billsportsmaps.com

June 8, 2015

England, second division rugby league, 2015 RFL Championship (aka Kingstone Press Championship): location-map with all-time English RL titles list; plus a preview of the new Super 8s promotion/relegation play-off mini-league.

Filed under: Rugby,Rugby>England — admin @ 5:12 am

2015_rugby-league_england_2nd-division_kingstone-press-championship_map_w-rl-titles-list_post_f_.gif
English RL 2nd div map 2015




Links…
-New competition structure explained, rugbyleaguechampionships.co.uk/['2015 - A New Era'] [from the Official site].
-Teams, etc…2015 RFL Championship (en.wikipedia.org).
-Fixtures, results, table(s), etc…rugbyleaguechampionships.co.uk/match_day/fixtures [Official site].
-BBC.com’s rugby league page/results (which includes 2nd div RL attendance figures for most matches), bbc.com/sport/rugby-league/championship/results.
-A good RL site is Total RL.com, and here is their page on 2nd division English RL…totalrl.com/category/kingstone-press-championship.
-Another good RL site is Love Rugby League, and here is their page on 2nd division English RL…loverugbyleague.com/championship.
-My most-recent map & post on 1st division English RL (from Feb. 2015),
Rugby League: 2015 Super League XX location-map, with all-time English RL titles list & attendance figures from 2014./ Plus a season-preview article on 2015 Super League XX, written by James Nalton./ Plus illustrations of the 4 semifinalists from last season, including 2014 champions St Helens RLFC (billsportsmaps.com).

    England, second division rugby league, 2015 RFL Championship (aka Kingstone Press Championship): location-map with all-time English RL titles list; plus a preview of the new Super 8s promotion/relegation play-off mini-league

By Bill Turianski on 8 June 2015; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.com.
The 12-team second division in rugby league in the United Kingdom, called the Kingstone Press Championship for sponsorship reasons, is pro/semi-pro; attendances range in the ~500-to-2.5-K-per-game range, with an average crowd size of around 1.2 K or so. (Last years’ average crowd figure is unavailable, however 2 years ago in 2013 the average crowd size was 1,199 {see this}.)

The 1st division in English RL draws similar crowd-sizes to the 3rd division in English football;
while the 2nd division in English RL draws similar crowd-sizes to the 5th division in English football…

A convenient way of getting a picture of what crowd-sizes tend to be in the top two tiers of English rugby league is to compare it to English football attendances within the English football pyramid. So, from current and recent figures (from 2013, 2014, 2014-15)…the 1st division in English rugby league (Super League) is akin to Football League One [the 3rd division] in terms of crowd-size (~7-to-9-K per game range of league averages); while the 2nd division in English rugby league is akin to the Non-League football Conference National [the 5th division] in terms of crowd-size (~1.1-K-to-1.9 K per game range of league averages). (Figures {& sources}: 2014 Super League avg total attendance: 8,153 {source} versus 2014-15 Football League One avg total attendance: 7,043 {source} ; 2013 RFL Championship avg total attendance: 1,199 {source} versus 2014-15 5th div Non-League football avg total attendance: 1,855 per game {source}.)

There are some recent exceptions, such as the 7.4 K that Leigh Centurions drew on the 2015 season opener (versus newly-relegated Bradford Bulls). [Bradford Bulls probably had well over 1 K traveling fans cross the Pennines to attend; the distance between Leigh in western Greater Manchester and Bradford in West Yorkshire is 73 km (or 45 mi) by road.] It just so happens that there is an excellent write-up (with gallery of photos) from that match (which Leigh won 36-24), at the awesome site known as The Onion Bag – Travels around Non League Football & Rugby League Grounds…
Leigh Centurions – Sunday 15th February 2015. Kingstone Press Championship. Leigh Centurions 36 Bradford Bulls 24. Atten 7499 (onion-bag.blogspot.co.uk).

Attendances will almost certainly increase in the English RL 2nd division this year, because of the re-introduction of promotion/relegation into the format…
[Note: very first link at the top of this post has the official site's page on the new format, again, here.}
Basically, the new format, which has re-introduced promotion/relegation, will see some 2nd division matches with attendance increases, especially come August and September 2015, after the 23rd game, once the season morphs into the Super 8s, when the top four 2nd division clubs get re-grouped with the bottom 4 Super League clubs. Those 8 teams then fight it out in what is essentially a 7-match round-robin mini-league...with the 4 best from that set-up earning the right to play in the 1st division in 2016 (Super League XXI), and with the 4 worst from that set-up being placed in the 2nd division for 2016.

