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Percentage of RU converts in RL back in the day


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18 hours ago, Cumbrian Fanatic said:

Same in West Cumbria during the early 80's

Interesting observation made by my nephew a couple of years ago, everyone in his Rugby League team had played some union but not everyone in his union team had played any League. Thinking about it, it was exactly the same in the teams I played in - Conclusion: League players choose their game from a position of knowledge, union players choose their game from a position of ignorance.

Interesting (given the amount of amateur rugby league talent there was about) how many players Whitehaven and Workington Town signed from local - or fairly local - rugby union about that time (70s/80s). The likes of David Beck, Graham Cameron, Steve Howse, Mark Ryan, Jeff Simpson. Did Town centre John Beattie come from RU?

Back in the 50s/60s, Haven had a few players (including full international Brian Shillinglaw) they picked up from Scottish Borders RU.

Not sure the same applies now, to either west Cumbria club.

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3 hours ago, Bostik Bailey said:

In my school (in the RL heartlands)in the 80s if you were picked for the first XV at the weekend you couldn’t play for your RL team that weekend( even if the matches were on different days) quite a few ended up in detention for it.

Add in the rampant homophobic comments from the sports teachers about anyone playing rugby league, and you get the picture.

The Elland secondary school (a former grammar school) I attended (1976-83) didn't play much 'rugby' - it was mostly football. But the 'rugby' it did play was union. The 'rugby' games teacher was Brian Campsall, who played union at Morley and later became a leading referee (he was the guy who chalked off three Wigan 'tries' in the cross code game with Bath at Twickers). Campsall - to be frank, he'd be labelled a bully nowadays - hadn't got a clue about coaching. Useless. Quite a lot of lads who wanted to play 'rugby' did so, in their own time, at Elland ARLFC.

I'm pleased to note my old secondary school now plays rugby league - and only rugby league.

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1 hour ago, BadlyOverdrawnBoy said:

In the l notes of my recently unearthed FC v KR Cornwall programme it says that then there were 41 amateur RL teams in the city of Hull, not including schools and colleges. That's an impressive number even if it includes different age groups of the same club. Despite this there were several players on both sides signed from (mainly local) RU. This stream of talent seems to have disappeared completely. 

It's disappeared because there's money in playing RU now, and a lot more than there is in playing RL.  That's probably as true of the lower pro tiers of the two games as it is of the top tiers.

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1 hour ago, Hopping Mad said:

The Elland secondary school (a former grammar school) I attended (1976-83) didn't play much 'rugby' - it was mostly football. But the 'rugby' it did play was union.

The grammar school I attended had lads from Warrington, Leigh, Swinton, Salford, Oldham and Rochdale. The only winter sport played was RU. Most of the kids wanted to play league, and one of the teachers (not a PE teacher) decided to start a league team. This was almost immediately vetoed by the head. In later life I learned from one of the teachers that the RU authorities had informed the head that if they had a league team at the school, no player would be considered for RU representative matches. I'm sure that this school would not be a unique case.

The tragedy is that three of my contemporaries became full RU internationals, two of whom would have been natural league players given the chance 

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Oldham, back in the day had a number of union imports, Alex Givvons, Bryn day, Norman Harris ( Iestyns grandad )from wales, Bob mordell, 1 England cap, and Adrian Alexander, Harlequins capt and Barbarians, late 70's early 80's. And the last notible player was Nigel heslop, the England winger. Who had his jaw broken by Brendan tuuta, after only his second or third pro game.

Edited by The Art of Hand and Foot
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6 hours ago, Hopping Mad said:

Interesting (given the amount of amateur rugby league talent there was about) how many players Whitehaven and Workington Town signed from local - or fairly local - rugby union about that time (70s/80s). The likes of David Beck, Graham Cameron, Steve Howse, Mark Ryan, Jeff Simpson. Did Town centre John Beattie come from RU?

Back in the 50s/60s, Haven had a few players (including full international Brian Shillinglaw) they picked up from Scottish Borders RU.

Not sure the same applies now, to either west Cumbria club.

John Risman,Ian Wright,David Atkinson,Graham Hogg,Raymond Lewis, Ian Denny,Kevin O'Neil,Harry Marland,Tony Roper, Kevin Maughan , John Beatie and David Beck as you mention, all from local Union clubs in that era then the likes of Ray Wilkins, Lynn Hopkins, Brian Lauder Alan Tait (father) from further afield and its amazing how many union converts played for Town during the late 70s early 80s ...and those names are just of the top of my head and all at the club, apart from Tatie,at the same time.

Edited by yanto
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1 hour ago, yanto said:

John Risman,Ian Wright,David Atkinson,Graham Hogg,Raymond Lewis, Ian Denny,Kevin O'Neil,Harry Marland,Tony Roper, Kevin Maughan , John Beatie and David Beck as you mention, all from local Union clubs in that era then the likes of Ray Wilkins, Lynn Hopkins, Brian Lauder Alan Tait (father) from further afield and its amazing how many union converts played for Town during the late 70s early 80s ...and those names are just of the top of my head and all at the club, apart from Tatie,at the same time.

