To further celebrate 150 years of rugby in Leeds, Leeds Rugby Foundation last week joined forces with The Rugby Football League to host a unique lunch before a hugely successful Rugby League play was staged at Headingley Carnegie Stadium.
First up was a lunch package which consisted of a ticket to the Student RL Reunion Lunch to celebrate the birth of student Rugby League at Leeds University in 1969 as well as the Varsity match for the Cec Thompson Cup, a tour of Headingley Carnegie Stadium and a match ticket to Leeds Rhinos First Utility Super League encounter against Wigan Warriors.
The Student Rugby League Reunion Lunch was held at Headingley Carnegie Stadium on Friday and provided an opportunity for former student Rugby League players and teams to come together once again. Former Leeds University student and duel-code international legend Ray French was the guest speaker.
Then on Saturday LRF teamed up with Red Ladder Theatre Company who presented "Playing the Joker" - a highly acclaimed short play by award winning author Anthony Clavane about Eddie Waring, Rugby League and Yorkshire. The play which took place on Saturday 3rd May at Headingley Carnegie Stadium was full of songs, dance and gripping drama!
Gary Hetherington, Trustee of Leeds Rugby Foundation commented on the success of the two events: ?"The reunion lunch went down really well and the quality of the Varsity match was exceptional and played in front of a big and appreciative crowd! The feedback I had was that many of the students who came enjoyed their experience and those who stayed for the Rhinos v Wigan clash were treated to a good game and an excellent result for the Rhinos! Thanks to Ray French for his time, the RFL and both universities for making the lunch a memorable one."
"That night was followed by another hugely successful night which saw Red Ladder Theatre Company perform a fantastic play. I must pay thanks to Chris at Red Ladder for his efforts as well as the cast."
Leeds Rugby Foundation now look ahead to the 150th Anniversary celebration at John Charles Stadium which will celebrate the 150th birthday of sponsors A. Taylor and Son; the first rugby game played in Leeds in 1864 and the city's biggest-ever sporting event - the 1938 Championship Final at Elland Road between Hunslet and Leeds.
Leeds Rhinos Head Coach Brian McDermott praised his players after they responded to a second half blitz from Catalans Dragons to fightback and secure the win that takes them top of the First Utility Super League.
Rhinos forward Stevie Ward admitted the Rhinos back to back wins over Wigan and Catalans have provided the team with a perfect springboard to go into the two derby games over Easter against Castleford and Wakefield.