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MY ALL TIME FAVOURITE INTERNATIONAL RUGBY LEAGUE JERSEYS

by Chasing Roos | | | 0 Comments

Part 1 - Written by Phillip Browne 

  

There have been some amazing and iconic International Rugby League jerseys throughout history and we wanted to find out which are some of the all-time favourites. So we asked thirteen of the world’s most tragic International Rugby League pundits about what they thought. Here are their answers!   

 

ANDREW VOSS (@AndrewVossy) is an Australian Rugby League commentator with Fox League. He is also the host of the popular radio program, Breakfast with Vossy on SEN. He has previously worked as a commentator for Sky, Channel 9 and has covered numerous International Rugby League matches, including World Cups.

Number 3

"The French national jersey… I suppose you can go with the version worn at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, as that is the first time I purchased one. And what’s more, it was my first night of experiencing Rugby League in France. The location was Avignon for the Kiwis battle with the locals.

I would love the glory days to return for French Rugby League… I love seeing players lined up ready to sing La Marseillaise… and spot the tears!"

 

 French RL 2013 world cup

 

Number 2 

 

"The USA Tomahawks. I would proudly wear the stars and stripes of the USA simply as a Rugby League fashion statement. Make it a version from the World Rugby League Sevens in Sydney from the mid 1990s. The motley crew who came to Australia to compete will forever have my respect. Who was that garbo? Bobby Bruhl? Was that his name? Where is he now?" 

 

 

Number 1

 

"The sky blue and maroon of the Australian Kangaroos, as worn in the 2008 Centenary test. I love the jersey and I love the history behind it. That night I think all Rugby League fans got a history lesson as the Kangaroos played the Kiwis.


I really am a fan of the basic design… No need for elaborate designs. I also remember the night so well, as I was at the ground when the news came through of Jack Gibson passing away."





PROFESSOR MEGAN DAVIS (BA LLB GDLP LLM PHD) is an Aboriginal Australian activist and human rights lawyer. She was the first Indigenous Australian to sit on a United Nations body and was Chair of a UN permanent forum. Davis is a Professor of Law at the University of New South Wales and is a current Commissioner on the Australian Rugby League Commission.

 

Number 3

 

"The Papua New Guinea Kumuls jersey of 2017. I joined the Australian Rugby League Commission in 2017 and I was fortunate to experience the Rugby League World Cup from Papua New Guinea to Far North Queensland to Sydney. Papua New Guinea is a great Rugby League country. I flew to Port Moresby to watch the Kumuls play in the new stadium and it was a thrilling experience. The PNG jersey is iconic with the Kumuls motif and its colours evoke the vibrancy of PNG’s many cultures and biodiversity."

 

 

Number 2

 

"The New Zealand Kiwis (Aotearoa) jersey of 2002. Growing up like most Aboriginal kids, we cheered for the West Indies in Cricket and the All Blacks in Rugby Union. Although we followed the Kangaroos (after all, the great Artie Beetson was the first Aboriginal captain of any Australian national team), we did love the Kiwis and the Haka! I was a huge fan of Stacey Jones growing up and this was Jones at the height of his career. I followed the Kiwis closely when Jones played for them. The New Zealand jersey is always formidable with its iconic black and white."

 

Stacey Jones 2002 New Zealand Kiwis

 

Number 1


"The Australian Kangaroos jersey of 1990. I remember getting up for each test early in the morning with my siblings in Eagleby in South-East Queensland. And like most Rugby League kids of the 90s, I remember the second test against the British Lions and Ricky Stuart’s break and Mal Meningas’s try. Who doesn’t love the green and gold of the Kangaroos?"


Australian Kangaroo Tour 1990

MIKE MEEHALL WOOD (@MikeMeehallWood) has been a Rugby League journalist in both the UK and Australia. He is currently a journalist with Forbes as the NRL Outsider. He has loved the International game ever since seeing a Moldovan kick goals around corners at the 1995 Emerging Nations World Cup and he has been wearing the same Tri Nations 2004 beanie since he bought it as a teenager.

 

Number 3

 

The Great Britain 1997 Super League jersey. The Super League tests were weird, but being eight and not knowing quite what was going on, they seemed great. Elland Road was so full for the Third Test that we parked the car at the side of the motorway and walked in. I know it wasn’t a great time for Rugby League but that was probably the earliest Great Britain memory that I have.

