained by James Lomas; the Northern Union played New South Wales in front of 33,000 spectators in Sydney, losing 28–14. But they won the first test in Sydney against Australia 27–20 in front of 42,000 at the old Sydney Showground, they won the second test in Brisbane 22–17. The tourists recorded a 13-all draw against a combined Australasian side in front of over 42,000 at the Agricultural Ground; these tests have been credited as making rugby league the predominate code of rugby football in Australia, a situation which continues to this day. Upon arriving in Auckland on 17 July, the team was accorded a mayoral reception.
On 30 July, they defeated New Zealand 52–20. The second Lions tour down under in 1914, led by Harold Wagstaff, became the stuff of legend, they played three Tests in eight days with the first two in three days. After sharing the first two tests, Great Britain finished with only 10 men due to injuries, but still managed to hang on for a 14–6 victory in Sydney in July 1914, it was dubbed "Rorke's Drift test", after a battle in the Anglo-Zulu War. Great Britain defeated a touring Australian side 2–1 in the 1921–22 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain to win back the Ashes, lost in 1920, they would not be lost again until 1950. The 1924 Lions added the blue chevron to the all-white jersey. On the 1928 tour of Australasia, Great Britain lost only five of 24 tour matches; the Lions won the first Test 15–12. On Saturday 14 July 1928, when Great Britain met Australia in the second Test on a sea of mud at the Sydney Cricket Ground; the Lions won 8–0, containing the Kangaroos who, for the only time in Test match history, failed to score on home soil.
After clinching the Test series, the Lions lost the final Test. They were presented with the Ashes Trophy by the Australians, which the two countries have competed for since. Great Britain set off for New Zealand, where they lost the first Test. On Saturday 18 August 1928 the Lions travelled to Tahuna Park, for the second Test; the Lions led 7–5 at the interval and went on to win 13–5. Seven days the Lions won the third Test 6–5 to clinch the series two Tests to one. Before coming home they played some missionary games in Canada, which led to the formation of a rugby league competition in that country. On 5 October 1929, Australia won the first Test at the Boulevard, Hull 31–8. Great Britain won the second 9–3 at Headingley, Leeds on 9 November 1929; the third test, held at Station Road, resulted in a 0–0 draw with Australia having a try disallowed in the last minute. With the series tied 1 -- 1, an unprecedented fourth test was played at Rochdale. Britain won the test 3 -- 0. Britain again won the Ashes in 1932.
In 1932 the police locked the SCG gates after 70,204 crammed into the SCG. This would remain the world record test match attendance until eclipsed by the 73,631 who attended the 1992 World Cup Final at Wembley Stadium. On New Year's Eve 1933 in Paris and Australia play the first game of rugby league in France; the match was one-sided, with Australia winning 63–13 in front of a crowd of 5,000, but the seed was sown. Jim Sullivan was asked to go again as captain of the 1936 tourists, but declined on the
Wales national rugby league team
The Wales national rugby league team represents Wales in international rugby league football matches. The team is ranked ninth in the RLIF World Rankings; the team was run under the auspices of the Rugby Football League, but an independent body, Wales Rugby League, now runs the team from Cardiff. Three Welsh players have been entered into the Rugby League Hall Of Fame; as with other Welsh national sporting teams, Wales strip has been red. However, in the World Cup campaign in 2000 they wore a shirt featuring the Welsh flag, adding a touch of green and white; the team is known as "The Dragons" and so the teams logo on the shirt is a red dragon. The team date back to 1907, making them the third oldest national side after England and New Zealand, it was a touring New Zealand side that Wales first played against in 1908, winning 9–8 at Aberdare. Since Wales have played England, since 1935 France, as well as welcomed the touring Australia and New Zealand teams, although they toured themselves, not playing a match in the Southern Hemisphere until 1975.
For 26 years Wales competed against their two biggest rivals and France, in the European Nations Cup, winning the trophy four times. Wales has competed in the World Cup on five occasions, the first time being in 1975. In 1995 and 2000 they had their most successful tournaments to date, making the Semi-Finals on both occasions before being beaten by England and Australia respectively. Wales failed to qualify for the 2008 World Cup, being the second highest ranked side not to do so, having lost to Scotland on points difference over two matches, they qualified for the 2013 World Cup but failed to win a game, including losing 32–16 to low ranked Italy in their opening game at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. In recent seasons, Wales has taken massive strides under former player Iestyn Harris who had coached Wales to back to back European Cup successes, which culminated in a Four Nations appearance in 2011. In 2014 former England and France coach John Kear became the new head coach after Iestyn Harris left the post to concentrate on his new job as head coach at Salford Red Devils.
On 5 April 1904, England played an international match against the "Other Nationalities", a team of Welshmen and Scotsmen, in Wigan. Of the twelve players who played for the Other Nationalities team, as it was a 12-a-side game, ten of them were Welshmen coming from Northern English clubs. At the turn of the century many Welshmen made the switch from rugby union, wanting to be paid for playing, although the numbers switching were increasing, the Northern Union did not think that a Welsh side would be strong enough for England. After 80 minutes however, the Other Nationalities had beaten England 9–3; this team carried on for another two years, playing England annually in 1905 and 1906, losing 26–11 and drawing 3–3 respectively. From 1905 to 1910 Rugby League as a sport enjoyed growth, not just in Wales and England, but on the east coast of Australia and in northern New Zealand; when Albert Henry Baskerville's NZ All Golds with their guest Australian star Dally Messenger arrived in Britain for the inaugural tour by a southern hemisphere side, the first full international was against Wales on New Year's Day 1908.
The Welsh rugby league team were contesting their first national fixture, managed to beat the touring Kiwis 9–8 in Aberdare in front of 20,000 spectators. This was the first international match played under new "Northern Union" rules, which would be changed again, but these rules were a small departure from traditional rugby union rules, used in previous international matches; the New Zealand team, or the "All Golds" as they were being called by the New Zealand newspapers, had never played rugby by these rules before but did have a week of preparation and training sessions leading up to the match. With this Welsh victory and large crowd, Wales played their second fixture in Tonypandy, managed to win that match too recording a 35–18 win against what would soon become their main rival, the England Lions. At the end of 1908 Wales played their third and final fixture of the decade, playing England again, but this time in Broughton, Lancashire; this time they lost 31–7. However, in 1909 another victory was to occur for Welsh Rugby League, with a Welsh League XIII made up of players still playing in Wales beating a touring Australian side 14–13 in Merthyr.
In the years before the outbreak of the war, Wales played England. The two national teams played each other every year, including 1914. Due to Rugby League only extensively being played in the two countries in the whole of the Northern Hemisphere, touring Australia and New Zealand teams were the only chances to play someone different. Although the two matches against the English played in Wales were played in Ebbw Vale in Monmouthshire, the Welsh travelled around England for away matches, playing in Coventry, Plymouth and St. Helens. Collectively those seven matches in Wales and England produced six defeats for the Welsh team, although there were signs of improvement, in the last match in St Helens the Dragons narrowly lost by just four points, the match ending 16–12. On the 7 October 1911 Wales played Australia for the first time; the match, held at Ebbw Vale again, drew 7,000 people to watch Wales go down 20–28. The match was significant though because throughout the next few decades Australia would play the Dragons in Wales whenever they toured Great Britain.
During and after the First World War many sports suffered, rugby league in Wales was no exception, the team didn't play a match again until 1921. After a seven-year hiatus Wales once again played England and continued to