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Rugby league
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{{short description|Full-contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players on a rectangular field}}{{distinguish|rugby union}}{{Use British English|date=August 2010}}{{Use dmy dates|date=December 2015}}







factoids
Rugby league is a full-contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players on a rectangular field measuring 68m wide and 112-122m long.WEB, " Rugby League Pitch Dimensions & Markings”,weblink 16 August 2019, One of the two codes of rugby, it originated in Northern England in 1895 as a split from the Rugby Football Union over the issue of payments to players.Tony Collins, Rugby League in Twentieth Century Britain (2006), p.3 Its rules progressively changed with the aim of producing a faster, more entertaining game for spectators.BOOK, Middleton, David, League of Legends: 100 Years of Rugby League in Australia, National Museum of Australia, March 2008, 27,weblinkweblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20110317093000weblink">weblink 17 March 2011, 978-1-876944-64-3, When rugby league cast itself free of an arrogant rugby union 100 years ago, it did so with a sense of re-invention. It was not just about creating better conditions for the players but about striving to produce a better game; a less complicated brand that would appeal to the masses., yes, dmy-all, In rugby league, points are scored by carrying the ball and touching it to the ground beyond the opposing team's goal line; this is called a try, and is the primary method of scoring.WEB,weblink Government of Western Australia, Dimensions for Rugby League, Dept. Recreation and Sport, 28 July 2009,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20111008052442weblink">weblink 8 October 2011, yes, dmy-all, The opposing team attempts to stop the attacking side scoring points by tackling the player carrying the ball. In addition to tries, points can be scored by kicking goals. After each try, the scoring team gains a free kick to try at goal with a conversion for further points. Kicks at goal may also be awarded for penalties, and field goals can be attempted at any time.Rugby league is the national sport of Papua New Guinea,WEB,weblink Rugby League, a uniting force in PNG, 8 August 2012, yes,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20130527175359weblink">weblink 27 May 2013, dmy-all, NEWS,weblink PNG vow to upset World Cup odds, 15 October 2008, BBC Sport, 3 July 2009, But it would still be one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history if Papua New Guinea - the only country to have rugby league as its national sport - were to qualify for the last four., NEWS,weblink PNG seal 2010 Four Nations place, BBC, 1 November 2009, and is a popular sport in Northern England,"Rugby League World Cup 2013 will provide the sport with a true test of its popularity". The Telegraph. Retrieved 23 September 2015 Eastern Australia,WEB, Rugby league: National Rugby League and Australian Rugby League,weblink hreoc.gov.au, Australian Human Rights Commission, 11 August 2012, yes,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20120523132628weblink">weblink 23 May 2012, dmy-all, South Auckland in New Zealand, southwest France and Lebanon.Rugby League World Cup 2017: How has the sport become so popular in Lebanon?, BBC, 2 November 2017The Super League and the National Rugby League (NRL) are the premier club competitions. Rugby league is played internationally, predominantly by European, Australasian and Pacific Island countries, and is governed by the Rugby League International Federation. The first Rugby League World Cup was held in France in 1954; the current holders are Australia.WEB,weblink Weird Sports and Wacky Games around the World: From Buzkashi to Zorbing: From Buzkashi to Zorbing, Victoria Williams, Ph.D, 28 April 2015, ABC-CLIO, Google Books,

Etymology

Rugby league football takes its name from the bodies that split to create a new form of rugby, distinct from that run by the Rugby Football Unions, in Britain, Australia and New Zealand between 1895 and 1908.The first of these, the Northern Rugby Football Union, was established in 1895 as a breakaway faction of England's Rugby Football Union (RFU). Both organisations played the game under the same rules at first, although the Northern Union began to modify rules almost immediately, thus creating a new faster, stronger paced form of rugby football. Similar breakaway factions split from RFU-affiliated unions in Australia and New Zealand in 1907 and 1908, renaming themselves "rugby football leagues" and introducing Northern Union rules.Why Rugby League? {{Webarchive|url=https://web.archive.org/web/20100120041946weblink |date=20 January 2010 }} at Crusaders Rugby League website In 1922, the Northern Union also changed its name to the Rugby Football LeagueBOOK, Spracklen, Karl, 'Black Pearl, Black Diamonds' Exploring racial identities in rugby league, Routledge, 2001, 72,weblink 978-0-415-24629-3,
and thus over time the sport itself became known as "rugby league" football.