{For a more detailed description, see this excerpt from Wikipedia, ..."Following the split into the Super 8's, the top four teams in the Championship 2015 will join the bottom four teams of the Super League 2015 in "The Qualifiers". This group will see each team play each other once each, totaling seven extra games, with points reset to zero for the qualifiers. After 7 extra rounds the top 3 teams will earn a place in the Super League competition for 2016, thus either retaining or earning a place in the top competition. The teams finishing 4th and 5th in the qualifiers will play off in an extra fixture, at the home of 4th, for the final place in the 2016 Super League competition. The loser of this fixture, along with teams finishing 6th, 7th, and 8th in the qualifiers will either remain or be relegated and will play in the Championship in the 2016 season."...{end of excerpt from 2015 RFL Championship at en.wikipedia.org}.

In other words, with the new RL set-up in England, as many as 4 but as few as zero 2nd division clubs can gain promotion to the top flight.

Below: Leigh Centurions, who sit first in the second tier as of 6 June 2015...
leigh-centurions-r-l-c_leigh-sports-village_2015_a_.gif
Photo credits above -
Aerial photo of Leigh Sports Village by Leigh Centurions RLFC, at leighcenturions.com/club/contact.
Action photo from 15 Feb. 2015 (Leigh 36, Bradford 24), photo by Onion-Bag.blogspot.com at onion-bag.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/leigh-centurions.html; and at onion-bag.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/leigh-centurions.html.

So, come mid-August, who will be in the 2015 Super 8s promotion/relegation mini-league?
...Note: below is a brief look at the tables from 8 June 2015 (or after about three-quarters of the regular seasons have been played [~15 to 17 games-played per team])…
2nd div teams…
-{Here is the RL 2nd div/Championship table (bbc.com)}.
Two-time national RL champions Leigh Centurions and 6-time-champions the Bradford Bulls sit even on 28 points (14-1/ with Leigh having a better points-difference of 365 [v 360 p-d for Bradford]). Leigh were undefeated prior to their surprise loss on 7 June away to London Broncos. Some observers feel Leigh look like the best of the second tier by a considerable margin, but meanwhile, Bradford’s’ objective of bouncing straight back to Super League remains on-course. Leigh and Bradford are now virtual locks to make it to the Super 8s round. As to the other two teams who will qualify for the promotion/relegation/ mini-league, it is starting to look like the 3rd spot will go to the Sheffield Eagles, with the fourth spot being a toss-up between the Dewsbury Rams, Halifax RLFC, and Featherstone Rovers, with London Broncos now looking to also have a chance of squeaking in. The London Broncos (aka the formerly-worst-drawing 1st div English RL club) are now poised to move up the table, because they play hapless and winless Doncaster RLFC next Sunday the 14th of June.

1st div teams…
-{Here is the RL 1st div/Super League table}
(Leeds Rhinos lead the table at 12-1-4 with St Helens and Wigan 1 and 2 points behind respectively.}

As far as which 4 basement dwellers from the 2015 top tier will join the top 4 of the second tier, well, if you look at the current Super League table, you will see that the now-lowest-drawing 1st div English RL club, the Wakefield Wildcats (who drew ~4.3 K per game in 2014) look to have all but guaranteed that they will be fighting for their top-tier existence in the Super 8s come August and September. Wakefield have just 2 wins after 16 games, and are 14 points from safety. The other 3 that will be joining Wakefield in the promotion/relegation Super 8s is still very uncertain, but if the season were to end today, it would be: Salford, Hull KR, and Widnes. However, 5 more clubs are not by any means safe yet (Catalans, Hull FC, Castleford, Warrington, Huddersfield).

The 2nd Division in English RL is currently comprised of the following…
Currently [2015 regular season/Feb-to-July], of the 12 teams in the RL 2nd division in the UK, 11 are from the north of the England, with the exception being the London Broncos (whom were relegated in 2014, along with Bradford Bulls). So, just like in the first division in RL in the UK (Super League), the second tier is currently is comprised almost completely of rugby league clubs from the historical ceremonial counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire, but also in the second tier currently there are two clubs from Cumbria in the far northwest of England (Workington Town and Whitehaven), and as recently as 2014 there was representation from the north of Wales (the North Wales Crusaders, who were relegated to the 3rd division last year [2014]).

In 1895, a split in Rugby football created the two codes…
History of rugby league/The schism in England (en.wikipedia.org).
In 1895, a split in Rugby football created the two codes (pro Rugby League to the North / amateur Rugby Union to the South). This resulted in the formation of the Northern Rugby Football Union, which was of course the precursor to Super League rugby (est. 1996), in particular, and was also the precursor of all Rugby League leagues in general.

