FAR & WIDE: Number 25

Far & WideBy STEVE MASCORD

THERE was a big moment for our game in France last week when the national sports newspaper L’Equipe ran an expose on the Vichy government’s collusion with rugby union in the Second World War.

As most league fans should know, all of rugby league’s assets were seized and the sport was banned by the Nazi-backed administration.

L’Equipe rarely even covers rugby league and the article – with fantastic photographs from the era and a newspaper clipping featuring the headline “rugby league is dead” in the story – which featured on the cover of a supplement – will have done much to raise awareness of the issue.

However, the French government – while acknowledging the injustice – has so far baulked at any reparations. League in France has not really recovered from the setback.

Rugby union is so powerful in France that until 1991, league was formally banned from using the word “rugby” to describe itself.

To illustrate how deeply this runs, Catalan Dragons play at Gilbert Brutus Stadium – named after a resistance fighter tortured to death by the Gestapo in 1944.

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CAN you rewrite the chorus of “We Didn’t Start The Fire” to take in West Australian Rugby League identities?
“MG, Dale Fritz, Matty Rodwell, Brett Goldspink – We didn’t start the fire…”

Here’s our exclusive photo of Billy Joel signing on as the West Coast Pirates number one US ticket holder, when Pirates official and music industry identity John Sackson recently met him in Sydney.

By the way, the Pirates have shelved plans to apply for a spot in Super League while they wait for admission to the NRL. Shame.

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GERMANY and the Netherlands have played their very first international, in Heidelberg.

A very young German team prevailed 28-22. Rugby League Deutschland vice president Uwe Jansen said: “We hope to make this game an annual tradition. We will visit the Netherlands next year, and defend the trophy the Netherlands team brought with them, called the Griffin Cup.“

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GREAT to see two members of the Wallaroos on The Game Plan TV show last Thursday.

Women’s rugby league is being restarted in Italy, with a selection trial to take place next month for an international tournament in Paris several weeks later.

A womens’ World Cup will be held in conjunction with the mens’ competition in Europe later this year.

@RLWfarandwide

Filed for: RUGBY LEAGUE WEEK

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