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Wednesday, 28 January 2015

France Tour Australasia 1951

11th June 1951             Australia 15 v France  26                 Sydney

In 1951, France toured of Australasia for the first time led by their legendary fullback Puig Aubert. Their flamboyant style of rugby attracted large crowds and the first Test match was the first "all ticket" international to be staged at the Sydney Cricket Ground with a crowd of over 60,000. They lost just five times on the twenty eight game tour,  including a 2-1 victory in the test series, and were greeted by large crowds on their return to France

CLICK HERE to view some excellent footage of the 1951 French Tourists in action

France return home 1951

Thursday, 22 January 2015

The Indomitables

20th July 1946                  Australia  7 v The Lions  20             Sydney

After the devestation casued by World War II, Great Britain relaunched International Rugby League with a tour down under which was the first major event in any sport after the war. Captained by Gus Risman, they are regarded as the greatest touring team of all time and they still remain the only Great Britain team to remain unbeaten in a test series in Australia. At the time, the only way to travel was onboard Royal Navy vessels and the team made the trip onboard HMS Indomitable from which their nickname came. The first test was drawn 8-8 in Sydney while Great Britain won the second test 14-5 in Brisbane. The Ashes were retained with a 20-7 win at the Sydney Cricket Ground with tries from Bassett, Curren and Owens with goals from Risman(3) and Ward

Saturday, 17 January 2015

First International Match for France

     Australia v England 1933               Jean Galia

15 April 1934                  France 21 England 32                      Paris

After an exhibition match between Australia and England in 1933, ex-RU International and Championship Boxer, Jean Galia led France on a six match tour to England which included a win in Hull. Their first international match followed soon after and 20 000 excited Parisians watched them lose narrowly to England at the Buffalo Velodrome. Enough enthusiasm was developed to form the French Championship and soon after the national team secured a 15-15 draw in a return match against England

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Australia Win the Ashes for the First Time

3rd July 1920                  Australia 21  Northern Union 8        Sydney

Australia won the first test 8-4 in Brisbane then secured the Ashes in the second test 21-8 in Sydney with tries from Farnsworth, Gilbert, Horder, Potter and Vest with goals from Burge and Horder and a drop goal from Fraser. The Lions replied with tries from Gallagher and Johnson and a goal from Gronow.
The Northern Union received some consolation by winning the third test 23-13 in SydneyIn 1922, the Northern Union team representing Great Britain adopted the nickname The Lions and regained the Ashes which would not be lost again until 1950.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Rorke's Drift Test

14th July 1914                 Australia 6 Northern Union 14         Sydney

The 1914 GB Lions tour to Australia became controversial when the third and deciding test was brought forward against the wishes of the GB team who were struggling with injuries. They were ahead 9-3 at half time but were reduced to ten players with 30 minutes to go (in the days before substitutions) during the second half when Frank Williams, Douglas Clark and Billy Hall were injured. The team defended heroically and even managed to increase their lead to 14-3 with a try from John Johnson (a forward playing on the wing in place of Williams) after a great break by captain and Price of Centres, Harold Wagstaffe. Sid Deane scored for Australia in the last few minutes but the Lions hung on for a magnificent win

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

The First International RL Match

1st January 1908             Wales 9  New Zealand All Golds 8              Aberdare

In 1907-08, Albert Henry Baskerville organized a group of New Zealand players for a professional tour to the UK against Northern Union opposition. Dubbed the All Golds they included Australian susperstar Dally Messenger as a guest and played a total of 46 matches including the first RL international against Wales. Although the All Golds led 8 -3 at half time the Welsh came back strongly and Dai Jones scored a try with only minutes to go. They held on for a famous victory although Dick Wynard of the All Golds missed a great opportunity

Dally Messenger                                 Albert Baskerville  

Saturday, 9 August 2014

RLIF Announce Latest World Rankings

After a summer of RL activity, the new world rankings have been announced by the RLIF. They are the first since the 2013 World Cup.
The number of ranked-nations has risen to 34 including  new entrants Spain in 28th place.  Russia are up to 14th -the number of nations that will contest the 2017 World Cup. The biggest movers are Greece who rise to 26th

CLICK HERE for more info

Thursday, 7 August 2014

France, Ireland, Scotland and Wales will meet in the autumn as the fixtures were confirmed for the 2014 European Championships. The winners will qualify for the 2016 Four Nations tournament to be held in the northern hemisphere.


17/10/14  Scotland v Wales   Workington     
18/10/14  Ireland v France      Dublin 

25/10/14  Ireland v Scotland   Dublin   

25/10/14  France v Wales      Albi

31/10/14  Scotland v France  Galashiels   

2/11/14    Wales v Ireland      Wrexham

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

2017 World Cup Qualifiers Announced

Seven automatic qualifiers for the 2017 World Cup have been announced. They are:- 

Australia, New Zealand, England, Fiji, France, Samoa and Scotland  

The seven nations all reached the quarter finals of the 2013 tournament. The next World Cup will be held in Australia and NZ and will involve 14 teams.

The remaining seven participating nations will be selected from four regions; three from Europe, two from Asia Pacific, one from the Americas and another from MEA. The four regions will reveal their qualification programmes by October 2014 and the process will be open to Affiliate Member nations who gain Full status before then

USA were the only 2013 quarter finalist excluded but they do not have full member status

A decision has obviously been made to increase the geograpical spread of the tournament at the expense of the Pacific nations leaving the Cook I as a potential loser. The opportunity to include a Middle East or African nation e.g. Lebanon is very exciting and cannot be missed 

It throws up some interesting clashes with a big prize at stake. We can all look forward to potential sudden death matches like USA v Canada, Italy v Russia, Lebanon v SA and PNG/Tonga v Cook I.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Koukash plans Dubai Nines

As part of his plans to make RL a global sport, Salford owner Dr Marwan Koukash is planning a Nines tournament to be held in Dubai. It would augment the Auckland Nines and would involve both SL and NRL clubs

CLICK HERE for more details

In 2011, I wrote about nines on this blog 

"It is a good showcase for our game, an excellent way of introducing newcomers and great way of spreading the word"

CLICK HERE to see the original post

I really like Dr Koukash, he's obviously very enthusiastic, is brilliant at generating publicity, he wears his heart on his sleeve and is a breath of fresh air to our sport. Dr Koukash is a very bright bloke and has been very successful in his business careeer. He's a doer rather than a watcher and we need more people like him in our sport. OK, maybe some his proclamations have been naive and possibly unwise but most aren't serious and should be taken with a pinch of salt. I wish him every success