History

File:Challenge cup 1897.jpg|right|thumb|upright=1.15|The first ever (1897 Challenge Cup|Challenge Cup Final, 1897]]: Batley (left) vs St Helens (right))(File:The George Hotel, Huddersfield - geograph.org.uk - 676033.jpg|thumb|George Hotel, Huddersfield)In 1895, a schism in Rugby football resulted in the formation of the Northern Rugby Football Union (NRFU).BOOK
, Fagan
, Sean
, League of Legends: 100 Years of Rugby League in Australia
, National Museum of Australia
, 2008
,
, vii
,weblink
,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20080517000217weblink">weblink
, yes
, 2008-05-17
,
,
, 978-1-876944-64-3
, Although many factors played a part in the split, including the success of working class northern teams, the main division was caused by the RFU decision to enforce the amateur principle of the sport, preventing "broken time payments" to players who had taken time off work to play rugby. Northern teams typically had more working class players (coal miners, mill workers etc.) who could not afford to play without this compensation, in contrast to affluent southern teams who had other sources of income to sustain the amateur principle. In 1895, a decree by the RFU banning the playing of rugby at grounds where entrance fees were charged led to twenty-two clubs (including Stockport, who negotiated by telephone) meeting at the George Hotel, Huddersfield on 29 August 1895 and forming the "Northern Rugby Football Union".BOOK, Groeneveld, Margaret, Matters of the heart: The business of English rugby league, Berghahn Books, 2007, 27,weblink 978-1-84545-054-0, Within fifteen years of that first meeting in Huddersfield, more than 200 RFU clubs had left to join the rugby revolution.In 1897, the line-out was abolishedTony Collins, Rugby League in Twentieth Century Britain (2006), p.6 and in 1898 professionalism introduced.Tony Collins, Rugby League in Twentieth Century Britain, p.5 (2006) In 1906, the Northern Union changed its rules, reducing teams from 15 to 13 a side and replacing the ruck formed after every tackle with the play the ball.Tony Collins, Rugby League in Twentieth Century Britain (2006), p.6, quote:"in 1906 the number of players in a team was reduced to thirteen and an orderly play-the-ball, whereby a tackled player had to get to his feet and roll the ball behind him with his foot, was introduced. These two changes completed the break from the playing rules of rugby union and marked the birth of rugby league as a distinct sport with its own unique rules".A similar schism to that which occurred in England took place in Sydney, Australia. There, on 8 August 1907 the New South Wales Rugby Football League was founded at Bateman's Hotel in George Street.NEWS, Baker, Andrew, 100 years of rugby league: From the great divide to the Super eraThe Independent>Independent, The, independent.co.uk, 20 August 1995,weblink 25 September 2009, London, Rugby league then went on to displace rugby union as the primary football code in New South Wales and Queensland.BOOK, Jupp, James, The Australian People: An Encyclopedia of the Nation, Its People and Their Origins, Cambridge University Press, 2001, 342 & 343,weblink 978-0-521-80789-0, On 5 May 1954 over 100,000 (official figure 102,569) spectators watched the 1953–54 Challenge Cup Final at Odsal Stadium, Bradford, England, setting a new record for attendance at a rugby football match of either code. Also in 1954 the Rugby League World Cup, the first for either code of rugby, was formed at the instigation of the French. In 1966, the International Board introduced a rule that a team in possession was allowed three play-the-balls and on the fourth tackle a scrum was to be formed. This was increased to six tackles in 1972 and in 1983 the scrum was replaced by a handover.BOOK, Collins, Tony, Rugby League in Twentieth Century Britain, Routledge, 18 April 2006, 1, 113–114, 978-0-415-39615-8, 1967 saw the first professional Sunday matches of rugby league played.The first sponsors, Joshua Tetley and John Player, entered the game for the 1971–72 Northern Rugby Football League season. Television would have an enormous impact on the sport of rugby league in the 1990s when Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation sought worldwide broadcasting rights and refused to take no for an answer. The media giant's "Super League" movement saw big changes for the traditional administrators of the game. In Europe, it resulted in a move from a winter sport to a summer one as the new Super League competition tried to expand its market. In Australasia, the Super League war resulted in long and costly legal battles and changing loyalties, causing significant damage to the code in an extremely competitive sporting market. In 1997 two competitions were run alongside each other in Australia, after which a peace deal in the form of the National Rugby League was formed. The NRL has since become recognised as the sport's flagship competition and since that time has set record TV ratings and crowd figures.WEB,weblink Rugby League Attendances 1957–2010, rleague.com, 2010, yes,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20090408033449weblink">weblink 8 April 2009, dmy-all,