The list below shows which of the 22 founding Rugby League clubs who formed the NRFU (for the 1895-96 season) are currently in the 2nd Division as of 2015 (5 clubs)…
Batley RLFC (est.1880).
Bradford FC * (est. 1863/ re-est. 1907 as Bradford Northern RLFC/see note below).
Halifax RLFC (est. 1873).
Hunslet RLFC (est. 1883).
Leigh RFC (est. 1878).
*Note:
*Bradford FC played rugby (and later on by 1879 also played cricket) in the 1863 to 1906 time period. In 1907 the club was split in 2 branches:
1). An association football club, Bradford Park Avenue AFC.
2). A rugby league club, Bradford Northern, which joined the 1907-08 Northern Rugby Football Union (their name was later changed to Bradford Bulls RLFC, in 1996.)

Title-winning clubs currently in the RL second division...
[Source for the list below, Rugby Football League Championship/League Leaders and Champions; Super League/Super League Champions (en.wikipedia.org).]

7 of the 12 clubs currently in the RL second division have won national English RL titles:
Bradford Northern/Bulls (with 6 titles, last in 2005),
Halifax RLFC (with 4 titles, last in 1985-86),
Leigh Centurions (with 2 titles, last in 1981-82),
Hunslet Hawks (with 2 titles, last in 1937-38),
Featherstone Rovers (with 1 title in 1976-77),
Workington Town RLFC (with 1 title in 1950-51),
Batley Bulldogs (with 1 title in 1923-24).
___
Thanks to the contributors at 2015 RFL Championship (en.wikipedia.org).
Thanks to D-maps.com, for blank map of the UK, http://d-maps.com/pays.php?num_pay=218&lang=en.

February 5, 2015

Rugby League: 2015 Super League XX location-map, with all-time English RL titles list & attendance figures from 2014./ Plus a season-preview article on 2015 Super League XX, written by James Nalton./ Plus illustrations of the 4 semifinalists from last season, including 2014 champions St Helens RLFC.

Filed under: Rugby,Rugby>England — admin @ 8:16 am

2015_rugby-league_england_france_super-league_xx_map_w-rl-titles_2014-attendance_post_m_.gif
Rugby League: Super League XX location-map, with all-time RL titles list & attendance figures from 2014




Super League official site (superleague.co.uk).
Fixtures.

From the Love Rugby League site, Super League XX predictions (by James Gordon & Zach Wilson at loverugbyleague.com/blog).

New format explained at the following link…superleague.co.uk/#RL New Era.

    2015 Super League XX Preview

By James Nalton
Defending champions St Helens head into Super League XX under a new head coach – club legend Keiron Cunningham – and retain their status as the good outside bet they were in last season’s Grand Final. Their opponents that day, Wigan Warriors, are favourites to take the crown this time around, in a year which is being dubbed a new era for the sport of rugby league.

With the new era comes a new format, which looks confusing on first glance, but aims to provide a sustainable system of promotion and relegation in which a team dropping to a lower division won’t be crippled either on the pitch, or on the balance sheet. It also means that most teams will have something to play for from the first game till the last.

It’s the first time since the end of 2007 that promotion and relegation has been used, although Bradford Bulls and London Broncos were relegated at the end of 2014 to facilitate the move to a 12 team Super League.

The clubs discussed the idea at length before implementing the changes, with the Chairman of Super League Europe, Brian Barwick, commenting that:

“The clubs were unanimous in their view that Super League should become a 12-team competition from 2015 and that there should be meaningful movement between Super League and the Championships.”

The season culminates in the end of season play-offs, and the “Super 8s”, in which the 24 teams from the Super League and Championship are split into three groups of 8, based on their league position, to decide who wins what and who stays in which division.

The first eight will play for the Super League crown, with the top four after seven games going on to the Super League play-offs to decide the winner.

The second eight will fight for a Super League place next season, with the top three from this group claiming a spot in 2016, and the teams finishing 4th and 5th playing off in “The Million Pound Game” to decide the fourth team who’ll make the top league.

The favourites Wigan boast a squad of impressive local players, with many coming through the club’s own academy production line. Their faith in this system has seen them assign the number six jersey to 20-year-old George Williams, rather than look to replace departing Australian stand-off, Blake Green, with another overseas player.

Local academy players Joe Burgess and Dom Crosby were also rewarded with numbers in the first XIII, taking the number 5 and 8 shirts respectively. They join a whole host of players in the Wigan squad who originate from Lancashire’s rugby heartlands, with many joining the club from local amateur side Wigan St Patricks.

