Rugby in Liverpool
may be surprised to learn that rugby has been played in
Liverpool for a lot longer than football, with one of
the world’s first clubs being formed in the city
The sport continues to draw in the crowds despite tough
competition from the football world, and fans are undoubtedly
spoilt for choice with the top class league and union
clubs on their doorsteps.
For rugby league fans there are four major clubs very
close to Liverpool, which have each produced some top
players and have helped secure the region’s place
as a premier location for rugby league.
Founded in 1873, St Helens is the most successful
club of the Super League era, winning the inaugural 1996
title, as well as the Grand Finals of 1999 and 2000. In
2001 they won the Challenge Cup and World Club
Challenge, while in 2002 they finished top of the
Super League, and secured their third Grand Final victory.
The club is based at Knowsley Road Stadium [map] in St Helens and is a regular haunt for many Liverpudlian
Just a 20-minute drive from Liverpool city centre you’ll
find the Wigan Warriors, who can claim to be the
most successful rugby club in history with 17 League titles,
16 Challenge Cup wins and three World Club Championship
wins. Since the Super League began in 1996 the club, which
is based at the famous JJB Stadium [map] in Wigan, have consistently challenged for the title,
winning the Grand Final in 1998.
Another Super League club on the outskirts of Liverpool
is the Widnes Vikings, who have won seven Challenge
Cups and three Championships along with being crowned
European and World Club Champions in 1989. They
play at the Halton Stadium [map] in Widnes.
With six Challenge Cups and three Championships under
their belt the Warrington Wolves is another of
the elite rugby league clubs, who play at Wilderspool
Stadium [map] in Warrington.
Liverpool’s new kid on the block is the Liverpool
Buccaneers, which formed in 2002 as part of the Rugby
League's expansion plans. They play in the Rugby League
Conference North West Division and home games are
played at Sefton RUFC [map] in West Derby, Liverpool.
For rugby union fans there is just as much choice and
a lot of talent to see, with Merseyside’s rugby
union clubs producing some top England players, including Austin Healey, Kyran Bracken and Ben Johnston.
Situated 15 miles from Liverpool city centre is Orrell
RUFC, which has close links with Wigan Warriors RLFC
and competes in National Division One. Home games are
played at its Edge Hall Road [map] base.
Formed in 1882, and based a few miles north of Liverpool, Waterloo RUFC helped to develop the talents of
Healey, Bracken, and Johnston – some of whom started
with junior clubs on Merseyside. All have now moved on
to other teams around the country leaving Waterloo RUFC
in National League Three North in 2002.
Liverpool’s historic rugby union club, formed in
1857, moved out of the city when it merged with St Helens
in the 1980s to become Liverpool St Helens.
The team plays in National League Three North and is based
at Moss Lane in St Helens.
Two other rugby union teams worth watching if you have
chance are New Brighton, based at Reeds Lane
[map] on the Wirral and Birkenhead Park, who play
at Park Road North in Birkenhead. New Brighton
play in the National League Three North while Birkenhead
Park play in the league below, known as North One.