Rules

Laws of the game

(File:WIN Stadium trial match.jpg|thumb|right|A typical game of rugby league being played.)The objective in rugby league is to score more points through tries, goals (also known as conversions) and field goals (also known as drop goals) than the opposition within the 80 minutes of play. If after two halves of play, each consisting of forty minutes, the two teams are drawing, a draw may be declared, or the game may enter extra time under the golden point rule, depending on the relevant competition's format.The try is the most common form of scoring,WEB,weblink Season Summary, Rugby League Tables, 7 April 2010, yes,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20100512174712weblink">weblink 12 May 2010, dmy-all, and a team will usually attempt to score one by running and kicking the ball further upfield or passing from player-to-player in order to manoeuvre around the opposition's defence. A try involves touching the ball to the ground on or beyond the defending team's goal-line and is worth four points. A goal is worth two points and may be gained from a conversion or a penalty. A field goal, or drop goal, is only worth one point and is gained by dropping and then kicking the ball on the half volley between the uprights in open play.Field position is crucial in rugby league,NEWS
,
,
, Stats Insider: Grand Final by the numbers
, nrl.com
, Australia
,
,
, National Rugby League, NRL.COM and Telstra Corporation Pty Ltd.
, 28 September 2010
,weblink
, 21 September 2010
, yes
,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20100930101955weblink">weblink
, 30 September 2010
, dmy-all
, achieved by running with or kicking the ball. Passing in rugby league may only be in a backward or sideways direction. Teammates, therefore, have to remain on-side by not moving ahead of the player with the ball. However the ball may be kicked ahead for teammates, but again, if they are in front of the kicker when the ball is kicked, they are deemed off-side. Tackling is a key component of rugby league play. Only the player holding the ball may be tackled. A tackle is complete, for example, when the player is held by one or more opposing playersin such a manner that he can make no further progress and cannot part with the ball, or when the player is held by one or more opposing players and the ball or the hand or arm holding the ball comes into contact with the ground.WEB,weblink RUGBY LEAGUE LAWS OF THE GAME INTERNATIONAL LEVEL WITH NOTES ON THE LAWS AND NRL TELSTRA PREMIERSHIP INTERPRETATIONS, PLAYNRL.COM, 2015, yes,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20160304051045weblink">weblink 4 March 2016, dmy-all, An attacking team gets a maximum of six tackles to progress up the field before possession is changed over. Once the tackle is completed, the ball-carrier must be allowed to get to his feet to 'play-the-ball'. Ball control is also important in rugby league, as a fumble of the ball on the ground forces a handover, unless the ball is fumbled backwards. The ball can also be turned over by going over the sideline.

