GARETH WALKER, the editor of Rugby League World magazine, celebrates a wonderful milestone in the magazine’s history.
This month marks the 400th issue of Rugby League World’s long and illustrious history.
Rugby League World issue 400 is in shops now. You can also read it online on your smartphone, tablet, desktop PC or Mac. You can order a copy by post from the TotalRL.com Shop or call 01484 401895 (Mon-Fri 9.30am-5pm). Click here for a list of WH Smiths branches stocking this issue.
Just over 38 years ago the first ever Open Rugby, as it was then, was published by Harry Edgar to try and push the sport he and many others loved, but felt was underappreciated.
Almost four decades on, and we hope that the magazine has stayed loyal to its original aims, which also included promoting the international game at every opportunity.
As such, among this month’s packed edition is an in-depth feature on Spain’s Rugby League debut, and a report from Papua New Guinea’s triumph in the Commonwealth Games – the first time the Kumuls have ever beaten Australia at any level of the sport.
Next month will see the return of a comprehensive monthly round-up of Rugby League development all over the world, one of a number of new features.
First though, we look back through the previous 399 issues of Open Rugby and Rugby League World to bring you some of the many highlights, including a selection of front covers from every era that we have reported on.
Pictured on several of those has been the charismatic Bobbie Goulding, and we sit down with the Barrow Raiders coach to find out how the last two years have changed his life.
We also turn the tables on RLW’s regular interviewer Jamie Jones-Buchanan by hearing his own fascinating story – untold for too long – and find out about London Broncos’ new coach Joey Grima, who has arguably one of the most important roles in the British game at present.
With a host of other features covering the wide spectrum of the sport at all levels, we hope that you will excuse the cover price rise – the magazine’s first in seven years.
Next month we will move forward again to continue to bring you the best selection of Rugby League writing and analysis.
But first, a time for quick reflection.
Below is the introduction to issue one of Open Rugby in full.
Harry Edgar’s words show, that while Rugby League will also be a sport that looks to develop and progress, there are some issues that still need addressing 38 years down the line.
”Rugby League is, we believe, the finest game there is. On the field of play it can’t be beat, but off the field it has suffered from such an appalling lack of good publicity, it is still a minority sport in most parts of the world. It has suffered from a smear-campaign from a few sick-minded patrons of a rival rugby code, and it has suffered from its own inability to promote its own assets.
“It’s time we people who know and care about Rugby League, its history and traditions, started doing more to put our game in its rightful position. It is a great injustice that our many outstanding players have not been given the widespread praise an recognition they deserve as British sportsmen.
“In particular our British Lions who have battled so bravely down-under against the highly-trained, highly-paid Australians, only to be tragically ignored by all but a small dedicated corner of the mass-media.
“Sure, we must bring Rugby League to the people. It has no pretensions, it is ‘open’ rugby, hence the title of this news-sheet, which we hope can play a useful role helping the promotion and development of the game at all levels.
“Our aim is to provide intelligent reading for all people who care about rugby. Our emphasis will be on opinion and comment; some readers may disagree with some things we say, but believe me we have only the interests of the game at heart.”
Here’s a glimpse of what’s inside issue 400…
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