An Introduction to New Zealand Rugby League
New Zealand Rugby League shirt is a quality vintage shirt produced by Ellis Rugby. Albert Henry Baskerville from Wellington, New Zealand had the idea for a professional rugby tour to the UK. Baskerville recruited a significant number of international All Black players from the 1905’s tour. One of these players George Smith who as well as playing for the All Blacks, was a sportsman who also excelled at track and field.
In 1907, the team left New Zealand and played New South Wales in Sydney, Australia their first match in Sydney. The game became a huge success and the Australians took to Rugby League quickly. They formed their own organisation – New South Wales Rugby League. The tourists also managed to recruit Australian star player Dally Messenger for the tour of Wales and England.
The party had a stop-over in Ceylon and landed in England on 30th September 1907. They played a total of 35 matches in England and Wales. Including three Tests against England and a Test match against Wales. They then flew on to Australia and played a further ten games, including three Test matches against Australia. The tour established the game of rugby league in both Australia and New Zealand.
On the 13th June 1908, the first game of rugby league played on New Zealand soil. The League played as a benefit match for Baskerville’s widowed mother. A crowd of nearly 7,000 saw a drawn exhibition game in Wellington.
Despite a few difficulties with the New Zealand Rugby Union, Rugby League game began to take root in the country. Auckland, Taranaki, Rotorua, Nelson, Southland, Wanganui, Marlborough, Invercargill, Hawke’s Bay, and South Auckland had all formed clubs by 1910.
The Rugby League headquarters formed a year before and Auckland Rugby League became the first to start a regular competition. The Auckland League had a full season in 1912, with its headquarters at Eden Park. That same year saw the formation of Wellington’s local rugby league Tournament also.
Also in 1910 Great Britain Rugby League Lions tour of Australia and New Zealand saw the Kiwis’ first ever test on home soil, with the Lions side proving too strong. A year later the New Zealand team toured Australia.
1920 became a highlight for the Kiwis with two matches against the touring British Lions rugby league. Lions team drew 40,000 fans each in Auckland stadium.
It was in 1938, for a tour of Australia, the New Zealand team officially adopted the name the “New Zealand Kiwis”. They also changed their jerseys from a plain black top to wear a white “V” on their jerseys.
II the late 40s, early 50s the New Zealand League Kiwis developed arguably one of their best ever teams. The remained unbeaten in any test series from 1948 to 1951 and won six of their nine test matches.
In the inaugural 1957 Rugby League World Cup – New Zealand competed alongside Australia and France. The competed despite defeating the hosts France failed to make the final.
During the 1961-63 era, New Zealand won seven out of ten test matches, including a 2-0 series win over Great Britain in 1962, then considered the top rugby league nation in the world.
The most outstanding performance was their record-breaking 19-0 win over Britain at Carlaw Park. It was only the second time a British team had been held scoreless.
Inspired by the former great New Zealand Rugby League teams.
Rugby League Cares
With every sale, Rugby League Cares receives a donation as a charity. The donation helps players transition out of sports. Also, it supports players past and present who are enduring poor health or hardship.
Manufactured by Ellis Rugby from satin touch 100% cotton, the Shirt features detailed embroidery on the crest. Other features include herringbone finish on the vents and velvet tape on the neck opening.
As well as the Vintage New Zealand Rugby League Shirt, we also off a Vintage New Zealand Rugby League Polo Shirt and a Vintage NZ Rugby League T-Shirt.