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  1. #1
    Senior Member

    snoopy snoopy dog dog's Avatar
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    Smartcookys Blog

    Quote Originally Posted by Bullitt View Post
    Rugby League came into being in 1985
    The same year my parents were married.........methinks that might be a typo

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  3. #2
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    TRF_Olyy's Avatar
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    Good read that, top blog!

  4. #3
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    Shaggy's Avatar
    • New Zealand
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    New Zealand
    Great article Cooky, it made me wonder why league established a foothold in some countries, but not in others. It seems from a New Zealand perspective, that Albert Henry Baskerville was the driving force behind NZ's first international side, the All Golds.

    This team toured and played "the Northern rules" against the Northern clubs, in 1907/08. this team featured a number of players from the successful 1905 All Black originals, as well as Australia's Dally Messenger, and was a financial success with each player receiving 300 pounds.

    Unfortunately for Baskerville (and for Rugby League), he died from pneumonia on this tour.

    From my limited reading on this topic, it seems that Baskerville was held in high regard within NZ rugby circles as a player, administrator, and author on rugby matters, so had he lived, the Rugby landscape within NZ could have been quite different, and League may have become the dominant code.

    An indication of how much influence he had at the time can be seen from this quote from The Sydney Mail

    "It was he who practically originated the professional Rugby movement in Australasia"

    – The Sydney Mail, 27 May 1908

    It seems that the NZRU of the day, used some pretty under handed methods to ensure that amateur code remained the dominant one, such as, putting pressure on players, officials, sponsors, and ground owners, and even falsely advertising that famous players were playing in matches that occurred on the same day as league matches.

    I can understand why the Amateur code achieved dominance within New Zealand, given the above factors, but would be interested to know how league achieved dominance in Australia, and why league does not seem to have a significant footprint in countries such as South Africa
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  5. #4
    TRF Legend

    • England
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    • From: Northampton, England
    Northampton

    Smartcookys Blog

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    WAS THE BIRTH OF RUGBY LEAGUE TRULY DUE TO A NORTH V SOUTH SPLIT?

    Rugby League came into being in 1985 when clubs in the North of England broke away from the Rugby Union…well at least, that is what most people believe, but was it that straightforward?

    It was common knowledge at the time that players in the North were receiving payments. After much acrimonious argument between the largely working class clubs in Yorkshire and Lancashire, and the mostly middle and upper class clubs in the South, a meeting was held on Tuesday, August 20 at the Mitre Hotel, Leeds, where twelve clubs who had recently broken away from the Yorkshire Rugby Union over that very same payments issue, agreed they should form a Northern Union, but at the same time made it clear they wished to retain their links with the Yorkshire Union. It was decided that a five-man panel would meet with a sub-committee of the Yorkshire Union to propose settlement of the dispute. The Yorkshire Union rejected the proposal, so the clubs decided to break all ties with the Union and to form a new Union along amateur lines, but accepting the principle of compensatory payments for players. It was also agreed to hold a joint meeting of Yorkshire and Lancashire clubs at the George Hotel, Huddersfield on Thursday, August 29, when the formation of the Northern Rugby Football Union would be officially announced. The three-hour meeting was held behind closed doors, and present at that meeting were representatives of 22 rugby clubs from Lancashire and Yorkshire. They were;

    Mr J Goodall (Batley)
    Mr F Lister (Bradford)
    Mr H Waller (Brighouse Rangers)
    Mr E Gresty (Broughton Rangers)
    Mr C Holdsworth (Dewsbury)
    Mr J Nicholl (Halifax)
    Mr J Clifford (Huddersfield)
    Mr C Brewer (Hull & Kingston upon Hull)
    Mr J Whittaker (Hunslet)
    Mr J Quirk (Leigh)
    Mr H Sewell (Leeds)
    Mr J Hampshire (Liversedge)
    Mr A Fattorini (Manningham)
    Mr J Platt (Oldham)
    Mr W Brierley (Rochdale Hornets)
    Mr F Dennett (St Helens)
    Mr G Taylor (Tyldesley)
    Mr J Fallas (Wakefield)
    Mr J Warren (Warrington)
    Mr F Wright (Widnes)
    Mr E Wardle (Wigan)

    (I list them all to illustrate the number of club names that will be familiar to followers of Rugby League. The clubs listed in red were the original twelve Yorkshire clubs.)

