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Thursday, 26 February 2015

First Ever Ashes Test Match

The Rugby League Ashes

The Ashes is the name given to the trophy awarded to the winner of a Rugby League test series between Great Britain and Australia. The format used is usually that three matches are played, with the winning team being decided on the basis of most matches won.

The team representing Great Britain were originally known as the Northern Union after the sport’s govorning body and the team representing Australia were and still are known as the Kangaroos

First Ever Ashes Test Match

December 12 1908                  Northern Union 22 Australia 22          London

 dominated the match early on and led by 14-5 at half-time. They seemed assured of victory when leading 17-5 early in the second half but Australia fought back with tries from Devereaux and O'Malley to bring the score to 17-15 to the Northern Union . The home side scored another try to lead 20-15 with time fast running out but with five minutes to go the great Dally Messenger intercepted near his own try line. He evaded the chasing defenders to within sight of the try line where he passed to Devereaux who crashed over under the posts. Messenger kicked the goal and the Kangaroos took the lead for the first time at 22-20. Unfortunately for them, the Northern Union were awarded a last minute penalty for obstruction and when they kicked the goal the match ended as draw.

Friday, 20 February 2015

The Invincibles

30th October 1982         Great Britain 4  Australia 40     Hull

Australia's side for the first Test was built around the new breed of young players  Grothe, Pearce, Meninga, Kenny and Sterling. Great Britain included five players aged over the age of thirty and they were competitive in the first half although Australia led 10-4 at half time. In the second half, the Kangaroos demonstrated their superlative skills including pace, guile, teamwork and fitness and scored six stunning tries in the process. The Great Britain team, the crowd and the game in  the UK were stunned and have not really recovered to this day.

Friday, 13 February 2015

The Kumuls from Papua New Guinea

6th July 1975                   Papua New Guinea  12   v   England  40      Port Moresby

Papua New Guinea is the only country in the world where Rugby League is regarded as the national sport. The national team nicknamed The Kumuls played their first international match in 1975 against the returning England World Cup squad although they lost 40 -12. Two years later they thrashed France 37 -6 and made their first overseas tour to Europe in 1979

Sunday, 8 February 2015

"Everybody's saying go go go and he goes"

2nd November 1972          Great Britain 10  v  Australia 10     Lyon

The 1972 World Cup was played in France and Great Britain and Australia fought their way through to the Final. Clive Sullivan and Mick (Stevo) Stephenson scored tries for Great Britain and Terry Clawson kicked a goal. Artie Beetson and John O’Neill replied for Australia which took the game into extra time although no further points were scored and Great Britain were declared the winners courtesy of their superior record in the group stages of the competition. The game is best remembered for the brilliant try by Clive Sullivan and the accompanying commentary by Eddie Waring. The Australians felt hard done by due to a Graeme Langlands try disallowed for offside. This was the last time to date that a UK side has won a major International Rugby League trophy

Thursday, 5 February 2015

The First World Cup Final

13 November 1954            France 12  Great Britain 16     Parc de Princes, Paris

The First Rugby League World Cup was organized by the French RL under Paul Barriere and took place in France in 1954. This was 33 years before the first RU equivalent. AustraliaFrance, GB and NZ took part and the teams were evenly matched although GB were forced, through injuries/withdrawals, to select an inexperienced squad led by Scotsman Dave Valentine. It was a pleasant surprise when they made the final against the home team. France led early in the second half due to a try from Cantoni but Great Britain fought back with their their dominance in the forwards and centre Phil Jackson playing a starring role. France had played a tough match against Australia in Nantes two days earlier. The BBC broadcast the match live in the UK which was a novelty for the time


        Dave Valentine

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