Trying rugby league : early attempts to establish rugby football's other code in the central provinces of New Zealand, 1908-1915 : a thesis presented in part fulfilment of the requirements for the Master of Arts Degree (History) at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

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A rebel All Black rugby team toured Britain in the 1907-08 football season, playing teams from the Northern Rugby Football Union. Games were played under the new rules that had been developed during the decade following the Northern Union's breakaway from the Rugby Football Union in 1895. The extent of the support from New Zealand players came as a surprise to the New Zealand Rugby Football Union, which, whilst trying to stop players from joining the tour, had confidently predicted it would not go ahead due to lack of support. That more than three-quarters of the over 200 representative rugby players in New Zealand had applied to join the tour was a nasty shock for the Union. It certainly signaled that all was not well with New Zealand rugby. By the beginning of the twentieth century rugby football in New Zealand had established itself as the premier winter team sport for men. With the introduction of the five-and-a-half day working week and reduction in working hours it became possible for working men to play football and they flocked into clubs. Rugby football also increasingly became compulsory in state schools and, with the extension of compulsory education to secondary schooling, and the enthusiastic support of male teachers, nearly all New Zealand schoolboys were thoroughly acquainted with the game by the time they left school.