Comparison with rugby union

The comparison with rugby union is possible because of the games' similarities and shared origins; however, they remain two distinctly different sports.Both sports have the same fundamental rules, are played for 80 minutes and feature an oval-shaped ball and H-shaped goals. Both have rules that the ball cannot be passed forward, and dropping it forwards leads to a scrum. Both use tries as the central scoring method and conversions, penalty goals and drop goals as additional scoring methods. However, there are differences in how many points each method is worth.One of the main differences is the rules of possession,WEB, Telfer, Jim, It’s Le Crunch for Magners League,weblink STV (TV network), STV, 25 July 2010, Jim Telfer,weblink 25 July 2010, 5 May 2010, yes, dmy, When the ball goes into touch, possession in rugby union is contested through a line-out, while in rugby league a scrum restarts play. The lesser focus on contesting possession means that play stops less frequently in rugby league,BOOK, George Caplan, Mark Adams, BTEC National: Sport, Heinemann, 2007, 99,weblink 978-0-435-46514-8, with the ball typically in play for 50 out of the 80 minutes compared to around 35 for professional rugby union.NEWS, Cleary, Mick, Talking Rugby: No code like the old code, telegraph.co.uk, Telegraph Media Group Limited, 5 October 2000,weblink 21 November 2009,weblink 26 July 2010, yes, dmy, Other differences include that there are fewer players in rugby league (13 compared to 15),BOOK, Breivik, Simon L., British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Sport And Exercise Physiology Testing Guidelines: The British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences Guide, Taylor & Francis, 2007, 257,weblink 978-0-415-36141-5, NEWS, Thomsen, Ian, Football Players Are Awfully Tough, but Enough for Rugby?,weblink 19 June 2012, The New York Times, 10 January 1998, different rules for tackling and that a rugby league pitch is shorter in length. Rugby union has more detailed rules than rugby leagueNEWS,weblink What they said, Peter Fitzsimons, 19 May 2007, Sydney Morning Herald, NEWS, Sonny could be something under a canny Kiwi coach, Spiro Zavos, 6 September 2009, Sydney Morning Herald, and has changed less since the 1895 schism.WEB,weblink Scoring through the ages rugbyfootballhistory.com, 24 June 2012, The inherent similarities between rugby league and rugby union have at times led to the possibility of a merger of the two variantsNEWS, Jones, Chris, It's all a code merger mystery,weblink 14 June 2019, Evening Standard, ESI Media, 9 October 2000,weblink 14 June 2019, London, and experimental hybrid games have been played that use a mix of the two sports' rules.NEWS, Growden, Greg, Hybrid rugby union-league experiment,weblink 22 June 2012, Sydney Morning Herald, 12 May 2011, Rugby league historian Tony Collins has written that since turning professional in the mid-1990s, rugby union has increasingly borrowed techniques and tactics from rugby league.BOOK, Tony Collins, Rugby's Great Split: Class, Culture and the Origins of Rugby League Football, 2006, Taylor & Francis, UK, 978-0-415-39616-5, xii,weblink BOOK, Collins, Tony, A Social History of English Rugby Union, 2009, Taylor & Francis, UK, 978-0-415-47660-7, 154,weblink

Positions

File:Leeds Rhinos1.jpg|thumb|left|upright=1.35|Leeds playing at the 2008 Boxing Day friendly against Wakefield Trinity at Headingley ]]Players on the pitch are divided into forwards and backs, although the game's rules apply to all players the same way. Each position has a designated number to identify himself from other players. These numbers help to identify which position a person is playing. The system of numbering players is different depending on which country the match is played in. In Australia and New Zealand, each player is usually given a number corresponding to their playing position on the field. However, since 1996 European teams have been able to grant players specific squad numbers, which they keep without regard to the position they play, similarly to association football.{{citation|publisher=theRFL|title='history of the sport' in 1996|url=http://www.therfl.co.uk/about/page.php?areaid=46|deadurl=yes|archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20090922085622weblink|archivedate=22 September 2009|df=dmy-all}}Substitutes (generally referred to as "the bench") are allowed in the sport, and are typically used when a player gets tired or injured, although they can also be used tactically. Each team is currently allowed four substitutes, and in Australia and New Zealand, these players occupy shirt numbers 14 to 22.{{citation|publisher=This is rugby |title='rugby league playing guide' squad numbers |url=http://www.thisisrugby.info/servlets/template?FILE=rugby-league-guide&navid=17 |deadurl=yes |archiveurl=https://web.archive.org/web/20090731131603weblink |archivedate=31 July 2009 }} There are no limitations on which players must occupy these interchangeable slots. Generally, twelve interchanges are allowed in any game from each team, although in the National Rugby League, this was reduced to ten prior to the 2008 seasonWEB,weblink League rule changes for 2008, www.leagueunlimited.com (League Unlimited), 18 June 2009, yes,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20090216224450weblink">weblink 16 February 2009, dmy-all, and further reduced to eight prior to the 2016 season. If a team has to interchange a player due to the blood bin rule or due to injury, and this was the result of misconduct from the opposing team, the compromised team does not have to use one of its allocated interchanges to take the player in question off the field.