All these players will have benefited from clubs running A teams,giving union lads with potential to try to make it professionally, amazing that town,haven and carlisle could easily find enough to fill the reserves.

As for union converts now,apart from Gary Graham at whitehaven their is not a lot coming from a decent standard, union is catching them young in Cumbria now

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On 06/12/2021 at 17:36, yanto said:

John Risman,Ian Wright,David Atkinson,Graham Hogg,Raymond Lewis, Ian Denny,Kevin O'Neil,Harry Marland,Tony Roper, Kevin Maughan , John Beatie and David Beck as you mention, all from local Union clubs in that era then the likes of Ray Wilkins, Lynn Hopkins, Brian Lauder Alan Tait (father) from further afield and its amazing how many union converts played for Town during the late 70s early 80s ...and those names are just of the top of my head and all at the club, apart from Tatie,at the same time.

Quite a list!

At Whitehaven, I neglected to mention Billy Fisher. In terms of games played and positions covered, he is arguably Haven's best signing from rugby union.

Edited by Hopping Mad
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On 04/12/2021 at 07:14, frank said:

That source dried up in more ways than one. Firstly League can't afford to buy Union guys and to be honest can you name any that are worth going after. Certainly not in the Lions.

I dont know you know.. that new half back for England looks good, Farrell would make a great league player and so would Ford. Youngs would have been interesting to watch play hooker at league too.

The answer is we will never know. 

The one who would have been a RL star undoubtedly is Brian O Driscall, magician with the ball, strong defender.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Another aspect of this occurred to me tonight when I was watching another classic match involving that same Widnes team and all the RU converts they had that season.

Am I mistaken, or were almost all the RU players who "went north" back in the day Welsh and/or black and/or working class?  And if I'm right about that, it leads to a very unflattering conclusion about the RU administrators who finally relented on the question of players being paid for their efforts: as long as they only lost players who were Welsh and/or black and/or working class they didn't really care, but when faced with the prospect of losing white upper/middle class English players in meaningful numbers they soon got off their duffs and did something to prevent that.

Thoughts?

Edited by Big Picture
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7 hours ago, Big Picture said:

Another aspect of this occurred to me tonight when I was watching another classic match involving that same Widnes team and all the RU converts they had that season.

Am I mistaken, or were almost all the RU players who "went north" back in the day Welsh and/or black and/or working class?  And if I'm right about that, it leads to a very unflattering conclusion about the RU administrators who finally relented on the question of players being paid for their efforts: as long as they only lost players who were Welsh and/or black and/or working class they didn't really care, but when faced with the prospect of losing white upper/middle class English players in meaningful numbers they soon got off their duffs and did something to prevent that.

Thoughts?

I think you’ve got half a point. It gone too far with it. If you never have, get over to YouTube and watch The Game That Got Away.

firstly when that was recorded it gives the number of Union converts in the league as 25%.

secondly, it’s got the directors of Wigan (I think) actually saying their strategy is to go for the working class lads and the Welsh because the cash will turn their heads. They state that if someone is middle class, or has got university ahead of them then they won’t approach them because they haven’t got the money to compete with their future earnings.

anyway, posh southern boys did go north - Keith Fielding comes immediately to mind - but with them it tended to be because they wanted to, rather than because the RL clubs had come knocking for them.

my answer would therefore be that it was six of one and half a dozen of the other - RU might have been content to lose the players it lost, and would have worried more about losing ‘white upper/middle class English players in meaningful numbers’ but both the League and the Union knew that was never going to happen, and the League wasn’t actually trying.

 

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the carlings gusscotts and underwoods would not have had the minerals to compete in league no matter what the financial implications 

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did the bloke who invented the phrase "one hit wonder" invent anything else?

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12 hours ago, iffleyox said:

It was Southern Hemisphere RU that led the charge on going honest, but the threat wasn’t league ‘stealing’ players just more that even the RFU could no longer ignore the large quantities of cash going to the leading players via various routes.

The switch was to large degree precipitated by the Super League war and the lorryloads of cash Rugby League was suddenly offering players.

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13 hours ago, M j M said:

The switch was to large degree precipitated by the Super League war and the lorryloads of cash Rugby League was suddenly offering players.

Yep, that is the generally recognised driver to RU going pro. The Southern hemisphere nations were afraid of losing players en masses and being swallowed up.

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On 06/12/2021 at 11:36, Hopping Mad said:

The Elland secondary school (a former grammar school) I attended (1976-83) didn't play much 'rugby' - it was mostly football. But the 'rugby' it did play was union. The 'rugby' games teacher was Brian Campsall, who played union at Morley and later became a leading referee (he was the guy who chalked off three Wigan 'tries' in the cross code game with Bath at Twickers). Campsall - to be frank, he'd be labelled a bully nowadays - hadn't got a clue about coaching. Useless. Quite a lot of lads who wanted to play 'rugby' did so, in their own time, at Elland ARLFC.

I'm pleased to note my old secondary school now plays rugby league - and only rugby league.

Yes I remember the 3 disallowed tries was it Gary Connolly, Graham West but can't remember the third one.

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