Rugby League Shirts – Their History and Design

Rugby League Shirts have changed greatly since the sport was first introduced in 1895. In the past full sleeve shirts were worn made of cotton which became very heavy when wet and were traditionally designed with a v shape or printing on them to distinguish them from their Rugby Union counterparts.

Today Rugby League Shirts are made of synthetic materials such as polyester. This makes them far lighter, and less absorbent meaning they will not become heavy when wet. Rugby League shirts today are also very tight fitting and slippery due to their synthetic material. This is to make them less easy to grab making it easier for players to break tackles.

Rugby League is often considered to be more of a working class sport. Played in over 30 countries it is only played professionally in the UK, France, Australia and New Zealand. This is somewhat ironic as although other countries have the sport at a semi-professional level the sport is routed in it’s allowance of the professional game.

After the first divergence of football codes the Rugby Football Union was formed. This organization had a very strong amateur policy not allowing players to be compensated for time off work while playing or training and also disallowing entrance fees to matches being charged.

This lead to the Northern Rugby Football Union being formed as many of the teams in the North were made up of working class people who couldn’t afford to take time off of work to play. Later the Northern Rugby Football League was formed with play rules being a modification of the Northern Rugby Football League’s.

In summary the Rugby League shirts of today are as different to their historical counterparts as the game is.