Rugby League: That’s The Way It Was. The History of Rugby League in France (Part 1).

Episode 4: The History of Rugby League in France (Part 1).

If someone told you that France once dominated international rugby league, you would probably laugh.

But for more than a decade after World War II, France did dominate international rugby league. But there were some dark forces at play, which attacked the foundations of the game – eventually leading to a massive decline.

Can Rugby League be restored to its former glory in France?

Mike Rylance has written some fantastic books on the history of Rugby League in France, including “The Forbidden Game” and “The Struggle and The Daring” and he joins Rugby League: That’s The Way It Was” to help answer some of these questions.

1934/35 French Championship            

Villeneuve   18            49
Bordeaux     18 42
Roanne 16 40
Pau  1634
XIII Catalan 1733
Albi    1726
Paris                        16 25
Cote’ Basque 1521
Beziers’ 1315

* 3 points awarded for a win – 2 for a draw – 1 point for a loss
* Some clubs were unable to fulfil their fixture list because of problems with the availability of grounds.

1951 Third Test Australia Vs France
(courtesy of

France beats Australia to win the three Test Series

1954 World Cup France Vs Great Britain
(courtesy of

Great Britain beats France in the 1954 World Cup Final.

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