Indeed, the entire top division has gone back to its roots in the working class towns of Lancashire and Yorkshire, with the only exception being Catalans Dragons, who are based in the south of France – another traditional league stronghold.

James Nalton is a writer based in Liverpool, England, whose sportswriting focuses on football tactics, emerging talents in world football, and rugby league. He owns several websites covering football around the globe, and has also written for the likes of Squawka, Sambafoot, and EPL Index. James also writes music reviews for local publications, and has a degree in Music Production from The University of Huddersfield. You can follow him on Twitter @JDNalton.

Below are club-profile illustrations for each of the 4 semifinalists in 2014 Super League XIX (champions St Helens, runner-up Wigan Warriors, and quarterfinals winners Catalans Dragons and Warrington Wolves). Included in each illustration is: club info, stadium photos and info, major titles listed, average attendance from the last 4 seasons (2011-14), club history with stadiums and derbies noted, recent home jerseys shown, and photos & stats of top players in 2014…

    2014 Super League XIX champions: St Helens RLFC…

St Helens’ 2014 average attendance: 12,120 per game (3rd best in Super League).
st-helens-rlfc_langtree-park_knowsley-road_t-makinson_j-roby_2014super-league_xix_champions_m_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Aerial view of Langtree Park, photo unattributed (uploaded by RMB2001) at skyscrapercity.com/thread [ST HELENS | Langtree Park Stadium | 18,000 | Completed ]. Street-level photo of Langtree Park by barr-construction.co.uk/barr-construction-news. Action photo (of 1st game at Langtree Park Jan 2012), photo by Action Images via telegraph.co.uk/sport/rugbyleague/Sell-out-crowd-watch-St-Helens-play-first-match-at-Langtree-Park.
Aerial photo of Knowsley Road (from 2008) by Webbaviation.co.uk (UK aerial photography), at webbaviation.co.uk/sports/gallery2/v/football-stadia/sthelens. 2015 St Helens home jersey, photo unattributed at newrugbykits.com. Photo of St Helens fans in the stands at Langtree Park (from 2013), photo by sthelensstar.co.uk. Thomas Makinson (2014 top try scorer for St Helens), action photo by liverpoolecho.co.uk. James Roby (2014 top tackler for St Helens), photo by swipix.com via bbc.com/rugby-league. Trophy celebration with St Helens captain Paul Wellens lifting the trophy, photo by Getty Images via dailymail.co.uk/sport/rugbyleague/st-helens-14-6-wigan.

    2014 Super League XIX runner-up: Wigan Warriors RLFC…

Wigan Warriors’ 2014 average attendance: 14,102 per game (2nd best in Super League).
wigan-warriors_central-park1902-99_dw-stadium_josh-charnley_joe-burgess_n_.gif
Photo and Image credits above -
Wigan Warriors 2015 home (retro) jersey, photo from store.wiganwarriors.com/home-shirt-2015-cherry-and-white. Central Park (Wigan), photo [circa late 1990s] by Brian Bradshaw at wiganworld.co.uk/photo-gallery. DW Stadium, exterior aerial telephoto shot with surrounding area in Wigan [aerial view to the South], photo by Dave Green/ OyPhotos.co.uk via skyscrapercity.com/forums via wiganworld.co.uk. Supporters in the rain with umbrellas at Wigan Town square for trophy celebration [photo circa 2011], photo from wiganwarriors.com. Josh Charnley, photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images Europe at bettingpro.com via zimbio.com. Joe Burgess, photo by Getty Images via dailymail.co.uk/sport/rugbyleague/article-2789495/sam-tomkins-backs-joe-burgess.

    2014 Super League semifinalist: Catalans Dragons (aka Ville de Perpignan Dragons RLFC)…

Catalans Dragons’ 2014 average attendance: 7,667 per game (7th best in Super League).
catalans-dragons_stade-gilbert-brutus_morgan-escare_t_.gif
Photo credits above –
Catalans Dragons 2014 jersey, photo from rlshop.co.uk/catalans-dragons-home-shirt-2014. Aerial view, unattributed at info-stades.fr/forum/rugby-top14/perpignan-stade-gilbert-brutus-dragons-catalans-t1269.html. Photo at front gate, Michael at flickr.com/photos/gumptard/2322189456/. Photo of Dragons supporters, at catalansdragons.com/en/articles-6/6-17-fans-associations/. Morgan Escaré, photo by swipix.com via bbc.com/sport/rugby-league.

