The phenomenal rise of Rugby League in pre-war France and its scandalous obliteration by the collaborationist Vichy government qualifies as one of the greatest stories never told. Corruption, brutality and shamateurism had plagued the world of orthodox rugby when Rugby League made its first appearance across the Channel, bringing with it open professionalism and a new, dynamic sporting spectacle which delighted the public. Only six seasons later le rugby à treize , the troublesome upstart, was wiped out by a conspiracy which counts as one of the most extreme examples of one sport¹s hostility towards another. A victim of the shadowy rugby union figures who stalked the newly-opened corridors of power at Vichy, Rugby League suffered a scandalous abuse of authority which has had repercussions up to the present day.
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