1st April 2020, 15:53 | 125

#RFL125 | This week in Rugby League

#RFL125 | This week in Rugby League

This week in Rugby League history saw the first-ever round of Super League fixtures take place back in 1996.

The newly launched Super League got underway in France as Paris St Germain took on Sheffield Eagles on 29th March 1996. PSG would earn a memorable 30-24 victory in front of almost 18,000 spectators at Stade Sebastien Charléty. Re-live that game here.

St Helens were the biggest winners on the inaugural weekend of the Super League hammering Workington Town 0-62 at Derwent Park. Danny Arnold became the first-ever player to score four tries in a single Super League game while Paul Newlove also crossed for a hat-trick. 

There were actually an additional two hat-trick scorers on the opening weekend of Super League with Gary Connolly crossing for three tries in Wigan’s 16-56 win over Oldham and Jeremy Donougher also notched a hat-trick in Bradford’s 30-18 defeat of Castleford.

London narrowly edged out Halifax 22-24 on the opening weekend and Warrington beat Leeds 18-22 at Headingley in the other opening round fixtures. St Helens topped the table after week one and would finish the season as the inaugural champions.

Prior to the Super League era, this week in Rugby League history has seen some memorable Challenge Cup Semi-Final affairs.

On March 25th 1989, Wigan Warriors edged out Warrington Wolves at Manchester City’s Maine Road Stadium, 13-6. The game saw Warrington take the lead but a drop-goal from inside his own half from Joe Lydon and a late Shaun Edwards try sealed victory for Wigan. Re-live that game here.

Three years later, on the 28th March, Wigan would hammer Bradford at Bolton Wanderers’ Burnden Park, 71-10. The game is remembered for Warriors winger Martin Offiah crossing for five tries in a magnificent solo performance. Re-live that game here.

Leeds Rhinos earned their first Wembley berth since 1978 on March 26th 1994 with a 20-8 victory over St Helens in the Challenge Cup Semi-Finals. The Rhinos’ win was confirmed thanks to a second half double from Ellery Hanley. Re-live that game here.

On March 26th 1988, Hull FC and Halifax played out an unusual 0-0 draw in the Challenge Cup Semi-Final at Headingley before Halifax edged out their counterparts 4-3 in a Replay four days later at Elland Road. This means Halifax progressed to the Challenge Cup Final courtesy of just one try in 160 minutes of Rugby League. You can watch the highlights here.

This week saw Leeds’ aforementioned double try-scorer Hanley celebrate his 59th birthday. Read more about Hanley’s career here. Super League winner Kylie Leuluai and England Knights winger Greg Minikin also celebrated birthdays this week.

Born on this day:

March 25: Mickey Paea (Former Tonga International), Greg Burns (Sheffield Eagles), Lachlan Lam (Sydney Roosters and Papua New Guinea) 

March 26: Brian Edgar (Former England and Great Britain International), Lee Radford (Former England International), Liam Kirk (Bradford Bulls) 

March 27: Ellery Hanley (Former Great Britain International), Ben Hunt (St George Illawarra and Australia)

March 28: Joe Martin (Dewsbury Rams) 

March 29: Kyle Leuluai (Former Samoa International), Greg Minikin (Hull Kingston Rovers and England Knights), Brandon Pickersgill (Bradford Bulls) 

March 30: Kalyn Ponga (Newcastle Knights and Australia) 

March 31: Simon Baldwin (Former England International), Mark Hilton (Former England International)

Did you know? 

March 25: In 1989, Wigan Warriors edged out Warrington Wolves in a memorable Challenge Cup Semi-Final at Manchester City’s Maine Road. Wigan would progress to Wembley following a 13-6 victory. 

March 26: In 1935, a breakdown of gate fares was provided for the matches of the Irish Hospital Trust Rugby League Challenge Trophy. Half was to be given to the trust, while the other half was to be split between the two visiting teams, one being Wigan Warriors.

March 27: In 1946, schools in Yorkshire asked for a £50 grant each to be able to ‘re-equip and restart all Rugby League football in elementary schools’. The secretary was sent to discuss the matter and see if help could be obtained from Education authorities. 

March 28: In 1939, the Amateur Committee decided to make it so that ‘all County matches must be played before the selection of the Amateur International team’. That decision was made after their international match at Bordeaux. 

March 29: In 1996, the opening game of the newly launched Super League was played between Paris St Germain and Sheffield Eagles with the French side coming out 30-24 victors.

March 30: In 1933, player and coach Peter Fox was born in Sharlston. Fox played for a number of clubs including Batley, Hunslet, Hull Kingston Rovers, Wakefield Trinity and Featherstone Rovers. He went on to coach Featherstone, Wakefield, Bramley, Bradford, Leeds, England and Great Britain.

March 31: In 1937, squads were named for international fixtures such as England v France and Wales v The Northern League on April 10. England beat France 23-9.