    2014 Super League semifinalist: Warrington Wolves RLFC…

Warrington Wolves’ 2014 average attendance: 9,870 per game (5th best in Super League).
warrington-wolves_halliwell-jones-stadium_joel-monaghan-top-try-scorer2014_n_.gif
Photo and Image credits – Warrington 2014 home jersey, photo from rlshop.co.uk/superleague/warringtonwolves. Halliwell Jones Stadium, photo unattributed at examiner.co.uk/sport/rugby-league. WWRLFC crest (sign on stadium), photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com. Warrington fans, photo from warrington-worldwide.co.uk. Joel Monaghan (top scorer with 28 tries in 2014 SL XIX), both photos by: (on left), Gareth Copley/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.com; (on right) Gareth Copley/Getty Images Europe via zimbio.som.


Notes on the map page…
The map page features, on the far left, a map of England and a map of France (which shows the location and crest of Super League club Catalans Dragons). At the top centre is an enlarged inset map of Northern England (which shows the locations and crests of 11 of the 12 Super League clubs). At the top right is the all-time English rugby league national titles list (1895-96; 1902-03 to 1914-15; 1919-20 to 1938-39; 1941-42 to 2014/[Super League established in 1996/SL playoffs began in 1998]). At the lower centre is 2014 attendance data for Super League XX clubs. Included in the attendance data are league averages for crowd size in the last 3 seasons (in SL XVII, XVIII, XIX/2012, 2013, 2014).
Here are the Super League league average attendance numbers for the last 3 seasons…
2012: 9,048.
2013: 8,570.
2014: 8,153.
The re-introduction of promotion/relegation in Super League was probably needed, because, while Super League attendances overall have not plummeted, they certainly are on a downward trend. In 2014, average crowds in Super League were down 4.1% (from 2013), and were down 9.9% from two seasons ago. That has been a drop-off of 895 per game. With the relegation of abysmally-drawing London Broncos, plus some hopefully tight relegation dogfights this season, Super League XX will most likely see an uptick in the league average crowd size.


Sources for map:
Thanks to the following…
-Titles, Rugby Football League Championship/League Leaders and Champions; Super League/Super League Champions (en.wikipedia.org).
-Attendance, 2014 and 2013 figures from this article at Total RL.com, totalrl.com/opinion-super-league-attendance-drop-cause-concern;
also, bbc.co.uk/rugby league reports via 2014 Super League season results (en.wikipedia.org), for Hull KR Percent Capacity figure (had to do it manually because of stadium-expansion midaway through the in April 2014).
___

Thanks to League express at Total RL.com for the attendance figures for 2013 & 2014 {here}.
Thanks to very much to Hanigan for 2012 attendance figures {2012 SL league average and club average attendances from Hanigan at totalrl.com/forums/index.php/topic/244182-averages-attendances-for-super-league-and-other-divisions/.}.
Thanks to James Gordon at LoveRugbyLeague.com, for compiling the 2011 attendance figures, loverugbyleague.com/news_10175-wigan-top-average-attendance-table.html.
Thanks to bbc.co.uk/rugby-league for reporting attendance figures in Super League (the BBC is one of the few media outlets that report rugby league attendances, done on a game-by-game basis; unfortunately they do not report total averages).
Thanks to LoveRugbyLeague.com stadium profile pages,
loverugbyleague.com/club/st-helens/ground-guide.
loverugbyleague.com/club/wigan-warriors/ground-guide.
loverugbyleague.com/club/catalan-dragons/ground-guide.
loverugbyleague.com/club/warrington-wolves/ground-guide.

Thanks to DistanceFromTo.net, for distances between towns.

Thanks to the Cherry & White – Independent Wigan RLFC fansite, for this very detailed and illustrated article on the old Central Park (Wigan), wigan.rlfans.com/Central Park.

Thanks to D-maps.com, for blank map of the UK, http://d-maps.com/pays.php?num_pay=218&lang=en.

Bill Turianski thanks James Nalton for collaborating on this post. James’ blog, The Botofogo Star, is on the blogroll at billsportsmaps.

April 12, 2013

Rugby league football (England and France): Super League – Super League XVIII (2013 season) location-map, with 2012 attendance data, and all-time Rugby Football League titles list / Plus illustrations of the grounds of the 3 best-drawing English rugby league clubs in 2012 (Wigan Warriors RL, Leeds Rhinos RLFC, and St Helens RLFC).

Filed under: Rugby,Rugby>England — admin @ 8:56 pm

rugby-league_super-league2013_2012-attendances_post_i_.gif
Super League, location-map with 2012 attendance data of the 14 teams, and all-time Rugby Football League titles list


Note: my most-recent Super League map & post can be found here,
Rugby League: 2015 Super League XX location-map, with all-time English RL titles list & attendance figures from 2014./ Plus a season-preview article on 2015 Super League XX, written by James Nalton./ Plus illustrations of the 4 semifinalists from last season, including 2014 champions St Helens RLFC.

