Every year there’s that same old debate about which rivalry wins over which.
The creation of such an article and the ranking of the top ten rivalries in the British Rugby League will always cause some controversy as fans battle for the top spot.
However, here is my ranking for the top ten.
10. Workington v Whitehaven
A Cumbrian derby is a guarantee of passion and emotion and the clashes between Workington and Whitehaven have not disappointed fans over the years. Admittedly, neither Town nor Haven are as good as before, the latter not reaching the second level until 2020 while the former languishes in Ligue 1 after relegation from the championship in 2016. It would be a victory for the sport if it Cumbrian derby could be rejuvenated.
9. Wigan vs. Leigh
It’s a rivalry that will be rekindled once again in 2021 following Leigh’s promotion to the Super League. But, while Wigan fans don’t care so much about their next-door neighbor, the Centurions identify this fixture as the one all of their fans want to see. Leigh actually beat the Warriors 50-34 when the two sides last met in July 2017, although they failed to make any breakthroughs against Wigan i 2021, although they did come together seriously. .
8. Batley vs. Dewsbury
The “Heavy Woolen Derby” – named because of the town’s importance to the wool trade in the 19th and 20th centuries – is one of the championship’s unmissable events. Very little rivalry actually takes place in the second level outside of this one and it’s still a staple. With vocal – albeit modest – support from both groups of supporters, the atmosphere on match day at Fox’s Biscuits Stadium or Tetley’s Stadium is superb.
7. Castleford vs. Featherstone
It’s a rivalry Rugby League fans haven’t seen in quite a while, but Featherstone’s hatred of Castleford is perhaps the greatest in the sport. Even when the Rovers play against opposition in the Championship, their fans still sing about their Super League rivals and many Featherstone supporters still refer to the 2012 Challenge Cup match between the two teams in which Rovers played. caused massive upheaval. Much anger still lies in the fact that Featherstone was left out of the very first Super League while Castleford was included, which paved the way for different paths for the two sides over the next 26 years.
6. Castleford vs. Leeds
Before Daryl Powell took over at Castleford in mid-2013, this game wouldn’t have been in the top ten anywhere as Leeds tended to put the Tigers down every year. However, that all changed under Powell’s tutelage and, before the 2017 Grand Final, Castleford had won eight on the rebound against the Rhinos. This left Leeds fans believing their small town neighbors were getting too big for their boots as Tigers loyalists began to view their big town rivals as easy choices. Now, however, the balance could shift again.
5. Warrington vs. Widnes
Warrington-Widnes games were put on hold recently following the latter’s relegation in 2018. This has left Wolves without a bitter Super League rival – I’m sure, much to the chagrin of both fan groups. . The significance of the derby for both clubs is underscored by the fact that Warrington’s home crowd record was set in 2016, when just over 15,000 supporters invaded Halliwell Jones Stadium – it was against Widnes .
4. Leeds v Bradford
It’s a shame these two teams haven’t met since Bradford’s incredible victory over Leeds in the Challenge Cup in 2019, but in the near future one of the biggest crowd matches could return. The head-to-head clashes at the start of the Super League were something to see and these two teams met regularly in the playoffs. Clashes between Brian Noble and Tony Smith became commonplace as massive successes and tantalizing clashes became commonplace. At number four rather than three due to the absence of this game since relegation from Bradford.
3. Castleford vs. Wakefield
It is ranked slightly higher than Castleford’s rivalry with Featherstone and Leeds for just one factor: the Battle of Belle Vue in 2006. That night the Tigers were relegated to the hands of Trinity who themselves were reportedly demoted. if they had lost. Although the two clubs fought closely before this game, after it the hatred flared to a degree that has yet to subside. Bad blood reigns supreme between these Calder rivals, although Castleford has enjoyed unparalleled supremacy in recent years. Could that change with the change of coach on both sides?
2. Hull FC v Hull KR
West Hull vs. East Hull, Rovers vs. FC; This is the game the two fan groups are pinning on their timelines, and rightly so. These are arguably the most intense games both teams play all year round and that tension is made palpable by the noisy crowds that crowd into KCOM or Craven Park. Neither team likes to give the other a boost and FC and KR know they’ve played a game after roaring 80 minutes.
1. St Helens vs. Wigan
The original game “Derby” so to speak, the St Helens and Wigan matches are still filled with great fun and talent. The Hull derby is narrowly missed simply because these two teams fight regularly in the major finals and that always adds a little extra tension. Saints and Wigan were also responsible for six of the top ten top-flight attendance records – there really couldn’t be any other position for this rivalry than the first.