Rugby league

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In its modern dress or its old, it is a fine, fine game - the best of all, I reckon, played by men with a ball in their hands.
Frank Hyde, 1995.

Rugby league football, usually called rugby league, is a full-contact team sport played with a prolate spheroid-shaped ball by two teams of thirteen on a rectangular grass field. It is one of the two major codes of rugby football, the other being rugby union. Rugby league is most prominent in England, Australia, New Zealand, and France, where the sport is played professionally.


  • It's long enough, it's high enough and it's straight between the posts.
    • Radio call of Frank Hyde when a goal was scored that became a iconic part of the game.
  • In its modern dress or its old, it is a fine, fine game - the best of all, I reckon, played by men with a ball in their hands.
  • I salute the contribution that Rugby League has made to Australia's national identity, it's a tough game. It started as a working man's game; it's become every man's game now. It still retains that working class character and that's part of its heart and soul and I hope it always does, but it is also a game that has reached out to the entire community.
  • My greatest moment happened every weekend during the football season when I was able to put on the mighty red, white and blue for the Roosters.
    • Kevin Hastings response when asked in recent times what his favourite memory was after achieving so much in the game of rugby league.


  • We trained like Tarzan all week, then played like Jane.
    • Frank Endacott, the Widnes coaching advisor, after Widnes Vikings 40-6 hammering away to Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
  • If working men can't afford to play, they shouldn't play at all.
    • Harry Garnett, a leading figure in Yorkshire rugby union at the time of the great split.
  • We had prepared to play George Foreman and got George Formby.
    • Brian Noble, the Bradford Bulls coach, on St Helens sending a weakened side to Odsal.
  • Met Dad, went to Wembley. Played Chekhov in the evening. Quite a day.
    • Hull born actor Sir Tom Courtenay on the day the black and whites lost to Wigan in the 1959 Challenge Cup final.
  • I'd rather be on Blackpool beach than Bondi beach.
    • Leon Pryce, during Great Britain's 2006 Tri-Nations campaign in Australia.
  • Since I finished playing rugby league, apartheid has ended, the Iron Curtain has come down and the Israelis have given up the Gaza Strip to the Palestinians. But I still can't play rugby on a Saturday afternoon.
    • Former Castleford Tigers player Ian Birkby who had been prevented from playing socially for Cheshire rugby union club.
  • In south west Lancashire babes don't toddle, they side-step. Queuing women talk of 'nipping round the blindside'. Rugby league provides our cultural adrenalin. It's a physical manifestation of our rules of life, comradeship, honest endeavour, and a staunch, often ponderous, allegiance to fair-play.


  • The banning of rugby league was decided, in 1941, by the director of sports, who was a union player, and who was convinced that the disappearance of rugby league would favour the development of rugby union.
    • Former Wimbledon champion Jean Borotra, who was appointed by the Vichy government during the Second World War to run a department known as the Commissariat General A L'Education Generale Et Sportive, a section of the Ministry Of Family And Youth.

New Zealand[edit]

  • I'm 49, I've had a brain haemorrhage and a triple bypass and I could still go out and play a reasonable game of rugby union. But I wouldn't last 30 seconds in rugby league.
    • Graham Lowe, former Wigan Warriors, Manly Sea Eagles, North Queensland Cowboys, Samoa and New Zealand coach.


  • The main difference between playing league and union is that now I get my hangovers on Monday instead of Sunday.
    • Tom David, former Welsh rugby union international, after switching codes.
  • League is much more physical than union, and that's before anyone starts breaking the rules.
    • Former Welsh international rugby union player Adrian Hadley who went on to play League for Salford.
  • It's the first time I've been cold for seven years. I was never cold playing rugby league.

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