Monday 5 September 2011

Wartime Rugby

These are the teams for a game that took place on 23rd January1943 at Headingley Stadium.
The attendance was 8,000 and despite playing under Rugby Union rules the Rugby League team won the game by 18-11.

During the Second World War there were many examples of co-operation between Rugby Union and Rugby League. A number of Rugby Union games were played on Rugby League Grounds and many professional Rugby League players played Rugby Union. However, despite all the examples of co-operation between the two codes that took place during Wartime, the end of hostilities saw a quick return to the 'status quo'. On page 63 of the 1946/47 Yorkshire RFU handbook the following appears:

The spirit of co-operation had lasted from 1939 until 1946. It wasn't until the 1980s that the barriers between the two codes finally began to be broken down.

I am grateful to Huddersfield University Archives and Tony Collins for their help with my research into Yorkshire Rugby Union during World War Two. The match programme for the Rugby Union v Rugby League game in 1943 is just one of the many interesting documents in the Rugby League Archives.

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