Backs

The backs are generally smaller, faster and more agile than the forwards. They are often the most creative and evasive players on the field, relying on running, kicking and handling skills, as well as tactics and set plays, to break the defensive line, instead of brute force. Generally forwards do the majority of the work (hit-ups/tackling).
  • The title of fullback (numbered 1) comes from the fullback's defensive position where the player drops out of the defensive line to cover the rear from kicks and runners breaking the line. They therefore usually are good ball catchers and clinical tacklers. In attack, the fullback will typically make runs into the attack or support a runner in anticipation of a pass out of the tackle. Fullbacks can play a role in attack similar to a halfback or five-eighth and the fact that the fullback does not have to defend in the first defensive line means that a coach can keep a playmaker from the tackling responsibilities of the first line whilst allowing them to retain their attacking role.
  • The wingers (numbered 2 and 5) are normally the fastest players in a team and play on the far left and right fringes of the field (the wings). Their main task is to receive passes and score tries. The wingers also drop back on the last tackle to cover the left and right sides of the field for kicks while the fullback covers the middle.
  • The centres (numbered 3 and 4) are positioned one in from the wings and together complete what is known as the three-quarter line. Usually the best mixture of power and vision, their main role is to try to create attacking opportunities for their team and defend against those of the opposition. Along with the wingers, the centres score plenty of tries throughout a season. They usually have a large build and therefore can often play in the second row forwards.
Usually, the stand-off/five-eighth and scrum-half/half-back are a team's creative unit or 'playmakers'. During the interactions between a team's 'key' players (five-eighth, half-back, fullback, lock forward, and hooker), the five-eighth and half-back will usually be involved in most passing moves. These two positions are commonly called the "halves".
  • The stand-off half, or five-eighth (numbered 6): There is not much difference between the stand-off half and the scrum half (halfback), in that both players may operate in front of the pack during 'forward play' (as prime receiver [7] and shadow receiver [6], one on each side of the ruck, or both on same side of the ruck), and both players may operate in front of the backs during 'back play' (as prime pivot [6] and shadow pivot [7], one on each side of the pack, or both on same side of the ruck / pack). The Five-Eighth position is named with regard to the distance that the player stands in relevance to the team.
  • The halfback (numbered 7): There is not much difference between the halfback and the five-eighth, in that both players may operate in front of the pack during 'forward play' (as prime receiver [7] and shadow receiver [6], one on each side of the ruck, or both on same side of the ruck). Both players may operate in front of the backs during 'back play' (as prime pivot [6] and shadow pivot [7], one on each side of the ruck/pack, or both on same side of the ruck/pack). The halfback position is named with regard to halfway between the fullback and the forwards.

Forwards

(File:Ftwins.jpg|thumb|right|upright=1.35|Rugby league is noted for its hard physical play)The forwards' two responsibilities can be broken into "normal play" and "scrum play". For information on a forward's role in the scrum see rugby league scrummage. Forward positions are traditionally named after the player's position in the scrum yet are equal with respect to "normal play" with the exception of the hooker. Forward positions are traditionally assigned as follows:
  • The props or front-row forwards (numbered 8 and 10) are normally the largest players on field. They are positioned in the centre of the line. The prop will be an "enforcer", dissuading the opposition from attacking the centre of the defensive line and, in attack, will give the team momentum by taking the ball up to the defence aggressively.
  • The hooker (numbered 9) is most likely to play the role of dummy half. In defence the hooker usually defends in the middle of the line against the opposition's props and second-rowers. The hooker will be responsible for organising the defence in the middle of the field. In attack as dummy-half this player is responsible for starting the play from every play-the-ball by either passing the ball to the right player, or, at opportune moments, running from dummy-half. It is vital that the hooker can pass very well. Traditionally, hookers "hooked" the ball in the scrum. Hookers also make probably more tackles than any other player on the field. The hooker is always involved in the play and needs to be very fit. They need to have a very good knowledge of the game and the players around them.
  • The second row forwards (numbered 11 and 12) The modern day second row is very similar to a centre and is expected to be faster, more mobile and have more skills than the prop and will play amongst the three-quarters, providing strength in attack and defence when the ball is passed out to the wings. Good second-rowers combine the skills and responsibilities of props and centres in the course of the game.
  • The Loose forward or Lock (numbered 13) is the only forward in the third (last) row of the scrum. They are usually among the fittest players on the field, covering the entire field on both attacking and defending duties. Typically they are big ball-runners who can occasionally slot in as a passing link or kick option; it is not uncommon for locks to have the skills of a five-eighth and to play a similar role in the team.

