2008 Rugby League World Cup squads
The 2008 Rugby League World Cup featured the national teams of ten nations: Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, France, Ireland and Tonga. Head coach: Ricky Stuart Assistant coaches: John Cartwright and Allan Langer 1 Replaced selected Brett Stewart and Justin Hodges who withdrew on 16 October.2 Replaced selected Michael Crocker who withdrew due to injury on 9 October. Head coach: Tony Smith /Assistant coach: Steve McNamara Head coach: Stephen Kearney Assistant coach: Wayne Bennett 1 Replaced named Iosia Soliola who withdrew due to injury on 21 October.2 Replaced named Brent Webb and Jeff Lima who withdrew due to injury on 7 October. Head coach: Adrian Lam Head coach: Joe Dakuitoga Head coach: John Monie Except for Edinburgh Eagles stand-off Paddy Couper, all of the Scottish team's players were selected under the grandparent rule. Head coach: Steve McCormack Head coach: Andy Kelly Brett White was named but withdrew due to injury on 9 October, he was replaced by Brendan Guilfoyle. Shannon McDonnell has withdrawn due to injury.
He was replaced by Shayne McMenemy. Head coach: John Ackland Head coach: Jim Dymock Fuifui Moimoi and Taniela Tuiaki were named for Tonga but were ruled ineligible by the Rugby League International Federation after both switched from Tonga to New Zealand in 2007. A New South Wales court ruled that they could join the team after 12 November, making them available if Tonga made the Semi Finals. Fraser and Louis Anderson both were named but withdrew due to injury, they were replaced by Sam Moa. Anthony Tupou was named but withdrew on 9 October after being called into the Australian squad; as part of the official opening of the World Cup on 26 October, an exhibition game was played between an Aboriginal selection and a New Zealand Māori side. Head coach: Neil Henry Head coach: Luke Goodwin "World Cup team guide" at guardian.co.uk
Rugby League War of the Roses
The Origin Series War of the Roses, was the inter-county rugby league matches between representative teams from Yorkshire and Lancashire, the areas where rugby league has traditionally been most popular in England. The first War of the Roses was contested in 1895 between Yorkshire and Lancashire since rugby league was founded in Yorkshire and played in the heartlands of Yorkshire and Lancashire, it was held annually until 1991 and was contested in a series. In 1985, an annual fixture between Lancashire and Yorkshire was proposed as a replacement for the County Championship which had last been played in 1982–83; the fixture became known as the Rodstock War of the Roses, the first game was played in September 1985. The series lasted until 1991; the fixture was revived in 2001 under the name of the Origin Series, inspired by the success of Australia's State of Origin series between New South Wales and Queensland. Player eligibility for the Origin Series was based on the player's region of birth, but players born outside of Yorkshire and Lancashire were eligible for selection, based on the region where they first played rugby league at professional level.
The Origin Series was reduced to a one-off Origin Game in 2003 due to the British hosting the touring Australia, New Zealand A and as well the kick off of the Rugby League European Nations Cup. So together with the Challenge Cup, WCC and Rugby Super League, the RFL felt that too many Origin matches would be too much strain on the top players; the tournament was rested due to apathy from rugby league supporters. The series has in effect been replaced by the International Origin series, where England take on the "Exiles" – a team composed of the best overseas players in Super League. Both Lancashire and Yorkshire have played numerous matches against touring Australian and New Zealand teams. From the 1967–68 Kangaroo Tour, both Lancashire and Yorkshire were taken off the Australian's itinerary with the only county side they played being Cumbria. In 2015, the RFL department of Women's Rugby League announced that they would stage the inaugural Women's "War of the Roses", between Lancashire Ladies and Yorkshire Ladies.
The match, which took place at Thatto Heath Crusaders, St. Helens, saw Yorkshire Ladies and Lancashire Ladies share the honours after a 22-22 draw, with an attendance of around 500; the match, held on 18 October 2015, followed a Lancashire Girls vs Yorkshire Girls under 18s match, which finished 34-0 in favour of the Yorkshire side. International Origin Rleague.com: War of Roses
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
Christopher John Ashton is an English rugby union and former rugby league footballer, one of the few players who have represented England in both rugby codes. He plays as a wing or fullback for Sale Sharks in the Gallagher Premiership, he first played as a fullback or wing for Wigan Warriors in rugby league's Super League competition, won four caps for England in 2006 and 2007. In 2007 he signed for Northampton Saints in rugby union's Premiership, before moving to Saracens in 2012, Toulon in 2017 and Sale in 2018, he made his debut for England in March 2010 and played until 2014, including in the 2011 Rugby World Cup, where he finished as the tournament's joint leading try-scorer. After a break of four years, he was recalled to the England squad in November 2018, he has won 40 caps for England. Ashton's position at Wigan Warriors was fullback, although he played on the wing, he came through Wigan's scholarship programme and played for Wigan's U18s in 2003. He made his senior début in Wigan's last match of the 2005 season, scored two of their seven tries in a 36–22 victory over Huddersfield Giants.
