1975 Rugby League World Cup. The epic encounters between the Roger Millward led England RL team and the Wales RL team captained by David Watkins.

The 1975 Rugby League World Championship (also referred to as the World Series). For the first time in the history of the tournament. There would be no Great Britain. Instead, England and Wales would compete as two separate teams.

The eventual winners of the competition were Australia. But, the clashes between the home nations of England and Wales had a vital bearing on the destiny of the World Championship.

1975 Rugby League World Cup Wales squad

The decision to enter a Wales team was made. To take advantage of a glut of Welsh talent in the British game at the time. The team was led by David Watkins and Coach Les Pearce. It included former Wales Rugby Union, international players. Including – John Bevan, Kel Coslett, John Mantle, Maurice Richards, Stuart Gallacher, Roy Mathias, and Bobby Wanbon.

Also, some outstanding Welsh players switched to Rugby League before gaining international Rugby Union caps. There were players like Brian Butler, Colin Dixon, Tony Fisher, Mel James, Clive Jones, Jim Mills, Mike Nicholas, Peter Rowe, Clive Sullivan, Glyn Turner, David Willicombe, and Frank Wilson. Plus there was a sprinkling of English-born eligible players. Including Bill Francis, David Treasure, and Peter Banner.

1975 Rugby League World Cup England squad

The England Rugby League team was led by Roger Millward. And also coached by Alex Murphy. The squad included a number of players from the successful 1972 Great Britain Rugby League World Champions team. These experienced players included Paul Charlton, John Atkinson, John Holmes, Bob Irving, Steve Nash, and George Nicholls.

Plus an exciting crop of younger players like Keith Bridges, Mick Coulman, Phil Cookson, and Ged Dunn. Also, George Fairbairn, Les Dyl, Dave Chisnall, Keith Fielding, Ken Gill, Jimmy Thompson, Mick Morgan, Steve Norton, and Stuart Wright.

Wales v England June 10th 1975

In a brutal encounter, Wales beat England 12-7 in a win that would eventually go a long way to preventing England from winning the World Cup.
The infamous England v Wales match took place at Lang Park in Brisbane. David Treasure and Clive Sullivan scored tries for Wales. Also, David Watkins kicked three goals. Tommy Martyn replied for England with their only try. And two goals from George Fairbairn.

The “Battle of Brisbane” is referenced in the excellent Jim Mills biography, (available from Amazon) “Big Jim”. Mills said: “It was one of those games, playing against teammates and friends for your country. Alex Murphy had been on television the night before and when asked about the Welsh team, he said that none of them are good enough to get into the England team. That set the match up when he said that, everyone was a bit bitter.“It was a violent game and Mick Morgan, the England hooker, was knocked unconscious and was carried off on three occasions. There were a lot of bust-ups, it was a hard-fought game and the Aussie enjoyed it. They were playing us the following weekend but we didn’t get a chance to recover and were still tired. If we hadn’t beaten England, they would have won the World Championship.

“They were red hot favourites in Brisbane and it was one of the toughest games I played purely from the fact I was playing against some Widnes teammates in the England side. There were friends of mine who didn’t speak to me for a long time after that match.”

England v Wales September 20th 1975

The return game between these two nations was staged at the home of Warrington. The Wilderspool Stadium. England gained revenge for their earlier Rugby League World Cup defeat at the hands of Wales.
The match was an open affair. For Wales, Peter Banner and John Mantle scored tries. Also, David Watkins kicked five goals. In response, England enjoyed tries from Keith Fielding, John Holmes, and Eric Hughes. In addition, George Fairbairn kicked six goals. And Keith Bridges added a drop goal.

1975 Rugby World Cup Results

The England Rugby League team drew with Australia in Sydney 10 points all. On the 28th June 1975. Also, the England RL side did even better on the return fixture. This was held at Central Park in Wigan. Despite Kangaroos Winger Ian Schubert scoring three tries. England replied with tries by Jeff Grayshon and John Holmes. In addition, George Fairbairn added five goals to secure a memorable victory.
It was the defeat to Wales in Brisbane. And a draw against New Zealand in Auckland. That impacted England’s campaign resulting in a second-place finish.
Wales Rugby League finished in third place behind Australia and England. However, they appeared above both New Zealand and France. This was Wales’s first ever RLWC and their performances were incredible. It is even more remarkable as the team had undoubted quality, but also a limited playing pool.

The Ellis Rugby 1975 Rugby League World Cup Shirts

The shirts are inspired by these great teams of 1975. These include the England Rugby League Shirt Polo 1975. And the Wales Rugby League Shirt 1975 Vintage Style. Also, we offer an outstanding International Rugby League Range.