In 1823 during a game of Football at Rugby School, the game of Rugby Union was created by William Webb Ellis as he reputedly caught and ran with the ball towards the goal. The rules of the sport were later developed in 1845. The sport of Rugby Union does not yet enjoy the fame of its League counterpart in Yorkshire but the union’s traditions of providing great entertainment and strong competition are long and proud.
Although usually the game is played fielding 15-a-side, the game is played in other variations such as sevens and tens; these fast exhilarating games are the perfect spectator sports involving a heavy amount of tactics and speed within the teams.
International Rugby Union fixtures are televised on the BBC such as the Six Nations, the World Cup and autumn fixtures. However if you fancy enjoying the thrilling competition of the English Championship where Yorkshire Carnegie, Rotherham Titans and Doncaster Knights perform – enjoy it live here in Yorkshire.
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Leeds RUFC was founded in 1991 after the merger of Roundhay and Headingley. They were renamed Leeds Tykes in 1998, then became Leeds Carnegie in 2007 and in 2014 launched as Yorkshire Carnegie. On 9th July 2014 following support from the Yorkshire RFU and approval from the RFU, Sir Ian McGeechan revealed plans to create Yorkshire Carnegie from the start point of Leeds Carnegie and put in place the foundations to create a sustainable and successful club for the county at the elite level of the game.
Following the Championship-winning campaign of 2006-07, it was announced that Leeds Beckett University had entered into a joint venture with the club and taken a majority stake in Leeds Tykes, with the club renamed Leeds Carnegie for their return to the Premiership Rugby competition. The change of ownership was seen as a ground breaking arrangement in British sport with an educational institution taking over ownership of a professional sporting organisation.
In May 2009 it was announced that, following their promotion back to the Premiership Rugby competition that the club was re-structuring with Leeds Rugby taking control of the club once again. In order to attract further financial support for the club, Leeds Beckett returned its 51% stake in the club to Leeds Rugby and agreed a revised strategic partnership arrangement, which included sponsorship.
The name Carnegie comes from the Scottish entrepreneur and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie whose Carnegie Trust funded the establishment of a PE teaching training college in the 1930s. Carnegie College is now the Carnegie Faculty of Sport and Education within Leeds Metropolitan University.
Rotherham Titans, also contenders for the RFU Championship alongside their biggest Yorkshire rivals Leeds Carnegie, call Clifton Lane their home. The team was formed in 1923 and this team, known commonly as just “The Titans”, play in maroon, blue and white.
In 2000 the Titans were the first of Yorkshires rugby union teams to win promotion into the top tier of English Rugby, just beating the Leeds promotion by one year.
Rotherham haven’t been in their best form as of late but as this season is looking interesting for them, could we see a promotion in the horizon? Let’s hope so!
Doncaster RFC has been around since 1875 and has been known as the Doncaster Knights since 2006. They are known for being the most promoted club in English rugby union history.
Currently in the National League One, Doncaster have performed their best in the Championship alongside big time South Yorkshire rivals Rotherham and also Yorkshire rivals, Leeds. The Knights were relegated in the 2012-13 season back to League One after an 8 year stint in the Championship.
In recent years Doncaster received a £1.8m national lottery grant for the construction of 3 new rugby pitches at their home at Castle Park, along with the current standing state of the art clubhouse which opened in 2000.
The Knights are a fascinating team to watch and with only one season out of the championship, they will be fighting to get the promotion they so desire to re-join fellow Yorkshire contenders.
The picturesque village of Threshfield is home to the National Division One side Wharfedale. Putting them in the top 40 teams in the country, this is not bad for a team from a small Dales village! The success of this small side is in no small part down to the president of the club for the past 30 years, former British Lion and England Captain, John Spencer.
The Threshfield ground holds up to 2,000 supporters and in such a small village the atmosphere can really come alive.
Hull Ionians are the result of a merger with Hull and East Riding RUFC and Ionians RUFC in the spring of 1989. Hull Ionians compete in the National Division One league with Doncaster and Wharfedale, playing at their home ground of Brantingham Park that opened in 1995.
Promoted in the 2012-2013 season to the National Division One Hull have reached a personal high in the sport being the first East Yorkshire Club to reach Division One.