 

Great Britain Super League Jersey 1997 Mike Mehall Wood

 

Number 2

 

The Wales jersey at the 1995 Rugby League World Cup. I had one of these jerseys as a kid, despite not being Welsh. I played in it until it came apart at the seams. That era was a great one for Wales, and I have such strong memories of the 95 team that got to the Semi Finals and the 2000 game where they nearly beat Australia.

 

Wales Rugby League World Cup 1995 Mike Mehall Wood

 

Number 1

 

The Ireland jersey at the 2000 Rugby League World Cup. This is my favourite jersey that I own. My Dad bought them for me and my brother ahead of the Quarter Final at Headingley. We stood outside the players’ entrance and got them signed by the whole team, including Barrie McDermott, Jimmy Lowes and Luke Ricketson. I was 11 then, but it still fit me when I went to Uni at 18. I still have it in a drawer at my Mum’s gaff.

 

Ireland Rugby League World Cup Jersey 1995

 

BRIAN JULIFF (@BrianJuliff) is a former Welsh Rugby League and Rugby Union International in the 70s and 80s. He also spent time playing professional Rugby League at Widnes, Wakefield Trinity, Halifax and Castleford. In 2012, Brian was appointed the Chairman of Wales Rugby League.

 

Number 3

 

My third choice is the England jersey from 1985. I swapped my Welsh jersey for this England jersey with Keith Rayne who was a teammate at Wakefield Trinity.

It wasn’t a good memory playing wise, as I broke my right arm in the first few minutes and continued to play on for half and hour before being forced to withdraw.

 

Number 2

 

The Welsh 1982 jersey is my favourite Welsh jersey. I wore it in a pretty tough encounter against Australia in Cardiff. We were well beaten 7-37 against the team that became know as, “The Invincibles” as Australia went on to complete an undefeated tour; though we thought we were in with a chance at 2-19 at half time.


I went on to play in the second row against Australia at Wigan where we almost pulled off a surprise result but narrowly lost 9-13.

 

Number 1


I’d have to go with the French jerseys of the 70s because it brings back many memories of the battles Wales faced against France and because they were quite authentic in style. I played on both wings and in the second row in subsequent games against France.


We were always, “in the game” during these fixtures though France always managed to pull off the result to our frustration. Back in the day there was very little between England, France and Wales if you look at the results.


I swapped a Welsh jersey for a French jersey with old friend, Carlos Zalduendo after a test in Narbonne. He later went on to become the President of the French Rugby League.

 

DANE CAMPBELL is a former NRL player with the Newcastle Knights. He is currently the Recruitment Manager at the North Queensland Cowboys, after spending some time at the Melbourne Storm in Recruitment. He was also the founder of the West Indies Rugby League and the Vanuatu Rugby League.

 

Number 3

 

The Tonga 2017 Rugby League World Cup jersey. I really like the simplicity yet vibrant nature of this jersey, but above the design, when I see this jersey it conjures up memories of the crowds that converged to watch the Tongan team at the World Cup and the incredible scenes that followed.


The jersey also represents the time where developing nations stood up and legitimately contested the big three nations of Australia, New Zealand and England. To many International Rugby League fans, like myself, this jersey could be seen as a symbol of hope for all of us that are involved in developing nations and what is possible and also why we do what we do, which is to connect people to this great game of ours. 

 

Tonga 2017 Rugby League World Cup jersey

 

Number 2

 

The Vanuatu 2012 jersey. Again, another special jersey for me personally as this was the first International jersey that Vanuatu played in on home soil, which was against Greece.

The design of the jersey was done in consultation with local designers where the side panelling incorporated traditional patterning and the colours of the jersey represented the colours of the Vanuatu national flag.

The jersey is a reminder for me about the work that went into getting the venture off the ground and then also the excitement that was at the ground on the day amongst the players and fans.

 

Vanuatu Rugby League 2012 jersey

 

Number 1

 

The West Indies 2004 jersey. This jersey is special to me in the sense that it was my first foray into attempting to play a hands on role to assist the growth of International Rugby League.

The West Indies Rugby League Federation was established to provide opportunities for players based in the UK of West Indian / Caribbean heritage, to represent their heritage and the jersey was worn in a number of 9s tournaments and featured players with heritage from Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago and Grenada.

Seeing the jersey reminds me of all the wonderful pioneers that committed themselves to making this team a reality and hence which ultimately led to the formation of the Jamaican Rugby League.

