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Players under the age of 21 years are eligible to play for the senior academy, the rules also permit three players over the age of 21 to play in academy matches. Junior academies are the second tier in the Youth Development system. Only players under the age of 18 years are eligible to play for the junior academy; no players over the age limit are allowed to play. Some of the better junior academy players may get experience in the senior academy and it is not uncommon for some players to play regularly in both junior and senior academies. Although the game remains close to its working class origins, changes in social demographics and attitudes have allowed many working-class people to attend university where they have continued their association with the game.

The Student Rugby League was founded in when a team was created at Leeds University by Andrew Cudbertson, Jack Abernathy and Cec Thompson , other teams soon joined in areas of the United Kingdom which lay outside of the games traditional heartlands.

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The first university game was between Leeds and Liverpool in The first Oxford versus Cambridge University match took place in The varsity match has " discretionary full blue " status. Rugby league in universities has been an important vehicle for expansion of the game as players from outside the heartlands often first began to play at university level.

Many continue to play after leaving university and this has led to the creation of teams in non-traditional areas such as London Skolars and Gloucestershire All Golds. Rugby league nines is the more common form of the shortened version of the game. The Carnegie Floodlit Nines , Middlesex 9s and the York International 9s are three of the best known rugby league nines tournaments in England. The York nines began in and the Middlesex nines a year later. All three competitions feature professional and amateur teams from England as well as teams from abroad.

Wheelchair rugby league was first introduced to England in Masters Rugby League which uses modified rules to allow older players to continue playing has only recently arrived in England and is not widely played. Rugby league is one of a number of sports vying for second place to Association football in England. Historically, rugby league has been the second biggest spectator sport in England with 6.

Rugby league is most popular in its traditional heartlands and, in those areas, interest in the sport can rival that of association football. Many large towns with rugby league traditions do not have football teams as a result of the monopoly on local interest: these towns include, Keighley , Castleford , Dewsbury , Batley and Wakefield. The regions in which rugby league is played most are Cumbria , where the amateur version has a high participation rate, former traditional Lancashire regions Merseyside and Greater Manchester , Yorkshire and Cheshire. There is also significant schools participation in London.

Many of the professional and semi-professional teams are connected by the M62 motorway and so the term "M62 corridor" is sometimes used, often in a derogatory manner, to refer to the area where rugby league is most popular. Fifty per cent of viewers who watch rugby league on Sky Sports live in the South of England. The majority of these clubs are located in Lancashire and Yorkshire. Rugby league has for much of its history been banned in the armed forces and in many schools and universities, further stifling growth.


These barriers have largely been dismantled since professionalisation of rugby union. This figure rivals the participation rate for the sport in Australia. The Super League generated the highest weekly average attendance in the year history of the competition. The average weekly attendance for the regular season stood at 9,, generated by an aggregate attendance of 1,, supporters. This is an increase on the season average of 8, Crowds at matches below the top flight can exceed 3,, however most of the clubs in this division have attendances lower than this. Although attendances outside Super League can be quite low, many of the teams play in small towns and the attendance figures represent a large percentage of the local population; as far down as amateur level.

An example is Saddleworth Rangers which represents a largely rural area to the East of Oldham towards the Pennines; however the club's stadium contains a covered seated stand and triple figure support for home games. The success of Super League in England and the return of competitive international matches with Australia and New Zealand have seen growth for the sport.

The ending of discrimination against rugby league resulting from professionalism in rugby union led to an increase in numbers in the amateur game, with many rugby union amateurs keen to try out the other code. The annual Champion Schools competition from onwards has increased the number of school teams from to 1, and the participation levels to 25, from 6, The number of participants involved in the Carnegie Champion schools tournament was a record 30, players across teams making it the largest rugby league competition in the world.

Whilst rugby union was officially an amateur sport, many rugby union players came to play rugby league. In recent years this trend has reversed and some rugby league players have crossed codes to play union. Expansion by the governing body, the Rugby Football League sees continual growth in the south of England, notably the London area, which now boasts three professional clubs. One of the prime vehicles for expansion has been the Rugby League Conference , a set of competitions for clubs in those development areas. Rugby league has had a tradition of being inclusive and for some notable firsts in terms of black participation.

Professional black players first took to the professional rugby league pitch prior to the First World War. George Bennett became the first black player to play for Great Britain while it was another 44 years before Viv Anderson became the first black footballer to play association football for England. In the Rugby Football League launched a thirteen-point action plan aimed at tackling racism and encouraging the development of rugby league in Asian and black communities.

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In , the Rugby Football League were awarded the Stonewall Sport Award in recognition of their work in embracing inclusivity and tackling homophobia. The Rugby League Journal appears quarterly. End of season play-offs are shown across the whole country in a highlights package. Sky has the rights to show live Super League games; one or two live matches are broadcast often fronted by Mike Stephenson and Eddie Hemmings. The Australian State of Origin series is currently shown on Sky. The current TV rights deal for Engage Superleague is worth approximately 50 million pounds over 3 years, beginning from Various commercial and community radio stations also give coverage to their local rugby league teams Rugby league first hit the silver screen with Where's George?

As a consequence, he accidentally discovers a talent for rugby and turns out for his local Yorcaster club against Lancastrian rivals Oldcastle. The film, This Sporting Life , is set around the life of a professional rugby league footballer, Frank Machin, whose romantic life is not as successful as his sporting life.

It is considered to be one of the last major films of the British New Wave or "Free Cinema" movement. The highly acclaimed play, Up 'n' Under was made as a film in As a comedy set in the north of England that features a bunch of losers, it has been compared to The Full Monty and Brassed Off. The play was recently revived on stage with England rugby union star Gareth Chilcott in the Gary Olsen role. The film follows the story of an inept pub team in a rugby league sevens competition. The Changing Room is a play by David Storey, set in a men's changing room before, during and after a rugby league game.

It premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in It was later adapted into a television series and shown on BBC2. The sequel, Up 'n' Under II , followed in Mick Martin's play Broken Time is the first dramatic treatment of the historic events that led to the great schism. With the exception of the World Cup, matches involving England were not deemed to have Test status, which applied only to the full Great Britain side.

Usually the nation of England was represented by Great Britain in international tournaments, but for the , , , , and World Cups, England, along with other Home Nations , took part in their own right. Between and they also competed in the European Nations Cup.


In recent years they had come to dominate this tournament, and in they withdrew to level the playing field. They also took part in the World Sevens , England currently take part in the Rugby League Tri-Nations and play an International Origin series against overseas players based in the Super League.

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There has also been an England A and England "Lionhearts team selected since The England A team is selected from up and coming players who are not yet ready for selection in the Great Britain team. England Lionhearts are selected from players in the Rugby League Conference. England has historically provided the vast majority of players for the Great Britain team , one of the major national teams playing rugby league.

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Great Britain took part in the , , , , , , , — and — World Cups. They won a total of three World Cups; in , and Although Great Britain never won the Tri- Nations, they finished top of the table in but lost to Australia in the final. In Great Britain was replaced by separate England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales teams; thereafter, Great Britain will only play on special occasions and tours. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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World Cup Four Nations. Main article: Rugby league derbies in the United Kingdom.

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Main article: Junior rugby league in England. See also: Rugby league in Yorkshire and Rugby league in Lancashire. Main article: England national rugby league team. Main article: Great Britain national rugby league team. Rugby league portal. Archived from the original on Retrieved Independent, The. Virtual Rugby League Hall of Fame. House of Commons. Army Rugby League. Archived from the original on December 14, Rugby Football Union. World of Sport. Yorkshire Post. British Amateur Rugby League Association.

Rugby League Community Board. Archived from the original PDF on Daily Mail. Rugby Football League. North Yorkshire sport. Triline Sports. The Rugby Football League. The Independent.

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Retrieved 16 May New Statesman. BBC Sport. The Daily Mail. Archived from the original on 26 January Retrieved 18 September The Guardian. Archived from the original on 26 July Retrieved 27 January Archived from the original on 24 December Catalans Dragons beat Wigan Warriors in an entertaining game of rugby league on Saturday afternoon.