The Info List - Rugby League

7 September 1895, Yorkshire
Northern England. (Post schism)

Registered players 600,000 (Total)

Clubs 5,000


Contact Full contact

Team members Thirteen

Mixed gender Single

Type Team sport, Outdoor

Equipment Rugby League ball

Venue Rugby league
Rugby league
playing field

Rugby league
Rugby league
football is a full-contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players on a rectangular field.[1][2][3] One of the two codes of rugby, it originated in Northern England
Northern England
in 1895 as a split from the Rugby Football Union
Rugby Football Union
over the issue of payments to players.[4] Its rules progressively changed with the aim of producing a faster, more entertaining game for spectators.[5] 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.[3] The opposing team attempts to stop the attacking side scoring points by tackling the player carrying the ball.[3] 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.[3] Kicks at goal may also be awarded for penalties, and field goals can be attempted at any time. Rugby league
Rugby league
is a popular sport in Northern England,[6] the states of Queensland
and New South Wales
New South Wales
in Australia,[7] New Zealand,[8] southwest France
and is the national sport of Papua New Guinea.[9][10][11] The European Super League
Super League
and the National Rugby League (NRL) are the premier club competitions. Rugby league
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
Rugby League World Cup
was held in France
in 1954; the current holders are Australia.[12]


1 Etymology 2 History 3 Laws of the Game 4 Positions

4.1 Backs 4.2 Forwards

5 Rugby league
Rugby league

5.1 Oceania and South Pacific 5.2 UK and Europe 5.3 North America 5.4 Other countries 5.5 Domestic professional competitions

6 Attendances

6.1 International 6.2 Domestic

7 See also 8 References 9 Further reading 10 External links

Etymology[edit] Rugby league
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.[13] In 1922, the Northern Union also changed its name to the Rugby Football League[14] and thus over time the sport itself became known as "rugby league" football. History[edit]

The first ever Challenge Cup
Challenge Cup
Final, 1897: Batley (left) vs St Helens (right)

Main article: History of rugby league

George Hotel, Huddersfield

In 1895, a schism in Rugby football
Rugby football
resulted in the formation of the Northern Rugby Football Union
Rugby Football Union
(NRFU).[15] 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.[4] 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
George Hotel, Huddersfield
on 29 August 1895 and forming the "Northern Rugby Football
Union".[16] 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 abolished[17] and in 1898 professionalism introduced.[18] 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.[19] A similar schism to that which occurred in England
took place in Sydney, Australia. There, on 8 August 1907 the New South Wales
New South Wales
Rugby Football
League was founded at Bateman's Hotel in George Street.[20] Rugby league
Rugby league
then went on to displace rugby union as the primary football code in New South Wales
New South Wales
and Queensland.[21] On 5 May 1954 over 100,000 (official figure 102,569) spectators watched the 1953–54 Challenge Cup
Challenge Cup
Final at Odsal Stadium, Bradford, England, setting a new record for attendance at a rugby football match of either code.[20] 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.[22] 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
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
Super League
competition tried to expand its market. In Australasia, the Super League
Super League
war resulted: 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.[23] Laws of the Game[edit] Main articles: Rugby league gameplay
Rugby league gameplay
and Laws of rugby league 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,[24] 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,[25] 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 players in 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.[26] 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. Positions[edit]

Leeds playing at the 2008 Boxing Day
Boxing Day
friendly against Wakefield Trinity at Headingley

Main article: Rugby league
Rugby league
positions 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.[27] 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.[28] 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 season[29] 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[edit] 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.