 

 

West Indies Rugby League 2004 jersey

 

CRAIG NORENBERGS (@CraigNorenbergs) is a much-travelled veteran Australian journalist and producer. He is currently living in New Zealand and working for Sky Sport, including producing the popular, “Warriors TV” program. It means the massive Canberra Raiders supporter has a soft spot for New Zealand Rugby League.  

 

Number 3

 

The USA Tomahawks 2013 Rugby League World Cup jersey. Not just a fairy tale run to the Quarter Finals, but a nice red, white and blue jersey. Stars over the sleeves and shoulders, stripes down the sides. I had a mate who wore one to a party in Chicago, and he was the centre of attention!

 

USA Tomahawks 2013 Rugby League World Cup jersey

 

Number 2

 

Any France jersey. Another red, white and blue classic, but a beauty! Puig Aubert and the great French teams of the 50s and 60s wore it best, but even the shiny modern shirts look great.

 

 

Number 1

The Australian Kangaroos 1986 jersey. Classic team, classic jersey! Lewis, Sterling, Kenny, Meninga and co in an age-old classic, but with numbers on their sleeves. Just before sponsors were common on jerseys.



Australian Kangaroos 1986

 

 

JASON COSTIGAN (@CostoJason) is a Rugby League commentator and former Member of Parliament in the Queensland Legislative Assembly and leader for the North Queensland First party. Jason started commentating in North Queensland in the late 80s and then later joined New Zealand’s Sky network as their main NRL commentator until 2010. He’s also worked as media manager for the Canterbury Bulldogs and the Bradford Bulls.

 

Number 3

 

The USA Tomahawks 1993 jersey. This jersey was used at the 1993 World Sevens at the Sydney Football Stadium. I think I just loved the stars and stripes. Besides, it was just six years after State of Origin had been played in California and there was some expectation that Rugby League might take off in the USA but sadly, there was no follow up and here we are, a generation down the track, still trying to figure it out…

 

USA Tomahawks 1993 jersey

 

Number 2

 

The Australian Kangaroos 2008 jersey. This one off jersey was seen in the Centenary Test on the hallowed turf of the Sydney Cricket Ground. I called this game on TV and it’s best remembered for Greg Inglis and his superman-like “bat-back” in mid-air to set up that remarkable try for Mark Gasnier.



For those who can’t remember this special anniversary jersey, it was blue and maroon to represent the states of New South Wales and Queensland. These were the colours we used for Australia when the game started in the Southern Hemisphere, before the concept of green and gold.

 

 

Australian Kangaroos 2008 jersey

 

Number 1

 


The Great Britain 1988 jersey. I always loved the iconic Lions jersey. I first saw Great Britain live in 1988. That year, after they’d been to Papua New Guinea, I saw them play four times on their tour of Australia, starting with the opener in Cairns. That night I got to see Martin Offiah score four tries against the Marlins as the Lions thrashed us 66-16 at Parramatta Park. It was that night that cemented my plan to become a Rugby League writer and commentator.


I also got to call my first International on TV at the age of 20 when Great Britain played the Queensland Residents, four years later in Townsville. I didn’t know it at the time but I would later call the Lions again during my decade with Sky Sports in New Zealand and to this day, I firmly believe we should see the Lions touring… like the good old days.




Great Britain 1988 jersey 

 

STEVEN BIRCHALL (@stevenbirchall) is a passionate Rugby League fan who has had the pleasure of playing, working and volunteering in the sport over the past 20 years, which includes working at the NRL and for Asia Pacific Rugby League. He has been working with various emerging and international leagues to help either establish a presence or to continue their growth.

 

Number 3

 

The Hong Kong 2018 jersey. Much like the Canadian Mounties kit, the Hong Kong Thunder jersey holds a special place for me as it represents the culmination of many years of hard work. It was first worn in the East Asia Cup in Tokyo and was again worn at the 2018 Emerging Nations Tournament. 

 

Hong Kong 2018 jersey


Editor’s Note: Chasing Roos currently stock the Hong Kong 2018 range. 

 

Number 2

 

The Canada Mounties 2010 jersey. Before the Canadian national team adopted the moniker, “Wolverines”, they were known as the “Mounties” for one Nines event, the 2010 AMNRL “War at the Shore” tournament. Whilst the nickname and logo were not the greatest, the jersey represented all the hard work people like Jamie Lester, Chris Diamond and co. had done re-establishing the game in Ontario.