Official site of Super League, superleague.co.uk.

From loverugbyleague.com, from 10 Sept.2012, by James Gordon, ‘Wigan top average attendance table – Six Super League teams averaged crowds of more than 10,000 during the 2012 regular season.’

    Below, the top 3 drawing rugby league clubs in England in 2012: Wigan Warriors, Leeds Rhinos, and St Helens…

Best-drawing English rugby league football club in 2012, Wigan Warriors, 16,043 per game and a 66 percent-capacity.
wigan-warriors_dw-stadium_13d.gif
Photo credits above –
Photo of Wigan Warriors’ jersey crest from superleaguefans.com/shop.
Aerial photo of DW Stadium unattributed at forum.ea.com.
Interior photo of DW Stadium from wiganwarriors.com.
Photo of Wigan Warriors fans by mikemcsharry via popeandswift.co.uk.

Second-best-drawing English rugby league football club in 2012, Leeds Rhinos (2012 Super League champions), at 14,948 per game and a 72 percent-capacity.
leeds-rhinos_headingley-carnegie-stadium_14i_gif
Photo and Image credits above –
Aerial photo of Headingley Carnegie Stadium from therhinos.co.uk.
Alam at dailymail.co.uk/sport/rugbyleague/article-2203414/Leeds-spend-1million-new-pitch-Headingley.html.
Leeds Rhinos’ jersey badge and 2013 jersey front [wallpaper] uploaded by azsportza at http://forums.leagueunlimited.com/showthread.php?t=381199&page=25.
[azsportza at photobucket.com, http://s820.photobucket.com/user/azthomasza/library/?sort=3&page=2 (Australian RL, English RL, Premier League, La Liga kit wallpapers).]
Varley Picture Agency at therhinos.co.uk.
Unattributed at bbc.co.uk.

Third-best-drawing rugby league football club in 2012, St Helens, at 14,088 per game and a 78 percent-capacity – in their brand-new 18,000-capacity Langtree Park, which opened in November, 2011, and is owned by St Helens RLFC (and is also the new home of Liverpool FC reserves).
st-helens-rlfc_langtree-park_b.gif
Photo credits above –
Photo of St Helens’ jersey crest from superleaguefans.com/shop.
Aerial photo of Langtree Park by Simon Kirwan at lightboxuk.photoshelter.com.
Action Images at telegraph.co.uk/sport/rugbyleague/Sell-out-crowd-watch-St-Helens-play-first-match-at-Langtree-Park-and-retain-Karalius-Cup.
Chris Stoddart at commons.wikimedia.org.


___

Thanks to James Gordon a LoveRugbyLeague.com, for compiling the attendance figures, loverugbyleague.com/news_10175-wigan-top-average-attendance-table.html.

Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org, ‘Super League‘ en.wikipedia.org).

Thanks to Daniel Dalet at D-maps.com for the blank maps of England and France, d-maps.com/carte.php?lib=france_map&num_car=2820&lang=en.

September 3, 2009

Super League XIV; Guinness Premiership 2009-10 and the Magners League 2009-10, with maps of each league, and attendance map of all 36 teams in top flight UK/Irish rugby.

rugby_post_b.gif


The first map shows all 36 teams in the three top rugby leagues of Great Britain and Ireland.  The maps for Super League XIV,  Guinness Premiership 2009-10,  and Magners League 2009-10 are further down in the post.  

Two of the three leagues shown on the map use the older Rugby Union code.  Super League uses the newer Rugby League rules

The Rugby Union code dates back to 1870 {see this}. The Rugby League code has its roots in the Great Schism, and the formation of the Northern Rugby Football Union in 1895 {see this: ‘The Great Schism’ (from RugbyFootballHistory.com)};  {see this: ‘History of rugby league’, from en.wikipedia.org}.}.   

In the late nineteenth century, the working class status of the majority of rugby players in the north of England necessitated an establishment of payment for the players (as well as compensation for injuries). The origins of many of the rugby players in the south of England were middle class and upper class, and many learned the game at the Public Schools (which were then and still are essentially private schools for the privileged). So there was less a need for player payment. The Rugby League / Rugby Union split can traced to this Victorian era class divide…in the north, poor working-class men playing the game, in the south, Public School graduates with little pressing need for salary augmentation, playing the game under the principles of amateurism. 