Rugby league worldwide

{{See also|List of rugby league competitions}}Rugby league is played in over 70 nations throughout the world. Seven countries — Australia, Canada, England, France, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Wales — have teams that play at a professional level, while the rest are completely amateur. 36 national teams are ranked by the RLIF and a further 32 are officially recognized and unranked.WEB,weblink Rugby League Planet - Rugby League strategic roadmap aims to double worldwide TV audience by 2025 (Full Version), www.rugbyleagueplanet.com, The strongest rugby league nations are Australia, England and New Zealand.

World Cup

The Rugby League World Cup is the highest form of representative rugby league and currently features 14 teams. Those which have contested World Cups are; Australia, New Zealand, England, France, Fiji, Wales, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Ireland, USA, Scotland, Italy, Tonga, Cook Islands, Lebanon, Russia and South Africa. The current World Champions are Australia, who won the 2017 Rugby League World Cup. The next Rugby League World Cup will be held in October and November 2021 and hosted by England. This will be the first time that the Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair competitions will be staged together.WEB, " Rugby League World Cup 2021 Competition Structure”,weblink 16 August 2019,

Oceania and South Pacific

The Asia-Pacific Rugby League Confederation's purpose is to spread the sport of rugby league throughout their region along with other governing bodies such as the ARL and NZRL.WEB,weblink Home - Asia Pacific Rugby League Confederation, Asia Pacific Rugby League Confederation, Since rugby league was introduced to Australia in 1908,it has become the largest television sport and 3rd most attended sport in Australia.Most Popular Sports in Australia. Topendsports.com. Retrieved 20 August 2013. Neighbouring Papua New Guinea is one of two countries to have rugby league as its national sport (with Cook Islands). Australia's elite club competition also features a team from Auckland, New Zealand's biggest city. Rugby league is the dominant winter sport in the eastern Australian states of New South Wales and Queensland.JOURNAL,weblink RUGBY LEAGUE IN AUSTRALIA: THE SUPER LEAGUE SAGA, David, Rowe, 15 August 2016, Journal of Sport and Social Issues, jss.sagepub.com, 10.1177/019372397021002008, The game is also among the predominant sports of TongaBOOK, Matt Fletcher, Nancy Keller, Tonga, 2001, Lonely Planet, Australia, 978-1-74059-061-7, 73,weblink and is played in other Pacific nations such as Samoa and Fiji. In Australia, and indeed the rest of the region, the annual State of Origin series ranks among the most popular sporting events.NEWS, Ford, Greg, State of Origin bigger test for James Tamou,weblink 16 June 2012, Fairfax NZ News, 18 April 2012, NEWS, Apathy in old Dart like an arrow through our heart,weblink 17 June 2012, Stock & Land, 1 November 2008,