Ashton was brought into the Wigan squad at the start of 2006 as replacement for the injured Kris Radlinski. He was one of the most consistent players for Wigan during their disappointing Super League XI season and was a contender for the Young Player of the Year award, he finished the 2006 season with 15 tries from 29 appearances making him the leading try scorer for Wigan. Ashton was given the number 1 shirt worn by Radlinski, at the start of 2007 despite the arrival of former Bradford Bulls full back Michael Withers, he made 52 appearances in total for the Whites, scoring 30 tries. Ashton was selected for the 2004 Academy Origin Series and the 2004 victorious England Academy U-18s tour to Australia. Although some criticisms were made about his defensive abilities, he earned a call into the England squad at the end of 2006 whilst Great Britain were on tour in Australia and New Zealand. Ashton made his England début against France on 22 October 2006 in the Federation Shield tournament, he played in all four Federation Shield matches, which concluded with England winning the competition, he scored three tries in his four games.
On 19 March 2007 it was announced that Ashton had signed to play rugby union for Northampton Saints, after Wigan granted him an early release from his contract. On 1 September 2007, he made his début for Northampton at Franklin's Gardens as a late substitute for Will Harries against London Welsh in National Division One, he scored his first try for the club, with his first touch of the ball, in the same game which Saints won 44–11. The following week he scored for Northampton's second team, Northampton Wanderers. and a substitute scoring appearance against Moseley. In 2008, Ashton broke the National Division One try scoring record, scoring 39 tries from only 25 appearances. Despite a disappointing 2008–09 season, with many appearances in the Wanderers and struggling to make it into the first team in the 2009–10 season Ashton embarked on a run of form that brought 15 tries in 16 games in all competitions including Heineken Cup efforts against Munster and Perpignan, he was named as the Premiership player of the season for 2009–10.
On 19 January 2012, it was announced that Ashton had signed with Saracens, joined up with his new team for the start of the 2012–13 season. Ashton's Saracens contract was rumoured to be worth £250,000 per season. On 1 September 2012, he made his Saracens début against London Irish, he scored two tries on his début, in a game which Saracens won 40–3. Saracens finished the 2012–13 regular season at the top of the table, 3 points ahead of Leicester Tigers. However, in the play-offs they lost their semi-final match against Northampton, Ashton's former club, by 13 points to 27. Ashton scored. In the 2013–14 season, Saracens again finished the regular season as league leaders, 9 points clear of Northampton, they won their semi-final against Harlequins, including a try from Ashton in the 61st minute. However, in a hard-fought final at Twickenham they again lost to Northampton, by 20 points to 24. Ashton finished the season joint-4th in the try scoring table, with a total of 8 tries. In the 2014–15 Premiership season, Saracens qualified for the play-offs in 4th place, with the same number of points as Exeter Chiefs, but taking the 4th spot on account of losing one less game than Exeter.
In the semi-final Saracens again came up against Northampton, with the added disadvantage of playing away at Franklin's Gardens. However Saracens produced a strong defensive performance, with fly-half Owen Farrell producing an impressive kicking display, which saw Saracens win 29 points to 24. Ashton was on the replacements' bench. In the final at Twickenham, Saracens played Bath, who had a strong set of backs all of whom were England internationals and were expected to be tough opponents. However, Bath's challenge faltered as Saracens established early control of the game and did not lose the lead winning 28-16. Ashton was not able to score. However, Ashton's strong performances throughout the season meant he finished in joint-2nd place on the try scoring tables with 13 tries, the same as fellow Saracens winger Chris Wyles, behind Exeter Chiefs forward Thomas Waldrom. Ashton's impressive form led to him being called back up to the England training squad for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, held in England throughout September–October, although he was not selected in the final 31-man squad for the tournament.