    The first resolution adopted by the meeting was: "The clubs here represented decide to form a Northern Rugby Football Union, and pledge themselves to push forward without delay its establishment on the principle of payment for bona fide broken time only." . Thus, the first professional Rugby Union (later to become known as Rugby League) was born.

    However, to suggest that the divide was purely on geographical grounds, i.e. North v South, is highly misleading. The rift was more along class lines and, most especially, due to the intractable attitude of “the establishment” towards predominantly working class players.

    In the highly industrialised North of England, Rugby Union was played mostly by blue collar men, especially among poorly paid tradesmen such as miners, labourers and mill workers. The loss of income these men experienced when turning out for their clubs on a Saturday was significant, so much so, that many simply could not afford to play, so Clubs began to compensate their players by making what they called 'broken time' payments. This angered many of the administrators in the RU (North and South) who simply refused to accept the concept of broken time payments. In fact many of the Northern administrators were ex-public school and strongly defended the amateur ideal.

    In a very real sense, the Great Schism was a split within Northern Rugby itself, and not just between middle class and working class clubs. There were also splits within the ranks of individual clubs: Castleford, Dewsbury and Morely were three of the clubs that split in two, Many other clubs that joined the Northern Union lost administrators and players who refused to embrace a system that involved the paying of players.

    The end result was that England Rugby became an exclusive middle/upper class game, a reserve for “gentleman" players to the exclusion of the working class. This was to the detriment of English rugby, as illustrated by the fact that after the split, England, who had won four of the ten completed Four Nations championships held up to that point, did not win it again until 1912, nearly 18 years later. This was largely due to the absence of many of the best players., and would surely have exacerbated the acrimony between the codes.

    This state of affairs with English Rugby remained until relatively recently. Up until about 15 years ago, many very talented English rugby players were overlooked for selection because “their face didn’t fit”. One of the best examples I can think of from that time is Colin Laity, an excellent outside centre, born and educated in Cornwall, played for Penzance. However, when the England selectors overlooked him, he chose to make himself available for Wales (eligible through his Welsh mother).

    In the opinion of most scholars of Rugby History that I have read, the real cause of the Great Schism is down to how the game’s administrators handled the increasing number of blue collar players who came into the game over the 20 year period between 1870 and 1890. They failed to make any kind of allowance for their financial circumstances. Had they done so, they may have allowed these players to play to the same level that the other classes played to, in which case the split might never have happened, and Rugby League might not exist at all today. Instead, they put in place a set of circumstances that could only be resolved by splitting the game into different codes, and that resulted in the Union game remaining amateur for another 100 years.

    I would like to finish by quoting from a very old book on Rugby Union, written by Harry Vassal, a past president of the Rugby Union. The book was originally written in 1889, but I have a revised edition that was published in 1897 after the rift. It has an extra chapter (written by Arthur Budd, another past president of he RU) addressing professionalism. The attitude of the writer clearly illustrates the depth of contempt held by the upper classes towards professional sport.


    THE EFFECT OF PROFESSIONALISM ON THE RUGBY GAME
    When a few years ago the Rugby Union refused to follow in the footsteps of the sister, and, legitimitise professionalism, they stood on the brink of a precipice. It needed but one false step to plunge them into the chasm below, to be driven hither and thither by the eddies of professionalism, and, after a vain struggle maintained for a time, to sink wrecked and wearied beneath the suck of the whirlpool.

    But, though well aware of the magnitude of the task before them, they did not shrink from undertaking it, for they well saw the impending danger; and when they resolved to throttle
    the hydra of professionalism before it was big enough to throttle them, they saved the
    game from a system which would have begun in degradation, and ended in ruin.


    REFERENCES:
    RugbyFootballHistory.com….Nigel Trueman
    The Rugby Game by Harry Vassal… Oxford University Press 1889 Rev 1897
    The Union Game by Sean Smith…. BBC Books; First Edition (1999)

  6. #5
    The Referee

    smartcooky's Avatar
    • New Zealand
    • 3,149 posts
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    • From: Nelson, New Zealand
    Crusaders RU
    Quote Originally Posted by snoopy snoopy dog dog View Post
    The same year my parents were married.........methinks that might be a typo
    Yep. It should read "1895". Someone should be able to fix it
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