We have taken a look back at the different countries in which Super League has been played in over the years…
The birthplace of Rugby League was in Huddersfield and the sport we all love has been played in England since League separated from Union back in 1895.
It has hosted many fantastic matches over the years and the introduction of Super League in 1996 took the game to a whole new level. We regularly see amazing spectacles in World Club Challenges, Super League Grand Finals at Old Trafford and the Challenge Cup Finals at Wembley.
We all relate Catalans Dragons to French Rugby League and Super League nowadays but that wasn’t the case one day. Paris Saint-Germain were part of Super League’s inaugural season 22 years ago and started off a good foot with a decent number of fans but off-field issues riddled the club into the ground. They no longer existed after the 1998 campaign.
However, a French team re-entered Super league in 2006 under the name of Catalans Dragons. They have been here ever since and are a great story of expansion in Rugby League and have made it work, with the club regularly gaining over 8,000 fans at the Stade Gilbert Brutus.
Super League has also had a Super League team as well but only for three seasons. Crusaders were introduced into the top-flight ahead of the 2009 season and spent a couple of years in in the top division but they went into administration in 2011 and that was their last season in Super League.
As a result, North Wales Crusaders were founded in 2011 and compete in League 1 alongside West Wales Raiders. Foundations are still to grow organically in Wales now rather than throwing money at a risk.
Furthermore, Magic Weekend was also taken to Wales in 2011, with every top-flight club facing off at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Crusaders won 42-12 against the then Salford City Reds that day.
Unlike France and Wales, Scotland have never had a club competing in Super League but the Magic Weekend was taken there in 2009 and 2010. The games were hosted at the Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh both times. Nearly 60,000 fans attended in 2009 while just over 52,000 went the year after.
Former Scotland coach Steve McCormack has done a fantastic job coaching the Bravehearts over the years on a very limited budget. Also, funding has been reduced to Scotland Rugby League in recent years but hopefully we can see Super League back in Scotland one day.
Some people forget, or don’t even know, that a Super League has been played in Spain before. In June 2009, the first ever Super League game was played at the Olympic Stadium in Barcelona in front of a very impressive 18,500 crowd. Catalans Dragons fell short to Warrington Wolves 24-12 and it boosted interest in Rugby League in the Catalonia area.
Tony Smith, Warrington coach at the time, said: “It’s been a great experience and great for Rugby League to have that carnival atmosphere in the city. If we’re asked to come again we’ll put our hand up.”
Unfortunately, a Super League game hasn’t been played there since.
And least but certainly not least is Australia. The NRL is regarded as the best competition in world Rugby League and there have been some great World Club Challenge clashes over the years.
But Wigan Warriors and Hull FC made history this year when the first Super League game was played outside of Europe. Wigan beat Hull FC 24-10 at the WIN Stadium on Saturday, February 10.
There were over 12,416 in attendance to watch the history makers in Wollongong. Around 5,000 fans from Wigan and Hull made the trip over to Illawarra, meaning 7,000 locals witnessed the spectacle.
Wigan and Hull FC will also face South Sydney Rabbitohs and St George Illawarra Dragons respectively in a double-header at the ANZ Stadium Saturday, February 17.
What country would you like to see Super League be played next? Let us know in the comments below.