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Should the two rugby codes unite?
Should the two rugby codes unite?
(Rugby Leagnion anyone?)
I'm sure this is a question that all followers of either code at one time or another have asked themselves. Does the possibility exist that the two rugby codes, union & league, can somehow reunite to form some sort of hybrid game meshing the good parts of both codes into one super code.

Personally, I think there's a shit show in hell of that happening!

The basic reason for "rugby" becoming split was economics. In the northern clims of Britain (Yorkshire, Lancashire etc) hard men where bred. Mainly in the coal mines etc. These where working class types. Naturally "rugby" was something that came naturally to these people. However they also recognised that playing such a dangerous sport in front of large crowds meant that any injury incurred while playing could mean time off work which they could ill-afford in those tough times in that later part of the 19th century (1890's). With the large crowds that meant gate takings. Gate takings could be converted into wages for players.

However in the southern clims of England, "rugby" had (and still does) a aristocratic background. All the bum chums from various toffee nosed private schools getting together for a game of "rugger" was considered a jolly good lark. The money that could be earned from playing the game wasn't foremost in these peoples minds as their backgrounds meant that $$$ virtually grew on trees.

Hence the split! In an attempt to make the pro game in the north more spectator appealing, various rule changes where made. The game in fact up until the forties was called "Northern Union".

It was here where the good old English class system reared its ugly head. The people in the south looked at the northerners with contempt (cloth cap wearing etc etc..). While the northerners naturally thought of the southerners as toffee-nosed gits. This confrontation still exists today in England, although barriers have been broken recently with pro rugby etc.

The split in the Antipodes happened after the 1905 "Originals" tour of Britain. NZ players on that tour got to see first hand the game played in most of northern England. Quite ironic when you think that its thanks to NZ'ers bringing the game to Oz that Rugby League became the preferred code in NSW & Queensland!

When we look at both codes now there are obvious differences that we don't have to dwell on here as we are all aware of them. One point that is always raised is Rugby Union is starting to look more & more like Rugby League (a la the Brumbies). Now personally I think that sucks!!!

The big advantage Union has always had over League was that it catered for different body shapes & sizes. The philosophy of the game being based around rucks that on being formed allows space for the backs. League with its rules has always been a bash-it-up until someone misses a tackle. BORING!!!! However one thing that modern league has done very well is players have learnt to create space when there doesn't appear to be any....something which pro union sides have caught up with quickly. This is mainly due to the analysis of games that happens these days where every players strengths and weaknesses are probed.

Essentially the main reason for the codes splitting was money. Now both games are pro why shouldn't they now combine?

I don't want the codes to combine. Supporters of both codes will probably agree.

I think the games are so different to play there's no point. I don't want to sacrifice the lineout or the ruck for a play-the-ball. I like the contestability of Union. I don't want to see players all around the 1.90m 100kg mark bashing into each other. I like seeing goofy looking 2m players trying to run. I like seeing 1.78m 120kg props battling it out in a scrum. I like the fact a first five has more of a quarter-back approach to playing as it allows for the silky skills of a Larkham or a Mehrtens, instead of a robot tackling machine that League throws up. I like watching a great openside flanker such as Kronfeld scavenging for the ball. Its bloody great!

And I'm sure Leaguies will have similar reasons why they don't want their code bastardised.

Yeah you can look at the money & commercial side & think how "rugby" could become a real worldwide force if a marketable hybrid was created. But BOLLOCKS to that!!!! True supporters should do the proverbial "UP YOURS!" to any suggestion that this happens.

Canterbury and All Black RUGBY forever!


Let us know what you think!

Keith Quinn is getting nervous DH!

Although I'm not sure the Quinster would use such a delightful turn of phrase as "toffee-nosed gits"

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(Although it could have just been on the Reload button doing some serious ego padding!)