Other Nationalities, Exiles and ANZACs

England are due to play the "Exiles" next month in a match dubbed an international and evisaged as necessary preparation for the end of season, Four Nations competition. I am personally uneasy about the concept and would prefer international matches to be competitions between sovereign nations but I am also unhappy about the name because, even allowing for the way use of language changes, the word "exile" has connotations of penal servitude which is obviously insulting to our Australian friends. The concept actually deomonstrates how history has a habit of repeating itself

England's first International RL match took place in 1904 when they defeated the Other Nationalities 9-3 at Bradford. It was not a spectacular start for International RL as the game was played in poor weather on a Tuesday afternoon at the same time as a Broughton Rangers v Bradford cup tie which caused player withdrawals and affected the attendance. Only 6000 spectators watched the 12 a side match played under experimental rules but the Other Nationalities team were not exiles because it comprised on ten Welshman and two Scots. 

The 1911-12 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain was actually undertaken by an Australasian (or exile) squad which included four New Zealanders. They won the first test match 19-10 in Newcastle which was the first time they had beaten the Lions who had dominated up to this point. The second test was an 11-11 draw in Edinburgh before Australia won The Ashes for the first time with a 33-8 victory in Birmingham. For the next fifty years, no other Kangaroo team would win on British soil.

These events took place prior to 1915 when the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps or ANZACs were involved in a fierce battle at Gallipoli during the First World War. To celebrate the centenery of this event, the Australian and NZ RL authorities plan to hold the annual ANZAC day test match in Turkey. What a good idea


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