 

Number 1

 


The South Africa 1995 Rugby League World Cup jersey. Being honest, my knowledge or love of International Rugby League was almost non-existent before the 1995 World Cup.  Whilst I knew of the Kangaroos, Kiwis and Lions, most of my Rugby League knowledge and interest was around the Winfield Cup.

 

The 1995 World Cup changed all that, sparking at first a curiosity in the game beyond just one competition, and then a love of the international game.


Whilst there were many kits from the 1995 tournament that are burnt into my memories, the South African Rhino’s kit possibly resonates the most as they were one of the first teams I remember watching outside of the “Big Three”.



South Africa 1995 Rugby League World Cup jersey

 

PATRICK SKENE (@Patrick_Skene) is a diehard International Rugby League fan and has been involved in major event marketing including the Rugby League World Cup, Pacific Tests and the Rugby League Nines World Cup. He’s a freelance journalist for the Guardian Australia and is the author of the brilliant Rugby League book, The Big O – The Life and Times of Olsen Filipaina, which has just gone into reprint.

 

Number 3

 

 

The New Zealand Kiwis 1985 jersey. This Kiwi jumper sends shivers down the spine of older Australian Rugby League fans and the short sleeve version as fashioned by the Big O (Olsen Filipaina) is the most awesome version. Big V, no nonsense worn by the proud 1985 Kiwis, the jumper is symbolic of the revival of Rugby League through the Kiwis taking a stand against the Aussies, with their skills, speed and fists. The Kiwis would grow a leg in this jersey as Darrell Eastlake once said, “Olsen Filipaina is 10 foot tall in the black and white jersey”.

 

 New Zealand Kiwis 1985 jersey

 

Number 2

 

 

French jerseys in the 1950s.  This jumper most famously worn by the incomparable Puig Aubert symbolizes the style and defiance of the gallant “Treizistes” who have overcome an attempt to wipe them out and still bring a gallic style and flavour to the greatest game of all. The badge, the V, the colours, the style, Magnifique!

 

1950s French Rugby League

 


Number 1

 

Any Papua New Guinea Kumuls jersey. I love the old school Kumuls jersey. A big red V over burnt yellow and black trimmings suits them perfectly. The jersey stands for so much blood, sweat and tears to pull the Kumuls to a level where they are feared on the International stage. I once saw a guy at Marrickville markets wearing an old beautiful one. I offered him $100 plus a replacement from the markets and he knocked me back.

 

PNG Kumuls

 

 

STUART MCCLENNAN (@Discomclennan) is a Rugby League coach, journalist, commentator and fan. He started playing the game in Tamworth, New South Wales and was a regular on the hill at Leichhardt Oval as a youngster. He was introduced to International Rugby League as a child at a game at the Sydney Cricket Ground. He has gone on to coach and write on International Rugby League in Athens, Edirne (Turkey), Belgrade and London.

 

Number 3

 

Any France jersey. I was almost going to choose Scotland, a country that I love and a part of my heritage, but if there is one wish I have for International Rugby League it would be to see France return to the glory days of the 1950s to 1970s.

The days when Les Chanticleers boasted lengendary players such as fullback Puig Aubert. The French Federation has a new President in Luc Lacoste bringing fresh ideas and a new energy to the game. Holding the 2025 Rugby League World Cup seems a foregone conclusion. Who doesn’t want to see the tricolour jersey, sporting the gallic rooster emblem, up there with the best in the world again!

 

France rugby league jersey 

 

Number 2

 

The Australian Kangaroos 1970 jersey. It was July 1970 and my grandfather took me to the Sydney Cricket Ground. Everything major in Rugby League in Sydney happened at the SCG. It was the third series deciding test between Australia and Great Britain. Fulton, Beetson, Coote and McCarthy Vs Reilly, Watson and the brilliant Roger Millward.

Great Britain won the match and the series that day, my first Rugby League hero Artie Beetson was sent off with 20 minutes to go and the crowd sang Auld Lang Syne at the conclusion of the match. It triggered a fascination with Kangaroo tours and waking up to watch games from the north of England on TV in the early hours of the morning. Despite the Kangaroos jersey being a rare sighting these days, there is a proud history and an aura of success that surrounds the Aussie strip.

 

Number 1

 


Any Greece jersey. After moving to Athens, Greece in 2016 and spending the next three and a bit years coaching the men’s and women’s teams including the first Greece national women’s team, I developed a passion for the country, it’s people and a bond with the blue and white jersey. It continues today through my coaching and media roles with Greece Rugby League.

