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Leagues Apart

Saturday October 28, 2000: England versus Australia, the opening game of the Rugby League World Cup; the first ever Rugby League game at Twickenham Stadium, the home of Rugby Union.

What better time could there be to look at the connections between the two great Rugby codes?

Rugby Union and Rugby League: two distinct sports with two sets of rules, two sets of supporters and two very proud traditions.

The differences are immense, but there will always be an inseparable bond between the two sports that were, for a century, at loggerheads, one solidly professional and the other strictly amateur.

Certain elements link the two sports and it is these links that the exhibition would trace, using the pick of the items and video footage from the archives of the Rugby Football Union and Rugby Football League.

The original hotbed of Union was in Yorkshire and Lancashire, the areas that became League's heartland following the 1895 split.

The founder clubs of the Rugby League were all successful Rugby Union clubs. The dominance of the England Rugby Union team disappeared when the best players were lured away to play professional League. Some of the great League players were lured back to Union when it eventually went professional in 1995.

Now that the two sports are both fully professional, are they still really Leagues Apart?

To find out more about this, click on the links below to view graphic panels from this exhibition: