England Rugby League Team.


Samoa is the opposition for England Rugby League Team in the opener of the Rugby League World Cup. At St James’s Park on Saturday 14th October, kick-off 2.30pm. The England team has a good combination of youth and experience.

The Current England Rugby League Team

Jack Welsby from St Helens is now recognised as one of the most exciting prospects in the game. His tussle with Samoa’s Jarome Luai is a mouth watering prospect. The young stand off from Blackbrook who only made his first grade debut in 2018. And affectionately known as the ‘King’ of St Helens. After his last-gasp dramatic winner in the 2020 Super League Grand Final vs Wigan.

First Rugby League World Cup in 1954

The slick organisation of the Rugby League World Cup 2021. Is quite a contrast to the first competition stage in France in 1954. Johnny Whiteley. The Hull F.C. legend told the story of the first Rugby World Cup. Whilst being interviewed by Jamie-Jones Buchanan. At the Rugby League Lions Luncheon held in 2019.

Johnny explained that the 1954 team was a ‘make-shift’ squad. As many of the players had just returned from playing in the Ashes Series in Australia. And were unable to get additional time off work to compete in France. Then as they prepared to make the trip across the channel. The squad were informed by officials they wouldn’t be accompanied by the Coach. As the Rugby League couldn’t afford his wage.

Rugby League Team locked out due to travel delay

The squad travelled to Paris. But were delayed on route. They made their way to the training ground for their one and only training session before the tournament. When they arrived at the stadium. The French officials assuming they were not training afterall had left for the evening chaining up the metal gates.

The team scaled the fence. Only to then realise that they didn’t have a rugby ball to train with. Johnny came to the rescue. And created something that resembled a ball through knotted clothing.

Final of the Rugby League World Cup

Despite being an inexperienced team and all the set backs in preparation. Great Britain reached the final and in front of over 30,000 partisan supporters at the Parc des Princes. They defeated France by 16 points to 12. Johnny didn’t get a run-out in the competition. As the skipper of the squad. Scotsman Dave Valentine played in the same Loose Forward position as Whiteley.

The first competition stage in France

Firstly, the prime instigators behind the idea of holding a rugby league world cup. Secondly, the French, who were short of money following the seizing of their assets by French rugby union in the Second World War. Thirdly, this first rugby league world cup was an unqualified success. It was played in a uniformly good spirit. Provided an excellent standard of play. Finally, it was a fitting celebration of France’s 20th anniversary as a rugby league-playing nation.

Rugby League World Cup Trophy

In addition, the trophy. Which was donated by the French. Was worth eight million francs and stolen from a Bradford hotel ahead of the 1970 competition. It was later found in a ditch in nearby Bingley. Some 20 years later. The trophy weighing four stone (25kg). Has now been fully restored including the replacement of the cockerel in time for England hosting the 2021 tournament.

The Ellis Rugby vintage RL collection celebrates the history of the competition. And the many great International Rugby League teams. It includes retro T-Shirts. Also, classic Rugby Shirts. In addition, vintage Polo Shirts. Finally, heritage sweatshirts. To view Click Here