Europe

The Rugby League European Federation are responsible for developing rugby league in Europe and the Northern Hemisphere,RLEF. Rlef.eu.com. Retrieved 20 August 2013.In England, rugby league has traditionally been associated with the northern counties of Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria where the game originated, especially in towns along the M62 corridor. Its popularity has also increased elsewhere.NEWS, BBC Sport, Interest growing in Conference,weblink 14 December 2008, 14 December 2008, Dave, Woods, NEWS, Active Surrey, Rugby League Activity,weblink 14 December 2008, 14 December 2008, yes,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20070228231649weblink">weblink 28 February 2007, dmy-all, NEWS, Rugby Football League, Engage Super League Attracts Strong Viewing in 2008,weblink 14 December 2008, 14 December 2008, yes,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20110718203735weblink">weblink 18 July 2011, dmy-all, As of 2019, only two of the twelve Super League teams are based outside of these traditional counties: London Broncos and Catalans Dragons (Perpignan). Two other teams from outside the United Kingdom, the Toronto Wolfpack and Toulouse Olympique, also compete in the English Rugby League system. Both teams will play in the Rugby League Championship in 2018.Super League average attendances are in the 8,000 to 9,500 range. The average Super League match attendance in 2014 was 8,365.NEWS, Rugby union and rugby league compared ahead of Manchester showdown between England v Uruguay and Super League final,weblink CityAM, 8 December 2017, Ranked the eighth most popular sport in the UK overall,MORI Sports Tracker - Interest in Sports Ipsos MORI Retrieved 2 March 2018 rugby league is the 27th most popular participation sport in England according to figures released by Sport England; the total number of rugby league participants in England aged 16 and over was 44,900 in 2017. This is a 39% drop from 10 years ago.NEWS, What is the most popular sport in England?,weblink The Telegraph, 8 December 2017, While the sport is largely concentrated in the north of England there have been complaints about its lack of profile in the British media. On the eve of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup Final where England would face Australia, English amateur rugby league coach Ben Dawson stated, “we’re in the final of a World Cup. First time in more than 30 years and there's no coverage anywhere.”NEWS, Rugby League World Cup: The final hardly anyone seems to be talking about,weblink BBC, 28 March 2018, File:Thomas Bosc 2013 (1).JPG|thumb|left|France vs New Zealand in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup at Parc des Sports (Avignon)Parc des Sports (Avignon)France first played rugby league as late as 1934, where in the five years prior to the Second World War, the sport's popularity increased as Frenchmen became disenchanted with the state of French rugby union in the 1930s.NEWS,weblink French rugby league fights for rights, news.bbc.co.uk (BBC News), 18 July 2009, Schofield, Hugh, 8 October 2002, However, after the Allied Forces were defeated by Germany in June 1940, the Vichy regime in the south seized assets belonging to rugby league authorities and clubs and banned the sport for its association with the left-wing Popular Front government that had governed France before the war. The sport was unbanned after the Liberation of Paris in August 1944 and the collapse of the Vichy regime, although it was still actively marginalised by the French authorities until the 1990s. Despite this, the national side appeared in the finals of the 1954 and 1968 World Cups, and the country hosted the 1954 event.WEB,weblink Rugby League Planet – 1954 Rugby League World Cup, www.rugbyleagueplanet.com, 18 July 2009, WEB,weblink Rugby League Planet – 1968 Rugby League World Cup, www.rugbyleagueplanet.com, 18 July 2009, In 1996, a French team, Paris Saint-Germain was one of eleven teams which formed the new Super League, although the club was dissolved in 1997.WEB,weblink Step Back in Time: Catalans (H)accessdate=18 July 2009first=, In 2006, the Super League admitted the Catalans Dragons, a team from Perpignan in the southern Languedoc-Roussillon region.HTTP://NEWS.BBC.CO.UK/SPORT1/HI/RUGBY_LEAGUE/SUPER_LEAGUE/3748507.STM>TITLE=FRENCH JOIN SUPER LEAGUEACCESSDATE=18 JULY 2009FIRST=, 26 May 2004, They have subsequently reached the 2007 Challenge Cup Final and made the playoffs of the 2008 Super League XIII season. The success of the Dragons in Super League has initiated a renaissance in French rugby league, with new-found enthusiasm for the sport in the south of the country where most of the Elite One Championship teams are based. In other parts of Europe, the game is played at semi-professional and amateur level.

North America

The Toronto Wolfpack are currently North America's only active professional Rugby League team, competing in the English Rugby League system. The Wolfpack won the 2017 Kingstone Press League 1 in their inaugural season and earned promotion to the 2018 Rugby League Championship. The Wolfpack play their home games at Lamport Stadium in Toronto.NEWS,weblink Toronto Wolfpack: Meet the first transatlantic rugby league team, BBC, 24 February 2017, 2 March 2018, Beginning in 2020, however, the English Hemel Stags will be relocated to Ottawa, where their home field will be TD Place Stadium.NEWS,weblink Ottawa gets green light for English rugby league franchise, CBC, Neil Davidson, May 20, 2019, June 25, 2019,

Other countries

The early 21st century has seen take up the game and compete in international rugby league with the Rugby League European Federation and Asia-Pacific Rugby League Confederation expanding the game to new areas such as Canada, Ghana, Philippines, Czech Republic, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Spain, Hungary, Turkey, Thailand, Chile, Brazil and Argentina to name a few.RLEF. Rlef.eu.com (29 July 2011). Retrieved 20 August 2013.WEB,weblink Meet the Yorkshireman determined to bring rugby league to Madrid, www.yorkshirepost.co.uk, WEB,weblink The new nations of rugby league,

Domestic professional competitions

The two most prominent full-time professional leagues are the Australasian National Rugby League and the Super League and to a lesser extent the semi professional French Elite One Championship and Elite Two Championship. Domestic leagues, with some full-time exceptions, exist at a semi-professional level below the NRL and Super League, in Australia the Queensland Cup (which includes a team from Papua New Guinea) and NSW Cup, which provides players to various NRL teams. In the United Kingdom below Super League is the Championship and League 1 (the professional system includes 2 Welsh teams, 2 French and 1 Canadian team). The Papua New Guinea National Rugby League operates as a semi-professional competition and enjoys nationwide media coverage, being the national sport of the country.

