TOP INTERNATIONAL RL MATCHES 1908-1950
The First International Rugby League match took place on 1st January 1908 and the result was Wales - 9, New Zealand All Golds - 8 in Aberdare.
In 1907-08, Albert Henry Baskerville organized a group of New Zealand players for a professional tour to the UK against Northern Union opposition. Dubbed the All Golds they included Australian Dally Messenger as a guest and played a total of 46 matches including the first RL international against Wales. Although the All Golds led 8 -3 at half time the Welsh came back strongly and Dai Jones scored a try with only minutes to go. They held on for a famous victory although Dick Wynard of the All Golds missed a great opportunity
The famous Rorke's Drift Test took place 14th July 1914 at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The 1914 Northern Union tour to Australia became controversial when the third and deciding test was brought forward against the wishes of the Northern Union who were struggling with injuries. They were ahead 9-3 at half time but were reduced to ten players, in the days before substitutions, during the second half when Frank Williams, Douglas Clark and Billy Hall were injured. The team defended heroically and even managed to increase their lead to 14-3 with a try from John Johnson (a forward playing on the wing in place of Williams) after a great break by captain and Price of Centres, Harold Wagstaffe. Sid Deane scored for Australia in the last few minutes but the Lions hung on for a famous victory. The score was Australia 6 Northern Union 14.
Australia won the Ashes for the first time on 3rd July 1920 when they beat the Northern Union in Sydney.
Australia won the first test 8-4 in Brisbane then secured the Ashes 21-8 in Sydney.
The Northern Union received some consolation by winning the third test 23-13 in Sydney with tries from Farnsworth, Gilbert, Horder, Potter and Vest with goals from Burge and Horder and a drop goal from Fraser. The Lions replied with tries from Gallagher and Johnson and a goal from Gronow. The final score was Australia - 21, Northern Union - 8.
In 1922, the Northern Union team representing Great Britain adopted the nickname The Lions and regained the Ashes which would not be lost again until 1950.
The first international match involving France was played on 15th April 1934 and the result was France - 21, England - 32 in Paris.
After an exhibition match between Great Britain and Australia in Paris, ex-RU International and Championship Boxer, Jean Galia led France on a six match tour to England which included a win in Hull. Their first international match followed soon and 20,000 excited Parisians watched them lose narrowly to England at the Buffalo Velodrome. Enough enthusiasm was developed to form the French Championship and soon after the national team secured a 15-15 draw in a return match against England.
The Indomitables toured Australia in 1946 and retained the Ashes in a match played on 20th July 1946 at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The result was Australia - 7 v The Lions - 20.
After the devastation caused by World War II, Great Britain relaunched International Rugby League with a tour down under which was the first major event in any sport after the war. Captained by Gus Risman, they are regarded as the greatest touring team of all time and they still remain the only Great Britain team to remain unbeaten in a test series in Australia. At the time, the only way to travel was onboard Royal Navy vessels and the team made the trip onboard HMS Indomitable from which their nickname came. The first test was drawn 8-8 in Sydney while Great Britain won the second test 14-5 in Brisbane. The Ashes were retained with a 20-7 win at the Sydney Cricket Ground with tries from Bassett, Curren and Owens with goals from Risman (3) and Ward.
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