Rugby league
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
Rugby league
worldwide[edit] See also: List of rugby league competitions Rugby league
Rugby league
is played in over 70 nations throughout the world, 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 are ranked by the RLIF and a further 32 are officially recognized and unranked.[30] The strongest rugby league nations are Australia, England
and New Zealand. 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. Oceania and South Pacific[edit] 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.[31] Since rugby league was introduced to Australia
in 1908 it has become the largest television sport and 3rd most attended sport in Australia[32] and neighbouring Papua New Guinea is one of two countries to have rugby league as its national sport (with Cook Islands).[10][11] This has led to officials from that country lobbying to have a team admitted to the National Rugby League,[33] Australia's elite club competition which also features a team from Auckland, New Zealand's biggest city. The reasonable popularity of the code in New Zealand has led to talk about the possibility of another team from the South Island entering the competition as well.[34] Rugby league
Rugby league
is the dominant winter sport in the eastern Australian states of New South Wales
New South Wales
and Queensland.[35] The game is also among the predominant sports of Tonga[36] 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.[37][38] UK and Europe[edit] The Rugby League European Federation
Rugby League European Federation
are responsible for developing rugby league in Europe
and the Northern Hemisphere,[39] 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.[6] Its popularity has also increased elsewhere.[40][41][42] Currently, only one of the twelve Super League
Super League
teams is based outside of these traditional counties: Catalans Dragons
Catalans Dragons
(Perpignan). Two other teams from outside the United Kingdom, the Toronto Wolfpack
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
Super League
average attendances are in the 8 to 9,500 range. The average Super League
Super League
match attendance in 2014 was 8,365.[43] Ranked the eighth most popular sport in the UK overall,[44] 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.[45] This is a 39% drop from 10 years ago.[45] 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.”[46]

vs New Zealand in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup
Rugby League World Cup
at Parc des Sports (Avignon).

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.[47] However, after the Allied Forces were defeated by Germany
in June 1940, the Vichy regime
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.[47] The sport was unbanned after the Liberation of Paris
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.[47] Despite this, the national side appeared in the finals of the 1954 and 1968 World Cups, and the country hosted the 1954 event.[48][49] In 1996, a French team, Paris Saint-Germain was one of eleven teams which formed the new European Super League, although the club was dissolved in 1997.[50] In 2006, the Super League
Super League
admitted the Catalans Dragons, a team from Perpignan in the southern Languedoc-Roussillon
region.[51] They have subsequently reached the 2007 Challenge Cup
Challenge Cup
Final and made the play-offs of the 2008 Super League
Super League
XIII season. The success of the Dragons in Super League
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
Elite One Championship
teams are based. In other parts of Europe
the game is played at semi professional and amateur level. North America[edit] The Toronto Wolfpack
Toronto Wolfpack
are North America’s only 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.[52] Other countries[edit] The early 21st century has seen other countries take up the game and compete in international rugby league with the Rugby League European Federation and Asia-Pacific Rugby League Confederation
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.[53][54][55][56][57][58] Lebanon
is one of a small number of countries where rugby league is more popular than rugby union.[59] Domestic professional competitions[edit] The two most prominent full-time professional leagues are the Australasian National Rugby League
National Rugby League
and the European Super League
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
United Kingdom
below Super League
Super League
is the Championship and Championship 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 as does the USA Rugby League in the United States
United States
runs semi professional clubs to some extent in providing supported accommodation for foreign players. In other countries the game is played at an amateur level. Attendances[edit] International[edit] The top five attendances for rugby league test matches (International) are:

Game Date Result Venue City Crowd

2013 World Cup Final 30 November 2013 Australia
def. New Zealand 34–2 Old Trafford Manchester 74,468

1992 World Cup Final 24 October 1992 Australia
def. Great Britain 10–6 Wembley Stadium London 73,631

1932 Ashes series, Game 1 6 June 1932 England
def. Australia
8–6 Sydney
Ground Sydney 70,204

1962 Ashes series, Game 1 9 June 1962 Great Britain def. Australia
31–12 Sydney
Ground Sydney 70,174

1958 Ashes series, Game 1 14 June 1958 Australia
def. Great Britain 25–8 Sydney
Ground Sydney 68,777

Domestic[edit] The top five attendances for domestic based rugby league matches are:

Game Date Result Venue City Crowd

1999 NRL Grand Final 26 September 1999 Melbourne def. St George Illawarra 20–18 Stadium Australia Sydney 107,999

1999 NRL season Round 1 6 March 1999 Newcastle Knights
Newcastle Knights
def. Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
41–18 Parramatta Eels
Parramatta Eels
def. St George Illawarra Dragons
St George Illawarra Dragons
20–10 Stadium Australia Sydney 104,583*

1954 Challenge Cup Final replay 5 May 1954 Warrington def. Halifax 8–4 Odsal Stadium Bradford 102,569*

1985 Challenge Cup
Challenge Cup
Final 4 May 1985 Wigan def. Hull F.C.
Hull F.C.
28–24 Wembley Stadium London 99,801

1966 Challenge Cup
Challenge Cup
Final 21 May 1966 St. Helens def. Wigan 21–2 Wembley Stadium London 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.[60][61] * 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[edit]

Rugby league
Rugby league

History of rugby league List of rugby league terms Playing rugby league List of international rugby league teams Rugby league
Rugby league
nines Tag Rugby
Tag Rugby
(OzTag) – a completely non-contact version of rugby league Touch football – an almost non-contact version League tag – A semi-contact version of Rugby League Comparison of rugby league and rugby union Geography of rugby league


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v Uruguay and Super League
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final". CityAM. 8 December 2017.  ^ MORI Sports Tracker - Interest in Sports Ipsos MORI Retrieved 2 March 2018 ^ a b "What is the most popular sport in England?". The Telegraph. 8 December 2017.  ^ "Rugby League World Cup: The final hardly anyone seems to be talking about". BBC. 28 March 2018.  ^ a b c Schofield, Hugh (8 October 2002). "French rugby league fights for rights". news.bbc.co.uk (BBC News). Retrieved 18 July 2009.  ^ "Rugby League Planet – 1954 Rugby League World Cup". www.rugbyleagueplanet.com. Retrieved 18 July 2009.  ^ "Rugby League Planet – 1968 Rugby League World Cup". www.rugbyleagueplanet.com. Retrieved 18 July 2009.  ^ "Step Back in Time: Catalans (H)". wigan.rlfans.com (cherryandwhite.co.uk). Retrieved 18 July 2009.  ^ "French join Super League". news.bbc.co.uk (BBC Sport). 26 May 2004. Retrieved 18 July 2009.  ^ "Toronto Wolfpack: Meet the first transatlantic rugby league team". BBC. 24 February 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2018.  ^ RLEF. Rlef.eu.com (29 July 2011). Retrieved 20 August 2013. ^ German Rugby League Bundesliga set for kick off Archived 3 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine.. Rleague.com. Retrieved 20 August 2013. ^ norskrl.com. norskrl.com. Retrieved 20 August 2013 ^ "Meet the Yorkshireman determined to bring rugby league to Madrid". www.yorkshirepost.co.uk.  ^ " Turkey
joins rugby league ranks - Love Rugby League". 10 June 2016.  ^ "The new nations of rugby league".  ^ "Rugby: A divided sport - By Jacob Boswall". 31 August 2017.  ^ Ferguson, Shawn Dollin and Andrew. "NRL 1999 - Round 1 - Rugby League Project". www.rugbyleagueproject.org.  ^ Ferguson, Shawn Dollin and Andrew. "NRL 1999 - Round 1 - Rugby League Project". www.rugbyleagueproject.org. 

Further reading[edit]

RLIF (2004). "The International Laws of the Game and Notes on the Laws" (PDF). Rugby League International Federation. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 January 2010. Retrieved 30 July 2008.  Andrews, Malcolm (1981). Rugby league, the greatest game of all. Horwitz. ISBN 978-0-7255-1338-2.  Andrews, Malcolm (1995). The A-Z of Rugby League. Hodder Moa Beckett. ISBN 978-0-340-59956-3. 

External links[edit]

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Rugby league

Look up rugby league in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rugby league.

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