Nigel Wood: We Should Never Have Let Union Call Itself ‘Rugby’


RUGBY league’s most senior official says the sport made a grave mistake by surrendering the word “rugby” to the 15 man game.

While in Australia “rugby” almost always means rugby union, it is still used to describe both sports in England, where the split in codes was along geographical grounds and the rules were identical for the best part of a decade from 1895.

Nigel Wood, the chairman of the Rugby League International Federation, says he’s dismayed that international rugby union has now rebranded itself “world rugby”.

“I think our sport gave up the title of ‘rugby’ too cheaply long ago,” said Wood, also the Rugby Football League chief executive, in the current edition of Rugby League Week.

amazon“This (rugby league) is a sport where the first Rugby World Cup took place in 1954.

“Just to concede that ground some time ago was a tactical mistake. Do I think that there’s much that the sport can do about it now? Probably not. But I think it’s a disappointment.”

The RLIF recently appointed David Collier OBE as its new chief executive.

Wearing his RFL hat, Wood recently announced an ambitions set of goals for the sport in England – including winning the 2017 World Cup in Australia.

In our interview with Wood on page 36 he admits having held talks with the Australian rugby union over a hybrid match at Wembley – but insists it was never a serious plan.



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