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Schools Rugby League


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#1 trakl

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 12:56 PM

In an article in today's Daily Telegraph, former England centre Will Greenwood mentions that there are around 1500 state schools in England that play "competitive rugby union." This seems to me to be an astoundingly high number, but I have no reason to doubt him.

Does anybody know how many state schools play "competitive" rugby league? Is there anybody within the RFL charged specifically with the responsibility to oversee the growth of rugby league in schools up and down the land?

#2 keighley

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 01:18 PM

In an article in today's Daily Telegraph, former England centre Will Greenwood mentions that there are around 1500 state schools in England that play "competitive rugby union." This seems to me to be an astoundingly high number, but I have no reason to doubt him.

Does anybody know how many state schools play "competitive" rugby league? Is there anybody within the RFL charged specifically with the responsibility to oversee the growth of rugby league in schools up and down the land?


I have no idea but it must be more than in the past. I went to a state grammar school and we were compelled to play RU, no ifs, buts or maybes about it, but Keighley is and was a RL town and there are about 5 RL teams in the area but just one RU.

The schools RL competition is big but I don't know if the teams play year on year although the Keighley girls Catholic school won one of the competitions.

#3 trakl

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 01:50 PM

I have no idea but it must be more than in the past. I went to a state grammar school and we were compelled to play RU, no ifs, buts or maybes about it, but Keighley is and was a RL town and there are about 5 RL teams in the area but just one RU.

The schools RL competition is big but I don't know if the teams play year on year although the Keighley girls Catholic school won one of the competitions.


I went to school in Kent and - the late, relatively unlamented Kent Invicta aside - about as far away from rugby league heartlands as possible. Around the time of the 1982 Kangaroos, a few of us - encouraged by our Welsh rugby union coach as it happens - went to the Headmaster to propose adding rugby league to the school sports curriculum. To cut a short story even shorter, we were dismissed from his study without so much as a "have a nice day..."

What perplexes and saddens me about your post - and it is one echoed by many other rugby league followers - is how this kind of response was common in precisely those areas rich in rugby league tradition. Does anyone know why? Were these schools embarrassed to be associated with the game? Is this a thing of the past or does it persist? I'd really like to know.

#4 Cumbrian Fanatic

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 03:12 PM

I went to the secondary school in West Cumbria during the late seventies/early eighties and despite 5 years of asking never once got to play RL for the school, though there were plenty of RU fixtures. Thank god for the local Cumberland League junior set up.

I am glad to report the 3 Copeland schools now enter teams in the schools competition on a regular basis.
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#5 keighley

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 03:39 PM

I went to school in Kent and - the late, relatively unlamented Kent Invicta aside - about as far away from rugby league heartlands as possible. Around the time of the 1982 Kangaroos, a few of us - encouraged by our Welsh rugby union coach as it happens - went to the Headmaster to propose adding rugby league to the school sports curriculum. To cut a short story even shorter, we were dismissed from his study without so much as a "have a nice day..."

What perplexes and saddens me about your post - and it is one echoed by many other rugby league followers - is how this kind of response was common in precisely those areas rich in rugby league tradition. Does anyone know why? Were these schools embarrassed to be associated with the game? Is this a thing of the past or does it persist? I'd really like to know.


I think Tony Collins touches on it in his books but if any teacher who played RU but coached RL in his school, was threatened with being banned as a professional. All this RU scorched earth stuff is history but it went on. I went to Keighley Albion under 18 RL for a couple of seasons and then my job took me overseas to a small place with no RL and just 4 RU teams and they needed every Rugby player they could get but I was given an interrogation the gestapo would have been proud of after I mentioned I had played RL, and, if I had played after the age of 18, I would have been banned from playing for the local RU team even though one of the teams was a works team related to my employment.

#6 terrywebbisgod

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 03:47 PM

The PE teacher at my old school actively tried to get our age group team banned from playing Rugby League as the district RL training clashed with school RU games on a Saturday.
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#7 trakl

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 04:02 PM

I think Tony Collins touches on it in his books but if any teacher who played RU but coached RL in his school, was threatened with being banned as a professional.


I believe every word that you say but I'm still amazed that they got away with it for so long. Did nobody representing the sport - did any parent - ever ask as to how and why an 8 year-old schoolboy might be deemed to be a "professional" anything? And why this sanction applied to one sport and one sport only?

#8 trakl

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 04:04 PM

The PE teacher at my old school actively tried to get our age group team banned from playing Rugby League as the district RL training clashed with school RU games on a Saturday.


That's depressing too. Cheer me up and tell me things in the state schools in and around Leeds have changed for the better...

#9 keighley

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 04:11 PM

I believe every word that you say but I'm still amazed that they got away with it for so long. Did nobody representing the sport - did any parent - ever ask as to how and why an 8 year-old schoolboy might be deemed to be a "professional" anything? And why this sanction applied to one sport and one sport only?


No, it was the teacher who was banned from RU. The kids were originally banned but I think the ministry of Education scuttled that and kids were allowed to play either code up until the age of 18. That's why I got the third degree when I was 22 for Pete's sake.

It was only applied to RL. You could play soccer, which had a professional component, but there was no banning for soccer players who wanted to play RU. They effectively prevented RL from expanding out from it's heartlands until the 1980 s. It's going off topic a bit but you should look up "The rules as to professionalism" that they published.Draconian is the polite word to describe them.

#10 terrywebbisgod

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 04:15 PM

That's depressing too. Cheer me up and tell me things in the state schools in and around Leeds have changed for the better...

