The first rugby union international match was played at Raeburn Place (Edinburgh) in 1871 between Scotland and England, and the Calcutta Cup was introduced in 1879. The spread of the game to the former dominions and some unlikely spots such as Romania allowed the introduction of World Cup competitions in the 1980s. Rugby league made little progress in southern England but spread to Australia, New Zealand, and France, allowing international ‘test’ competitions.
The two codes, amateur and professional, treated each other with disdain for many years and those union players who turned professional, often with marked success, were at once banned from the amateur game. But the advent of television and the growth of commercial values after the Second World War led to a gradual thaw. Rugby union introduced a league system, with promotion and relegation, expenses became ever more substantial, and the ban on players returning after playing rugby league was lifted in 1995. Full professionalism followed. In 1996, in two exhibition matches between the two codes, Wigan outplayed Bath 82–6 at Maine Road (Manchester) in the league game; at Twickenham, in the return match under union rules, Bath won 44–19.
Nicholas J. Bryars
"rugby football." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 23, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/rugby-football
"rugby football." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved May 23, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/rugby-football
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