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GO Rugby in Leeds

Rugby in Leeds Leeds is a rugby league heartland. In these Super League days - a world of Rhinos, Bulls and Wolves - the history of the game has become shrouded in fog, at best a dim and distant memory and a mere footnote in a match day programme.
 
But in 1895 Leeds were at the forefront of the formation of the Northern Union, which became the Rugby Football League. If that breakaway
from Rugby Union hadn't taken place, today's Super League would never have existed.
 
The history of rugby in Leeds can be traced back to 1864. An advert placed in the Leeds Mercury attracted the attention of 500 players and subsequently several teams - including Leeds St Johns - were formed. St Johns moved to the new Headingley sports facility for the 1890-91
season, playing as the football section of the Leeds Cricket, Football
and Athletic Co Ltd.
 
Leeds rapidly progressed to become one of the stalwart sides of the league, rising to the forefront in the Golden Thirties with the likes of Jeff Moores, Eric Harris and a fourth Challenge Cup win over Warrington at the then new Wembley Stadium in 1936.
 
The halcyon days of the 1970s were made possible through the efforts of home grown talent developed by Roy Francis and Syd Hynes.
 
A barren decade followed before coach Doug Laughton was appointed in 1991.
 
Laughton attracted big names to the side, such as Ellery Hanley, introduced an impressive youth policy and restored faith and passion to the team. However, Leeds had hit a low by the time summer rugby and the inaugural Super League changed the game forever.
 
After overcoming the threat of going out of business, the team was reborn as the Rhinos for Super League II. The appointment of Aussie head coach Graham Murray allowed the club to regroup in time to reach the Challenge Cup for the swansong of Wembley in 1999, where they played with all the passion of a club with a fine pedigree to take a 52-16 win over London Broncos.
 
There have been many highs and lows over the years and that story looks set to continue for years to come. Former player Daryl Powell was appointed First Team Coach in 2001.

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