Attendances

International

The top five attendances for rugby league test matches (International) are:{| class="wikitable" width=90% bgcolor=#bdb76b! Game !! Date !! Result !! Venue !! City !! Crowd2013 Rugby League World Cup Final>2013 World Cup Final 30 November 2013 Australian Kangaroos def. New Zealand national rugby league team>New Zealand 34–2 Old Trafford Manchester 74,4681989–1992 Rugby League World Cup#Final>1992 World Cup Final 24 October 1992 Australia def. Great Britain Lions 10–6 >Wembley Stadium (1923)>Wembley Stadium London 73,6311932 Rugby League Ashes series>1932 Ashes series, Game 1 6 June 1932 England national rugby league team def. Australia 8–6 >Sydney Cricket Ground >Sydney >| 70,2041962 Rugby League Ashes series>1962 Ashes series, Game 1 9 June 1962 Great Britain def. Australia 31–12 Sydney Cricket Ground Sydney 70,1741958 Rugby League Ashes series>1958 Ashes series, Game 1 14 June 1958 Australia def. Great Britain 25–8 Sydney Cricket Ground Sydney 68,777

Domestic

The top five attendances for domestic based rugby league matches are:{| class="wikitable" width=90% bgcolor=#bdb76b! Game !! Date !! Result !! Venue !! City !! Crowd1999 NRL Grand Final >Melbourne Storm>Melbourne def. St George Illawarra Dragons 20–18 >Stadium Australia >Sydney >| 107,9991999 NRL season Round 1 >Newcastle Knights def. Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 41–18Parramatta Eels def. St George Illawarra Dragons 20–10 >| 104,583*1953–54 Northern Rugby Football League season#Challenge Cup>1954 Challenge Cup Final replay 5 May 1954 Warrington Wolves def. Halifax R.L.F.C.>Halifax 8–4 Odsal Stadium Bradford 102,569**1984–85 Rugby Football League season#Challenge Cup>1985 Challenge Cup Final 4 May 1985 Wigan Warriors def. Hull F.C. 28–24 >Wembley Stadium (1923)>Wembley Stadium London 99,8011965–66 Northern Rugby Football League season#Challenge Cup>1966 Challenge Cup Final 21 May 1966 St Helens R.F.C. def. Wigan 21–2 >| 98,536
  • NRL double header played to open Round 1 of the 1999 NRL season. Figure shown is the total attendance which is officially counted for both games.WEB,weblink NRL 1999 - Round 1 - Rugby League Project, Shawn Dollin and Andrew, Ferguson, www.rugbyleagueproject.org, WEB,weblink NRL 1999 - Round 1 - Rugby League Project, Shawn Dollin and Andrew, Ferguson, www.rugbyleagueproject.org, The official attendance of the 1954 Challenge Cup Final replay was 102,569. Unofficial estimates put the attendance as high as 150,000, Bradford Police confirming 120,000.

See also

References

{{Reflist}}

Further reading

  • WEB,weblink Rugby League International Federation, The International Laws of the Game and Notes on the Laws, RLIF, 2004, 30 July 2008, RLIF-ILG-2004,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20090326215923weblink">weblink 26 March 2009, yes, dmy-all,
  • BOOK, Andrews, Malcolm, Rugby league, the greatest game of all, Horwitz, 1981,weblink 978-0-7255-1338-2,
  • BOOK, Andrews, Malcolm, The A-Z of Rugby League, Hodder Moa Beckett, 1995,weblink 978-0-340-59956-3,

External links

{{Wiktionary-inline|Rugby league}}{{Commons-inline|Rugby league}} {{International rugby league}}{{Team sports}}{{Authority control}}

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