Key Dates & Anniversaries

Key Dates


On 29th August 1895, the game that is Rugby League today, began when 21 clubs based in the north of England broke away from English Rugby Union’s governing body and formed their own competition. The breakaway was caused by the northern clubs desire to pay players which was outlawed at the time in Rugby Union.


Batley win the first ever Challenge Cup Final. 

The ‘line-out’ was abolished. 

All goals become worth two points.


Two division structure introduced for clubs


Thirteen-a-side introduced alongside the game’s distinctive play-the-ball movement.


First Rugby League tour of the UK by an overseas team – The tour party were New Zealand Union players who had switched and were dubbed the ‘All Golds’ by hostile section of the Kiwi media for their supposed mercenary motivation.


Rugby League was played in Australia and New Zealand for the first time.


Wembley stages first Challenge Cup Final.


France stages its first Rugby League match. An exhibition match between England and Australia.


First televised Rugby League match – Challenge Cup Final at Wembley.

Rugby League’s International Board was formed.


Rugby League stages its first ever World Cup tournament. Great Britain defeat France 16-12 in the final in Paris.


Substitutes allowed at any time during game.


Introduction of the six tackle rule plus timekeepers with hooter / siren at the end of the game.


Fulham Rugby League club formed. They then become London Crusaders, London Broncos and finally Harlequins RL.


Sin Bin introduced for on-field offences.


Academy Under 18 League introduced.


10-metre rule introduced.


Super League is introduced. 

The sport moves to a summer season.

Video replays introduced to assist referees with try scoring decisions.

Clubs in the top division become professional with full time coaches and playing squads.

Squad numbers introduced for Super League players.


An end of season play-off and Grand Final system introduced to decide Super League Championship.

Super League goes on the road playing League matches in Cardiff, Swansea, Gateshead and Northampton.

The inaugural Grand Final staged at Old Trafford attracts almost 44,000.


Last Challenge Cup Final to be played at Wembley prior to re-building.


World Club Challenge re-introduced at the start of the season.

Rugby League World Cup staged in UK


Great Britain stage first extended overseas tour for more than a decade.


Millennium Magic Event introduced - a full round of Super League matches staged over one weekend in Cardiff. 

Challenge Cup Final returns to the new Wembley Stadium. Catalans Dragons and St Helens contest the first final here. 

Great Britain win first Test Series for 14 years defeating New Zealand three Test to nil.


Great Britain team to separate into England, Wales, Scotland and Irealand to boost international development and to compete in 2008 World Cup.



125 Years - RFU Introduces amateurism, sowing the seeds for the 1895 split

50 Years - Leeds win first ever Championship

25 Years - First ever Rugby League International match at Old Trafford (1986)


50 Years - GB tour Australia losing only one match (final test by one point)


150 Years - formation of the oldest rugby league club (Bradford 1863)

125 Years - Maori become the first rugby tourists to visit UK (1888)

75 Years - Salford win Challenge Cup for the first time

25 Years - Wigan begin run of record eight successive Championships


150 Years - founding of the first rugby club in Leeds (1864)

150 Years - founding of Huddersfield Athletic Club, forerunner of the Giants (1864)

100 Years - Rorkes Drift Test Match (1914)

100 Years - Albert Rosenfeld scores 80 tries in a season (1914)

100 Years - Hull win Challenge Cup for the first time

50 Years - Substitutes allowed for the first time


150 Years - Founding of Hull FC (1865)

125 Years - Opening of Headingley (1890)

100 Years - Huddersfield win All Four Cups