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Rugby History To Be Honoured In Exchange Square

The formation of the Rugby League as we know it today will be celebrated on the spot where it was first conceived over 100 years ago.

Written by . Published on June 13th 2012.

Rugby History To Be Honoured In Exchange Square

A HERO police officer responsible for evacuating thousands of people before the IRA bomb in Manchester is set to unveil a plaque commemorating part of the city’s sporting history.

The Corporation Street bombing left the area devastated and destroyed a piece of sporting history in the blast.

Former Assistant Chief Constable of GMP Ian Seabridge was responsible for evacuating Manchester City Centre before the UK’s largest peacetime bomb exploded in 1996. The Corporation Street bombing left the area devastated and destroyed a piece of sporting history in the blast.

Friday June 15 sees the 16 anniversary of the bombing with Mr Seabridge unveiling a plaque celebrating the spot where the first Rugby League fixtures were arranged in 1895. Mr Seabridge is also a Trustee of the Rugby League Foundation which paid for the replacement plaque, along with local Rugby League club Mancunians RL.

The Rugby League was formed at an emergency meeting in Manchester after several prominent clubs from Lancashire and Yorkshire agreed to form a ‘Northern Union’ in opposition to the English Rugby Football Union’s (RFU) rule on paying players.

Initially made up of 22 teams including Wigan, Stockport, Oldham, Leeds and Warrington the league gradually changed its rules to create a more spectator friendly sport.

The major changes consisted of: teams of 13 as opposed to 15, ‘playing the ball’ after a tackle rather than a scrum, the elimination of the line-out and a new scoring system.

To honour this momentous shift in the history of Rugby the new plaque to replaced the original lost in 1996 will be unveiled by Mr. Seabridge during a short ceremony in Exchange Square at 11.16am.

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