They certainly have,most schools now play RL and at least one school-Temple Moor- have played in the champion schools final.
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#11 trakl

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 04:17 PM

No, it was the teacher who was banned from RU. The kids were originally banned but I think the ministry of Education scuttled that and kids were allowed to play either code up until the age of 18. That's why I got the third degree when I was 22 for Pete's sake.

It was only applied to RL. You could play soccer, which had a professional component, but there was no banning for soccer players who wanted to play RU. They effectively prevented RL from expanding out from it's heartlands until the 1980 s. It's going off topic a bit but you should look up "The rules as to professionalism" that they published.Draconian is the polite word to describe them.


What baffles me is why nobody representing the sport appeared to demand an answer to the question: how on earth can a teacher caching schoolchildren how to play rugby league be deemed to have "professionalized" themselves? How?

#12 trakl

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 04:18 PM

They certainly have,most schools now play RL and at least one school-Temple Moor- have played in the champion schools final.


Good! I hope that all of them have rugby league on the curriculum.

#13 amh

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 04:26 PM

In an article in today's Daily Telegraph, former England centre Will Greenwood mentions that there are around 1500 state schools in England that play "competitive rugby union." This seems to me to be an astoundingly high number, but I have no reason to doubt him.

Does anybody know how many state schools play "competitive" rugby league? Is there anybody within the RFL charged specifically with the responsibility to oversee the growth of rugby league in schools up and down the land?


Might be worth you emailing one of the contacts on this page - and by clicking the links under Boys & Girls by age group, you can see which schools play
http://www.therfl.co...mpetitions_list

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#14 trakl

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 04:50 PM

Might be worth you emailing one of the contacts on this page - and by clicking the links under Boys & Girls by age group, you can see which schools play
http://www.therfl.co...mpetitions_list


Thanks for that link. I've made contact and hope soon to be enlightened!

#15 amh

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 04:53 PM

Thanks for that link. I've made contact and hope soon to be enlightened!

...you're welcome...look forward to an update

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#16 Blind side johnny

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 05:20 PM

What baffles me is why nobody representing the sport appeared to demand an answer to the question: how on earth can a teacher caching schoolchildren how to play rugby league be deemed to have "professionalized" themselves? How?



But they did trakl, and battered their heads against a brick wall. You clearly aren't aware of just how much RU was a part of the establishment whilst RL was still regarded as a renegade sport until very recently.

Many people regard those like me who dislike and detest everything to do with RU and its organisation as bitter and a flat-earther. Maybe I am but I have a long memory and an immensely strong mistrust of everything to do with RU. Anyone who thinks they wouldn't take the first opportunity to eliminate RL from the UK is fooling themselves.

Read any, preferably all, of Tony Collins books on the subject to get some understanding of the persecution that RL and its players endured.
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#17 trakl

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 05:41 PM

But they did trakl, and battered their heads against a brick wall. You clearly aren't aware of just how much RU was a part of the establishment whilst RL was still regarded as a renegade sport until very recently.

Many people regard those like me who dislike and detest everything to do with RU and its organisation as bitter and a flat-earther. Maybe I am but I have a long memory and an immensely strong mistrust of everything to do with RU. Anyone who thinks they wouldn't take the first opportunity to eliminate RL from the UK is fooling themselves.

Read any, preferably all, of Tony Collins books on the subject to get some understanding of the persecution that RL and its players endured.


I know they did. I promise I know they did. We're absolutely on the same side here. The whole thing makes my blood boil too.

I wrote letters to my MP demanding how the RFU could dare to try and victimise Adie Spencer for playing rugby union in the Varsity match simply because he had played rugby league (as an amateur) for London? I did the same when Steve Pilgrim was banned from rugby union for having been "outed" as a Leeds rugby league triallist. My MP, Sir Patrick Mayhew - who some might remember as a Tory of the old school - wrote back and agreed with every one of my objections and added that his son was playing rugby league abroad while serving in the Armed Forces!

We agree it was disgraceful but.... still nobody can tell me how rugby league and its representatives allowed another sport - for nearly 100 years! - to decree that a teacher coaching young schoolchildren to play rugby league (and only rugby league) was deemed to have "professionalized" themselves. The whole concept is so bizarre and perverse and manifestly unfair and meaningless...

#18 tim2

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 06:16 PM

All I can say is that since 2008 there are more schools playing competitively in Derbyshire than there have ever been. It's going to be tough after the cuts but we hope, as a club, to keep the flag flying in the schools with or without a CRLC in place.
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#19 audois

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 06:24 PM

In the north it was the secondary modern schools who played rugby league although in Widnes the primary schools were very stong too. The grammar schools played rugby union. We envied their set up with the number of teams they put out and expanded fixture lists. What I couldn't understand was how the local education commitees of elected members went along with this. Rugby league was an intrinsic part of northern culture but denied its place. Didn't lec appointment staff in local grammar schools to and have a say on which heads to appoint and PE teachers selected. May be some of the local councillors were intimidated by the professional executive and let down by the Chief Education Officers.
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#20 marklaspalmas

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 06:34 PM

Surely this 'wastage' of which you speak, which I assume means lads who sign on for scholarship or academy programmes at pro clubs but then do not make the grade, is not really wastage at all. Maybe only three of a whole academy team make the grade, but the others have received the highest calibre of coaching and can on to play at whatever level suits them. Granted, some will drop out through disappointment at not having made the highest level, but deciding that it's not worth the expense is a dangerous path to go down.




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