Saturday, 10 October 2015

5's: 5 Rugby League Firsts

The Super 's are over, the semi-finals just played and we are eagerly awaiting the results of the Grand Final tonight. In the past, I've made no secret of why I love Rugby League. 
Nor that I came to it after growing up mostly watching Rugby Union.
 As, I didn't grow up with League I'm still discovering more and more of its history on a regular basis. Despite my late start, I'm still amazed at how innovative a sport it truly is, and it's shocking at how many times it really did take the first step on new practices. 
There are some that I always (not sure why) associated more with Union but were actually initiated by League first. So this week's 5's post is dedicated to Rugby League.
No guesses on who I'll be supporting tonight...

  1.  1953-54: Rugby League hosted the largest crowd to attend a rugby game, during a Challenge Cup final replay between Warrington and Halifax. Crowds at the hosting Odsal stadium in Bradford were recorded at 102,575 but some estimates suggest it may have had up to 120,000 people watching the game! The record still stands in Britain to this day. 
  2. 1954: The first every World tournament to be held by either code of Rugby was held by League in France back in 1954. The home nation finished as runners-up to winner, Great Britain. At a time when we are immersed in the Union Rugby World Cup competition, it's interesting to look back and see that it has been around since 1987. 
  3. 1964: Substitutions allowed in Rugby League, only for injured players in the first half. 4 years later Rugby Union allowed their first substitutions within a game. 
  4. 1981: Players are penalised with a 10 minute "Sin Bin", Union utilised this in 2001. This is one of the 5 that I hadn't expected to find when I was researching the facts. I'm not sure why, but I just associated the Sin Bin with Union more. 
  5. 1996: This year saw the introduction of Video-based refereeing within Rugby League. It's grown to become an extremely useful tool for officials, adding an extra element to the game. If frustrating at times, as it can highlight errors that may have been otherwise missed, it's still a key part of top level Rugby League. 

A few interesting facts then! Do you know any? Abi x