- Rugby league in Scotland
Rugby leagueis comparatively minor sport in Scotland, dwarfed by the popularity of football, and to a lesser extent sports such as rugby union, curlingand shinty.
In 1895, there was a schism within the game of rugby in neighbouring England which saw the sport divided into rugby union which remained amateur and
rugby leaguewhich permitted payments to players. However, no such split took place in Scotland where the clubs continued to play rugby union. Fourteen Scottish players would cross over and play rugby league in England before amateurism was be abandoned. [http://www.rfu.com/microsites/museum/pdfs/exhibitions/leagues/apart6.pdf]
The history of rugby league in Scotland goes back to 1909 when the touring Australian team drew 17 all with England at
Celtic Park, Glasgow. A further match against the Australians followed at Tynecastle, Edinburghin 1911, again an 11 all tie. After this the Rugby Football Leaguelargely gave up on expansion north of the border.
Nonetheless, a number of Scottish rugby union players, particularly from the Border region, moved south to play for English clubs. The numbers were not nearly so great as with the Welsh players (see
Rugby league in Wales), and a Scottish national team was never seriously considered, though Scots did feature for " Other Nationalities" and were eligible for Great Britain .
In 1989 a Scotland students side was formed at the
University of Aberdeen, and this proved to be the catalyst for the formation of a number of other clubs. The national team first played in 1995, and a domestic league followed in 1997.
In 2000 and 2002 the Challenge Cup Final was held at Murrayfield in Edinburgh, the home of the
Scottish Rugby Union. in 2000 Bradford Bullsdefeated Leeds Rhinos24-18, and in 2002 Wigan Warriorsbeat St. Helens 21-12. Both ties were played in front of over 60,000 spectators, by far the biggest rugby league events ever held in Scotland.
Technically, the governing body for the sport in Scotland is the
Rugby Football League, whose remit covers the United Kingdomas a whole. In recent years the RFL have established a semi-autonomous section for Scotland, the Scotland Rugby League.
Scotland Rugby Leaguecomprises six teams: Paisley Hurricanes, Moray Eels (Lossiemouth), Fife Lions, Edinburgh Eagles, Glasgow Bulls and Easterhouse Panthers.
Plans to expand to Scotland with a Glasgow team in 2002 on the
Cardiff Demonsmodel failed to materialise.
In 2006 the competition will come under the organisational umbrella of the
Rugby League Conferencewith a view to the Scottish domestic league becoming a full division of the Conference in the 2007 season.
Rugby league is a growing sport in Scotland, attracting growing interest. In addition to the six clubs in the Scottish conference there are a small number of other clubs. The majority of the clubs are based in and around Glasgow, and
Glasgow City Councilprovide funding for junior teams.
There are two weekly rugby league newspapers
Rugby Leaguer & League Expressand [http://www.league-weekly.com/ League Weekly] and two monthly magazines, Rugby League Worldand Thirteen Magazine. These cover the sport world-wide and across the UK. These publications are usually only available by subscription in Scotland. BBC Sportown the rights to broadcast a highlights package called the Super League Showwhich was first broadcast in Scotland in 2008. Prior to this it had only been broadcast in the North of England.cite web | url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/rugby_league/7238707.stm | title=Super League Show to get repeat | publisher=BBC Sport | author= | date=2008-02-11 | accessdate=2008-02-11] . Rugby League Rawis not broadcast in Scotland despite the BBC owning the rights to do so. The BBC covers the Challenge Cup from the rounds in which the top clubs enter. BBC Radio Five Liveand BBC Five Live Sports Extracarry commentary from a selection of Super League matches each week,.
Sky has the rights to show live Super League games; one or two live matches are broadcast often fronted by
Mike Stephensonand Eddie Hemmings. Sky also hold the rights to show the Rugby League Tri-Nationslive, whilst highlights are shown on BBC Sport. Australia's National Rugby Leagueand State of Origin were shown until 2005-06 season when Setanta Sportsoutbid Sky for the rights.
Manchester based Channel M show some National League and amateur rugby on their Code XIII programme.
The national team
There are two Scottish teams selected: "Scotland" and "Scotland A". The Scotland team is predominantly second-generation
professionalplayers, born and bred in England, whereas the Scotland A team (nicknamed "the Bravehearts") is selected from the domestic Scottish competition.
Since 2002, Scotland A has participated in the
Amateur Four Nationscompetition and toured Italy, the Netherlandsand Serbia.
Sport in Scotland
* [http://www.scotlandrugbyleague.org.uk/ Scotland Rugby League]
* [http://rlwc2000.rivals.net/default.asp?sid=1385&p=2&stid=8062791 Scottish History]
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