Student Rugby League: Half-century student RL celebration

Ray French
Ray French
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ONE OF rugby league’s most historic breakthroughs will be celebrated in Leeds next month

It is 50 years since a group of pioneers at Leeds University persuaded the authorities there to approve rugby league as an official sport.

Rugby union had dominated campuses until 1967, but university teams in Liverpool, Bradford, Manchester, Salford and Sheffield soon followed Leeds’ lead and the student game was born. Half a century later there are more than 70 student rugby league clubs across the country, with hundreds of players participating in official university competitions every year.

Former Great Britain internationals Ray French – for many years the voice of BBC league coverage – Bev Risman and the late Cec Thompson are among the outstanding players to have graduated from Leeds University.

Leeds University Rugby League Old Boys’ Club has arranged a weekend of events to mark the 50th anniversary including a match between the current university team and an old boys’ XIII and a dinner at Headingley Stadium on Saturday, March 11, featuring guest speaker Barrie McDermott.

Anyone wanting to attend should see www.lurloldboys.com for more details or contact Jeremy Shires jez@lurloldboys.com

John Kear, left, and Chris Chester

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