Skanska Amateur Four Nations
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2009)|
The Skanska Amateur Four Nations was a rugby league competition contested annually by Wales A, Ireland A, Scotland A and the England Lionhearts. While the teams from the Celtic nations are officially the countries' second string sides, the Lionhearts are England's representatives from the Rugby League Conference and the student and armed forces' sides. The competition, sometimes referred to as the Home Nations Championship, had previously been sponsored by Cheltenham Regency and Parkhouse Recruitment.
Friendly matches between A sides were played between 1998 and 2001 with Scotland facing Wales twice and Ireland three times and Wales taking on the forerunner to the England Lionhearts once.
The success of these one-off friendly internationals saw the advent of the first Home Nations Championship in 2002.
Until the final match between Wales and England at Cheltenham, the tournament was low-key and had little publicity, even in Wales where the Ireland match was played on a park pitch in Penarth on a Sunday morning. But the England v Wales match received unprecedented national coverage with highlights on Sky Sports and resulted in a shock Wales win.
Wales would continue to "shock" for the next four years as they continued to win the title, only losing two matches in this period. It took the introduction of the Crusaders to weaken the Wales side and allow England to win the title for the first time in 2006. Even then Wales only lost by two penalties and travelled with a weakened injury-laden side.
The tournament has been successful in introducing new players to international rugby league with at least three players from the Celtic nations each year are invited to play for their full international sides.
Results and Tables
15 June - Scotland 22 Wales 40 at Glasgow
16 June - Ireland 10 England 32
20 July - Scotland 8 England 58
21 July - Wales 52 Ireland 20 at Penarth
18 August - Ireland 70 Scotland 10
15 September - England 18 Wales 28 at Cheltenham
21 June - England 28 Scotland 20
28 June - Ireland 32 Wales 28 at Dublin
27 July - England 34 Ireland 14
9 August - Scotland 48 Ireland 20
14 September - Wales 28 England 18 at Aberavon RFC
15 May - Wales 56 Ireland 12 at Cardiff Athletics Stadium
13 June - Scotland 26 England 28
3 July - Scotland 26 Wales 34 at Glasgow
3 July - Ireland 28 England 24 at Clontarf RFC, Dublin
22 August - Ireland 16 Scotland 24
12 September - England 32 Wales 34 at Coventry Bears
2 July - England 8 Ireland 26 at Odsal, Bradford
16 July - Ireland 10 Wales 18 at Terenure College, Dublin
14 August - Scotland 44 Ireland 16 at Glasgow
Saturday 15 July - Ireland 23 England 44 at Terenure College RFC, Dublin
Saturday 3 June - Ireland 38 Scotland 30 at St Marys RFC, Limerick
Sunday 16 July - Scotland 16 Wales 22 at Glasgow
Sunday 13 August - Scotland 14 England 46 at Glasgow
Sunday 10 September England 30 Wales 26 at Featherstone Rovers
Saturday 16 June - Wales A 44 Scotland 30 at Cardiff Demons
Saturday 23 June - England A 22 Ireland A 28 at Leigh Centurions
Saturday 30 June - Wales A 22 France A 18 at Neath Port Talbot Steelers (not part of Championship)
Saturday 14 July - Ireland A 16 Wales 16 at Carlow
Saturday 14 July - England A 42 Scotland A 40 at Gateshead Thunder
Saturday 11 August - Scotland A 18 Ireland A 28 at Glasgow Hawks
Sunday 19 August - Wales A 39 England A 18 at Blackwood Bulldogs