In 1892, charges of professionalism were made against rugby clubs in Yorkshire, specifically in Leeds and Bradford. By 1893, widespread suspensions of northern clubs and players began. In late August, 1895, in a meeting in Manchester, nine Lancashire clubs declared their support for their Yorkshire colleagues. Two days later, 29th August, 1895, representatives of 22 clubs met in Huddersfield, Yorkshire to form the Northern Rugby Football League. Included in these 22 clubs were 7 clubs that are currently in Super League XIV…Huddersfield, Hull FC, Leeds, St Helens, Wakefield Trinity, Warrington, and Wigan.

-

Rugby Union is more plodding, and utilizes scrums to restart the run of play {see this, ‘Playing rugby union’}.  Rugby League is faster and more wide-open {see this: ‘Rugby League’}. But Rugby League is the dominant game in just two areas of the world…in a swath of north-central England, and in Australia. 

Rugby League Code: Super League…

rugby-league_region-of-north-central-england.gif

Click on the following title for Super League XIV map:  rugby_super-league-xiv___.gif

The parts of northern England where Rugby League is the dominant code are in a band which stretches from Merseyside, through Cheshire, Greater Manchester, and east across the Pennine Chain to West Yorkshire, and the East Riding of Yorkshire, centered on Hull. 11 of the 14 current teams in Super League are from this Rugby League-intensive swath of England. In this swath there is 1 team from Merseyside, just east of Liverpool (St Helens); [Editors note ca. 2014: now 2 teams currently from Cheshire incl. the re-instated Widnes Vikings] 1 team from Cheshire (Warrington Wolves); 2 teams from Greater Manchester (Wigan Warriors and Salford City); 5 teams from West Yorkshire (Huddersfield Giants, Bradford Bulls, Leeds Rhinos, Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, and Castleford Tigers); and 2 teams from Kingston upon Hull (Hull FC, and Hull Kingston Rovers).

There is one other team in Super League from England: Harlequins RL, who are based in west London. Although it had separate origins, since 2005 Harlequins RL has been a branch of the Rugby Union/ Guinness Premiership team Harlequins FC. Harlequins field a team in both rugby codes (as do Super League team Leeds Rhinos, with their Rugby Union team being Leeds Carnegie). 

The other two teams in Super League XIV are the Celtic Crusaders of Bridgend, south Wales, who joined Super League in 2008; and Catalans Dragons, of Perpignon, France (in the Catalonian area of southern France), who joined in 2006. [Note: Celtic Crusaders are now defunct, having been wound up in Sept. 2011.]. Super League was formed with the intention of being Europe’s top league in the Rugby League code, but having one team outside of Great Britain is as far as the league has got in that direction. The French team was originally Paris Saint-Germain RL , but thar poorly supported club went under in 1997.

In 2005, Super League replaced promotion/relegation with Licensing {see this}. There is a brief description of Super League Licenses on the map, in the sidebar.  Super League features a February to September playing season, unlike the traditional late summer/ fall/ winter/ early spring rugby season. 

The highest drawing teams in Super League are Leeds Rhinos, who averaged 15,113 per game in 2008;  Hull FC (14,390 per game);  Wigan Warriors (14,149 per game); and St Helens (12,796 per game). As a whole, Super League XIII averaged 9,082 per game. Here is the list of attendances that I used {click here (FootballGroundGuide.com Message Board thread, posted by frequent contributor Stadiumitis?)}

Super League has a large play-off format, with 8 teams qualifying each season . This system has been in place since 1998 {see this}, and culminates each season in the Grand Final.

Only four teams have won Grand Final Titles…St Helens 4 times; Leeds Rhinos and Bradford Bulls 3 times; and Wigan Warriors once, in the first final in 1998.   Leeds Rhinos were 2008 champions.

For the full list of Rugby League Champions (1895-’96 to 2008), {click here}.

http://www.superleague.co.uk/

For the 2009 Super League table {click here}.

For new expanded Super League play-off structure {click here (Sky Sports broadcast report from March, 2009}.