I experienced first hand the hardships of staging domestic matches in Greece so seeing the joy on the faces of the administrators, coaches and players when Greece qualified for the World Cup is something I will always remember. It was the culmination of years of resilience and hard work.

 

Greece rugby League

 

MIKE SIMPSON is an International Rugby League correspondent for Rugby League World magazine and the curator of one of the world’s biggest Rugby League memorabilia collections.

 

Number 3 

 

The Malta 2005 jersey. It’s a simple yet effective design and it was an instant smash hit with me. The beautiful big red cross and sword emblem is a masterpiece.

 

Malta Rugby League Jersey Mike Simpson

 

Number 2

 

The El Salvador 2017 jersey. I love this jersey due to it’s striking lightning bolt design and for its obscure emblem.

 

El Salvador Rugby League Jersey Mike Simpson

 

Number 1

 

The France 1951 jersey. This is my number one as it was the jersey worn that defeated Australia on home soil at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Plus only six of the original jerseys exist, making them super rare!

 

French Rugby League jersey Mike Simpson

 

TERRY LIBEROPOULOS is the co-founder of the Greek Rugby League and the owner and editor of the Rugby League Review magazine which is the last hard copy Rugby League magazine left in Australia.


Number 3

 

The American All Stars 1953 jersey. When I found out the American All Stars had toured Australia in 1953, I tried to find out as much as I could about them because I was fascinated by International Rugby League. The jersey, with its stars on top of the jersey drew me in. You could look at the jersey and know it was the USA.

 

A curious crowd of 65,453 watched them play against Sydney at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The USA was keen in playing in the inaugural Rugby League World Cup in 1954 but were rejected. Had much more been invested in the Americans back in the 1950s, the game of Rugby League could well have been massive today in the USA.

 

USA All Stars 1954 jersey


Number 2 The France 1981 jersey. I had watched Australia take on Great Britain in 1979 and New Zealand in 1980 on TV and I was fascinated that Rugby League had internationals. My jaw dropped when I read that France would be touring Australia in 1981.

 

Prior to the First Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground, the Big League magazine had a photo of a French player on the front cover. It was the first time I saw the jersey. Blue with a white V and the shoulder and the top of the jersey being red. The collars were white with a lace up. It stood out and I made sure I was at the SCG to watch them play. Australia won easily, 43-3 but I didn’t care what the score was. France played Rugby League and they wore cool jerseys!


Number 1

 

The Greece 2006 jersey. It was a historic moment, not just for me presonally but for the Greek Rugby League. The horizontal blue and white jersey was designed to be the same as the national flag and truly reflected Greece.

The 2006 design was special because it was the first Rugby League international match played on Greek soil. The game against Serbia was staged in Athens with half of the team made up of players based in Greece. The other half were Greek Australians with skipper Michael Korkidas flying over from England where he was playing for Wakefield Trinity in the Super League. The players had pride in that jersey in what was an emotional event that resulted in Greece winning 44-26.

 

Greece Rugby League 2006 Jersey



ROBERT BURGIN (@RobBurginWriter) is known as the Godfather of Latin American Rugby League. He’s the current General Manager of Brazil Rugby League. Robert has also worked for the Queensland Rugby League and was the first webmaster for the Brisbane Broncos.

 

Number 3

 

The Mexico Rugby League jersey. This jersey is stunning and sharp and I’m including it because I hope we one day soon get the chance to see it in the international arena, after almost a decade of domestic activity without any internationals played.

 

Mexico Rugby League Jersey

 


Number 2

 

Any Africa United jersey. The Africa United kit is both aesthetically and symbolically eye catching. They did a lot more for the sport than they’ve ever been given credit for. I owned a jersey and parted with it for a fund raiser a few years ago. One I regret.

 

Africa United Rugby League Jersey

 

Number 1

 

The Great Britain 1992 jersey. This jersey reminds me of when international games were tight and plentiful. They played 17 games on that tour of Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand. Best of all, I was young enough to be oblivious to the politics.

GB Lions jersey rob burgin



Well there you have it Kangaroo Chasers. 39 of the greatest International Rugby League jerseys of all time as suggested by 13 of the games’ greatest International Rugby League minds. Do you agree?

At Chasing Roos, we currently stock International Rugby League merchandise of 39 nations and one territory (Puerto Rico). Our goal is to one day stock every Rugby League playing nations’ national jersey (and a few of the clubs while are at it!), so fans will never miss out on getting their hands on some of the best International Rugby League jerseys out there.

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