Off Topic Rugby league history

moto748

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Watched part 1, will catch part 2 later.

That's an old film, and it's good to know that the game is stronger now than it was then. I remember when RU went (officially) professional, and all the papers were full of pundits predicting the end of league in a few years, and maybe some 'combined' game replacing it. Thankfully, those predictions proved wide of the mark.

It goes without saying that the treatment of league by the RFU over the years has been absolutely disgraceful. And, of course, in France, even worse...:mad:
 
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moto748

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From the Guardian's Set of Six column this week:

This morning's ANZAC Test coincides with the timely arrival of a new booklet to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the first world war and one of the most famous matches ever played: the Rorke's Drift Test. At the Sydney Cricket Ground on 4 July 1914, the Northern Union XIII - reduced for much of the match to 10 players and part of it to nine - hung on to beat Australia, and win a controversial series.

James Bancroft, a Salfordian historian specialising in the British Army of the Victorian period, was intrigued by the story. It was a Sydney newspaper reporter who first compared the backs-to-the-wall spirit of the touring team to that famously shown by the British and colonial soldiers when hugely outnumbered by Zulu warriors in South Africa in 1879.

Lions manager John Clifford set the tone: "You are playing in a game of football this afternoon," he said in the pre-match team-talk, "but, more than that, you are playing for England and more, even, you are playing Right versus Wrong. You will win because you have to win. Don't forget that message from home: 'England expects every man to do his duty'."

The Lions led 9-3 at half-time but with 30 minutes remaining lost Halifax's Frank Williams and the great Duggie Clark with a broken thumb and smashed collarbone, as they finally gave in to their injuries. Then Oldham's Billy Hall was carried off concussed, and they were briefly four players short when Halifax's Stuart Prosser needed treatment. No subs allowed then, of course. Hall returned as the 11 men fought on to win 14-6.

"Never had I nine such men with me on a football field as I had that day," said captain Harold Wagstaff, Huddersfield's Prince of Centre. "We were in our own half all the time and most of it seemed to be on our own line. But we stuck to it." Wagstaff describes the match-sealing try from Chick Johnson thus: "as wonderful a try as Test football will ever produce".

As well as a detailed match report, pictures and biographical tributes to all 26 men who embarked on the tour, Bancroft has commissioned new action illustrations and an historically-accurate front cover colour picture depicting the kits worn in that momentous game. Pre-publication copies (signed by the author on request), with the limited-edition print, are available at £4.99 by cheque from James Bancroft (jamesbancroftuk@aol.com), 280 Liverpool Road, Eccles M30 0RZ. Or online from Bancroft Publishing.

http://www.theguardian.com/sport/no-helmets-required/2014/may/02/rugby-super-league-castleford-liverpool
 

S J

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