Ashton received a 10-week ban in 2016 for eye-gouging. In September 2016 Ashton received a 13-wee
Crusaders Rugby League
Crusaders Rugby League was a professional rugby league club based in Bridgend and in Wrexham, Wales. They played for six seasons in the Rugby Football League competitions, including three years in the Super League from 2009 to 2011. Founded as Celtic Crusaders in 2005 based in Bridgend, the club played in National League Two from 2006–07 and in National League One in 2008. In 2009 they were awarded a Super League licence, in 2010 they moved from Bridgend to Wrexham in North Wales, dropped "Celtic" from their name. After three years in the Super League, on 26 July 2011 the club announced they were withdrawing their application to remain in the league for the 2012–15 seasons, they disbanded after the 2011 season, were succeeded by a new club, North Wales Crusaders, in Championship 1 in 2012. They played their home matches at Brewery Field the Racecourse Ground; the Crusaders won the National League Two championship in 2007. Their last coach was Wales national team coach Iestyn Harris, their home strip was red and white and the away strip was black and yellow.
In the summer of 2003, the WRU voted to reduce the top tier of Welsh professional rugby union from nine clubs into five regions. The Celtic Warriors represented the Mid-Glamorgan Valleys area, which in practice meant that they were a combination of Pontypridd RFC and Bridgend RFC. Financial problems at Pontypridd RFC led to the sale of their half of the Warriors to Bridgend RFC owner Leighton Samuel, which he gave to the WRU, he later sold his half to the WRU who in Summer 2004 decided to liquidate the club. After the success of clubs in the Welsh Premier division of the Rugby League Conference, a South Wales team was mooted to join a professional league in March 2005, as the National League Two division was due to be restructured and expanded for the 2006 season; the demise of the Celtic Warriors team and backing by businessman Leighton Samuel gave an opportunity for a team to be based in Bridgend, however Coventry Bears and Bramley Buffaloes, who reached the National League Three Grand Final wanted a place in National League Two.
The initial plan to re-use the'Celtic Warriors' name was abandoned in favour of'Celtic Crusaders', considered by the rugby union franchise. They were to play their home games at Brewery Field and games were planned to be held at Sardis Road as well; the Rugby Football League admitted the Celtic Crusaders club. On 3 July, Super League teams London Broncos and Hull FC fought out a 24-all draw at the Brewery Field, drumming up 3775 fans to watch the game as part of London's on the road home games whilst their ground was being redeveloped; the rest of 2005 was spent preparing for the upcoming season. On 13 November, Kevin Ellis was appointed Assistant Coach and a few days on 16 November Anthony Seibold was appointed Fitness and Conditioning Coach. By the end of November coach John Dixon had completed his squad, drawn from Bridgend Blue Bulls and Aberavon Fighting Irish clubs; the club were due to play their first match against Super League giants St. Helens, but due to the team being in the World Club Challenge competition, a Harlequins RL Academy side provided the opposition for the club's inaugural match.
The friendly ended in a 22–22 draw. The club were to play their first competitive match at home, but their first three Northern Rail Cup games during February; the game against Hemel was won convincingly by the Crusaders 50–10 with Tony Duggan being the first player to score a try for the Welsh franchise, Jace Van Dijk was rewarded with the first Man of the Match award. Crusaders Academy played their first match against London Harlequins Academy on 29 January. In the group stages of the Northern Rail Cup the Celtic Crusaders won all of their six games, scoring 374 points and conceding just 44. With an average of 62 points scored per match the Crusaders set the record for most points scored in a Northern Rail Cup group, beating Salford's 58 per game in 2003. Included in this winning run was the club's first home match, against London Skolars, where 1,021 people were in attendance to see the 78–14 victory. Crusaders entered into the Challenge Cup and were drawn against Russian team Moscow Locomotive for Round 3 of the competition.
They were reigning Russian Championship and Russian Cup champions and it was one of the few times that in the cup competitions long history that two non-English sides had been drawn together. However, in a match where the pitch was covered in snow the Welsh team raced into a 30–4 lead at half-time, the match finished 64–4. Round 4 provided much tougher opponents as the Crusaders were handed an away tie with National League One side Rochdale Hornets. Just three weeks after the Moscow match, on 1 April the team suffered their first defeat as Hornets won 32–8 and Crusaders were thus eliminated from the 2006 Challenge Cup. Rochdale Hornets again provided the opposition in the next round of the Northern Rail Cup and again they won, this time the match finished 6–34 at the Brewery Field. For their first season in the National League Two competition the side performed well finishing third out of twelve teams, earning 29 points; the team scored 730 points and conceded 387. Workington Town were the opposition for the first match and Crusaders won 18–50, ending Workington's 23-month unbeaten home record.