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Rugby Union Code: Guinness Premiership…

Click on the following title for Guinness Premierhip 2009-10 map: rugby_guinness-premiership2009-10_1.gif

 The Guinness Premiership is strictly an English affair.  Its roots are in the English Rugby Football Union’s decision in the early 1970′s to finally sanction a knock-out cup (which is now known as the Anglo-Welsh Cup {see this}. The pro game in England had been held back by the organizers fear that ‘dirty play’ would ensue if leagues were organized within English Rugby Union. By the mid-1980′s , national merit tables came into being (this being the first time Rugby Union teams’ success was quantifiably measured). In 1987, the Courage Leagues were formed. This was a pyramid system involving 108 leagues and over 1,000 teams. In 1994, Sky Sports started broadcasting games. In 1996, professional status began with the debut of the Rugby Union Premiership. In 2002-03, the champion was now determined by the Playoffs winner, instead of first place in the final league table. That season the title went to London Wasps, while Bath was winner of the now-secondary league table. Those two teams, London Wasps and Bath Rugby, both have won 6 Premiership Titles, they are second only to Leicester Tigers  who boast of 8 Premiership titles. Leicester also draws very well,  averaging around 17,000 per game. The only other teams with titles are Newcastle Falcons and Sale Sharks, both with 1 championship season. Incidentally, Sale Sharks are the lone Rugby Union team in the Rugby League region of north-central England. Gloucester has won the league table 3 times. Reigning champions are Leicester Tigers.

The Guinness Premiership has relegation and promotion, with last place being sent down to the Guinness Championship (formerly National Division One). It is the only one of these 3 leagues that has promotion/relegation in the strict sense. Leeds Carnegie have been promoted for the 2009-10 Guinness Premiership,  upplanting the relegated Bristol Rugby. 

The Guinness Premiership draws the highest crowds of the 3 leagues, averaging 10,876 per game in the 2008-’09 season. Highest drawing teams in 2008-09 were Leicester Tigers (17,210 per game); Gloucester (14,215 per game); Northampton Saints (13,250 per game); Harlequins RFC (11,774 per game); and London Irish, of Reading (11,384 per game). Five teams drew between 9,100 and 10,600 per game…Bath Rugby; Worcester Warriors;  Saracens,of Watford; London Wasps, of Wycombe;  and Sale Sharks, of Stockport, Greater Manchester. 

Guinness Premiership 2009-2010 season starts 4th September,  fixtures {click here (Official site)}

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Rugby Union Code: Magners League…

Click on the following title for Magners League map: rugby_magners-league09-10.gif

The Magners League is the top flight rugby league of Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and Northern Ireland. Its roots are in the old Welsh Premier Division. In 1999, Scottish teams joined, and in 2001, Irish and Northern Irish teams joined,  inaugurating the Celtic League. After a shake-up in early 2003, involving the demise of some of the Welsh teams, it was decided that the Celtic League would become the sole professional league in Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland. [The Welsh Premier Division is now a developmental league, see this.]. In 2006, for sponsorship reasons, the Celtic League became known officially as the Magners League. 

Munster and Leinster have won the title twice; Ospreys, Llanelli, and Ulster have one title each. Munster Rugby are reigning champions. Munster also drew highest of all teams, not just in the Magners League, but versus teams from the other two leagues as well. Munster plays in two locations: in Cork, and in Limerick. They averaged 17,401 per game in 08/09. Leinster also drew well, second highest in the Magners League and fifth best overall, at 14,728. The next highest drawing Magners League team last season was Ulster, of Belfast, Northern Ireland, who drew 9,085 per game. Next in order came the four Welsh teams… Cardiff Blues (8,673 per game); Ospreys, of Swansea (8,405 per game); Scarlets, of Llanelli (7,293); and Newport Gwent Dragons (6,089). The 2 Scottish teams only drew in the 4,000-range; and the lowest drawing club of all was Connacht, of Galway, Ireland,  ho drew only 1,989 per game, lower than 10 teams in lower-division leagues. There is a Magners League sidebar at the lower left of the map.

Magners League 2009-2010 season starts 4th September,  fixtures {click here}.

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Lower Leagues

The highest drawing non-top-flight team in 08/9 was Exeter Chiefs, of National Division 1 (that league will be called the Guinness Championship in September 2009). Exeter drew 4,599 per game in 08/09, higher than 2 Super League and 2 Magners League teams. Next highest, at 4,006 per game, was Widnes Vikings, of Cheshire, a team in the second tier of Rugby League, which is called the Co-Operative Championship {see this map of the teams in the Co-operative Championship…again,  ote the concentration of teams in the Rugby League-oriented north of England} [note: Widnes Vikings joined Super League in 2012.].

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Thanks to Football Grounds Guide Message Board, and contributor ‘Stadiumitis?’  {click here}.   Football Grounds Guide home {click here}.  

Thanks to James at The Rugby Blog {click here}, for input and information.

Thanks to Steven Bond at Plover.net {‘Rugby League vs. Rugby Union’, click here}.  

Thanks to Suite101 site, and this thread {click here: ‘Rugby Union versus Rugby League’,  by Stuart Duncan}.  
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at Wikimedia  {click here for Super League XIV page;  click here for Guinness Premiership pageclick here for Magners League page}.

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