War of Roses: Yorkshire v Lancashire return idea discussed by pundits

Drew Darbyshire
Kris Radlinski Lancashire v Yorkshire War of Roses PA

Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Archive/PA Images

The War of the Roses Origin-type format between Yorkshire and Lancashire would benefit England on the international stage.

That’s according to rugby league pundits Kevin Brown and Jamie Jones-Buchanan, who have called on the powers that be to think about re-introducing the concept.

Aside from the inaugural Women’s War of the Roses in 2015, we haven’t seen the game take place since 2003. 

The history dates back to 1895, with Yorkshire claiming the victory in the first-ever clash with an 8-0 score in Oldham.

The fixture was revived in 2001 under the name of the County of Origin series, inspired by Australia’s State of Origin between Queensland and New South Wales.

However, falling attendances saw the fixture scrapped just two years later. 

But speaking on this week’s BBC 5 Live Rugby League Podcast, former England and Leeds forward Jamie Jones-Buchanan said he would love to see the concept revived.

“I’ve always been a big fan of the Origin, the Yorkshire-Lancashire stuff, but nobody has ever grabbed it or persisted with it,” the proud Yorkshireman told podcast host Dave Woods.

Brown agreed with Jones-Buchanan, saying he would have loved to have represented Lancashire during his playing days.

“I would absolutely love to watch Lancashire-Yorkshire,” Brown said.

“I would’ve loved to have played in it, I just missed it with my age.

“If we did it proper and stuck at it and gave it a little bit of time it would be massive.”

Would England benefit from having War of the Roses?

England coach Shaun Wane last week announced a 40-man squad ahead of their mid-season test against France later this month.

Brown tossed up the idea of splitting that 40-man squad up in to Lancashire and Yorkshire representative teams to determine who would make the final England squad for the French test.

“How good would it be if they split that up in to two and we did a Lancashire v Yorkshire?” Brown said.

“Let them play it out and then play a test match.

“That gives Shaun Wane a look, it gives recognition to the players.

“All these players on here (in Wane’s 40-man squad) are playing great by the way, but I’m not sure they are playing better than some that are older and that was my point but if you could play a game were it is the best against the best, and then if you play well in that you get a chance against France.

“And if you play well against France, you might play against Tonga in the series at the end of the year, and then we are building something and we’ve got a calendar that we could look forward to.”

Click here to listen to the full BBC 5 Live Rugby League Podcast, featuring Kevin Brown and Jamie Jones-Buchanan

Jamie Jones-Buchanan delivers passionate plea for War of the Roses revival

A possible Lancashire-Yorkshire revival was mentioned in early presentations by IMG, and was included as a question in their early consultation with fans, but talk has since gone quiet on the concept.

Jones-Buchanan gave a ringing endorsement for the rivalry to be reignited in rugby league.

He said on the podcast: “We’ve just had Rivals Round and record-breaking crowds that got behind it… It’s all about the narrative, nothing was different, the teams weren’t different, it’s all about the stories.

“I completely agree with what Kev is saying. If you have mate against mate and just skin it in Yorkshire and Lancashire which is a real thing by the way, it’s historical, it existed.

“We don’t have to get our minds in a twist talking about geographical locations where people were born, you just need to stick your banners to the mast and say ‘this is where I’m at’. If you were born in London, someone like Kai Pearce-Paul, if you play at Wigan, then play for Lancashire and just crack on. It’s all about alliances and allegiances.

“Once we’ve got it, we’ve got the story, so let’s get it going and in time people will buy into it. But there’s not enough consistency and persistence around what we do and that’s why, for me, it has never taken off.”

Would you like to see the War of the Roses return or let it stay a thing of the past? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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