London Skolars were brushed away with a 70–0 victory in front of 634 fans in Crusaders' first home match of the league campaign, with cent
Scotland national rugby league team
The Scotland national rugby league team represent Scotland in international rugby league football tournaments. Following the break-up of the Great Britain team in 2008, Scottish players play for Scotland, apart from occasional Southern Hemisphere tours, for which the Great Britain team is expected to be revived; the team is nicknamed the Bravehearts. Though its foundations may date back to as early as 1904, the team formally began in 1995, making them the newest international rugby league team in Great Britain. In their first match they played Ireland. Since Ireland has become the team's main rival, the two teams having played each other many times in their short histories. In 2000 they qualified for their first World Cup, but failed to make an impact, losing all three of their group matches. In 2008 they beat. Scotland play in a dark blue strip, similar to the nation's football and rugby union teams, with blue shirt and socks. A blue and white shield with a thistle, the Scottish emblem, is the team's badge.
The shirt has been changed, although in the early days of the team, white was used on the shirts. The team is ranked seventh in the RLIF World Rankings, having jumped from fourth after going winless in the 2017 World Cup. Englishman Steve McCormack is the team's coach, having coached since 2004, with Danny Brough captaining the side, it could be argued that the foundations for the Scottish team began in 1904. On 5 April 1904 England played an international match against the "Other Nationalities", a team of Welshmen and Scotsmen, in Wigan, it was a 12-a-side game. Of the twelve players who played for the Other Nationalities team two of them were Scotsmen coming from Northern Union clubs, including captain George Frater. After 80 minutes the Other Nationalities had beaten England 9–3; the team carried on for another two years, playing England in 1905, losing 26–11, in 1906, drawing 3–3. The team was revived, most notably in the early 1930s, in 1949. Both Scotland and Ireland had been developing rugby league in their respective nations for several years.
This was true at student level, with a Scotland student team having played since 1987 and having competed in the 1992 Students World Cup. But it was decided that the time was right for an open-age national team to attempt to be entered into an Emerging Nations Tournament that would coincide with the 1995 World Cup, that the Rugby League International Federation had announced. Both Scotland Rugby League and Rugby League Ireland arranged a match on 13 August 1995 at the Royal Dublin Showground in Dublin, Ireland; however the Rugby Football League provided no financial support to either team. Luckily the Scotland team managed to get sponsored, the money was used for the ferry crossing, but each individual player had to pay for basic accommodation; the Scotland squad was made up of players who had played in the student squads, but a few professionals were included. Just before the start of the match, after the Scottish team had spent a night at a youth hostel, the Irish Rugby Football Union prevented the teams from getting changed at the arranged Blackrook College.
A new location was found but it was half a mile away from the ground, so the players had to walk that distance in their playing kit. The match was looking like it would be scoreless at half-time until just before the break, centre Lee Child scored to put Ireland ahead. After the break Scotland hit back, Sean Cusack scoring Scotland's first try. Gavin Manclark scored to propel Scotland into the lead; this did not last long though. Ireland scored again, with Seamus McCallion going over. Four minutes in the 69th minute, Scotland scored two tries with Manclark and Shelford sealing the eight points. However, this was not enough as Ketteridge had only kicked three conversions compared to Ireland's Ian Devery who had kicked five; the match finished with Ireland winning 26 -- 22. After this international Scotland were allowed to take place in the Emerging Nations Tournament, to be held in England. On 16 October 1995 at Featherstone they faced Russia, playing international rugby league since 1991, in their opening game in Group A. Coached by former Great Britain and England player, George Fairbairn, who put together a team of former Scotland students, rugby union players, a few league professionals including Alan Tait, who played for Leeds, who would captain the side.
The whole of the Scotland team had hired kilts to be worn pre-match. The game started off well for Scotland, and minutes Tait doubled the Bravehearts lead. But the Russia Bears dragged themselves back into the match, stand-off Victor Netchaev scoring first, in the 30th minute Alexander Otradnov scored. Scotland were ahead though at half-time by four points because Russia had failed to convert their tries. In the second half it was all Scotland with only Andrey Scheglov's drop goal adding to the Bears points. On the other hand, former Great Britain international Hugh Waddell, Ali Blee and Tait again all scored to seal a Scottish victory. Scotland's second match was against the United States in Northampton, traditionally a rugby union city; the Tomahawks were made up of AMNRL players but Scotland took a while to get going. In the twelfth minute winger Rory Lewis unexpected put America ahead, which caused The Bravehearts to start playing well for the remainder of the first half, Scotland going into