League 1 (rugby league)

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League 1
Current season or competition::
2017 League 1
League 1 logo
Sport Rugby league
Instituted 2015–present (as League 1)
2008–2014 (as Championship 1)
2003–2007 (as National League Two)
Inaugural season 2003
Number of teams 16
Countries  England (13 teams)
 Wales (2 teams)
Champions New Zealand Kiwis colours.svg Toronto Wolfpack (1st title) (2017)
Most titles Yorkcolours.svg York City Knights
Ramscolours.svg Dewsbury Rams (2 titles)
Website kingstone press leagues
Broadcast partner Sky Sports
Premier Sports (Toronto matches)
GameTV (Canada)
Related competition Domestic Cup: Challenge Cup
Promotion to Championship

League 1, formerly Championship 1 and currently known as Kingstone Press League 1 for sponsorship reasons, is a professional rugby league competition based in England. The competition also features clubs from Wales, and included a club in Canada in its 2017 season. It is the RFL's third-tier competition, below the Championship, with which it has promotion and relegation.

The league was inaugurated in 2003 when the Northern Ford Premiership was divided into two separate leagues, initially named National League One and National League Two. In 2009, the league names were changed to the Championship and Championship 1 respectively, with the latter adopting its current name of League 1 in 2015.


1991–2003: Foundation and regular competition[edit]

Third-division rugby league competitions in the United Kingdom have existed periodically since 1991. The current incarnation was created in 2003 when the second-division competition below Super League, the Northern Ford Premiership, was split into National Leagues One and Two. Teams that finished in the top ten league positions of the Northern Ford Premiership at the end of the 2002 season formed National League One, while the remaining eight formed National League Two where they were joined by two additional clubs, London Skolars from the Rugby League Conference and York City Knights, who replaced the defunct York Wasps and also joined National League Two for the inaugural season in 2003.

2004–2009: National Leagues[edit]

At the end of the 2005 Super League season, an extra team was relegated to National League One in order to accommodate French side Catalans Dragons' entry to the competition. In turn, an additional team was relegated from National League One to League Two, while Blackpool Panthers were elected to National League Two for the 2005 season to replace the defunct Chorley Lynx, leaving 11 teams in League Two. In order to even up the numbers, the Welsh team Celtic Crusaders were admitted to the competition in 2005, first playing in the 2006 season and increasing the division to twelve teams.

2010–2014: Championship 1[edit]

In 2009 Super League was expanded to 14 teams, with two additional teams being promoted from National League One. In turn, two additional teams were promoted from National League Two to National League One at the end of the 2008 season, reducing the number of teams in National League Two to 10. National Leagues One and Two were then rebranded as Championship and Championship 1 respectively, with the change being implemented in time for the 2009 season.

South Wales Scorpions were admitted to Championship 1 for the 2010 season, increasing the number of teams in the league to 11. Blackpool Panthers left the league in 2011, once again reducing the number of teams to 10. In 2013, three new teams were admitted to the league; Hemel Stags, Gloucestershire All Golds and Oxford Rugby League. To facilitate this expansion, in 2012 four teams were promoted to the Championship from Championship 1 and no teams were relegated from the Championship, meaning that the 2013 Championship 1 season was contested by 9 teams.

2015–present: League 1[edit]

In 2014 expansion and restructure took place with 5 teams relegated from the Championship and Coventry Bears added to expand the league to 14 teams, which was then renamed League 1. A new playoff structure was also introduced with two teams being promoted to the Championship. In 2015 the League 1 Cup was introduced as an additional competition for League 1 clubs. In 2016 Toulouse Olympique joined the league, bringing the total number of teams to 15. Toronto Wolfpack joined the league in 2017, bringing the total number of teams to 16.

In 2016, the Super 8s format that had been used in the Super League and Championship was introduced to League 1.

Under the amended structure, the 16 League 1 clubs play a regular season of 15 rounds. Following the conclusion of their regular league seasons, the 16 clubs then compete in a play-off series where they split into 2 divisions of 8 based upon league position:[1][2]

  • The top eight League 1 clubs compete in the League 1 Super 8s. They play each other once (either home or away) to determine the champion and the four clubs that will compete in the playoffs for the second promotion place.
  • The remaining (bottom eight) League 1 clubs compete for the League 1 Shield. The team finishing bottom collects the wooden spoon.


League 1 clubs
Colours Club Established Location Stadium Capacity*
Bradford Bulls 1907 Bradford, West Yorkshire Odsal Stadium 27,000
Coventry Bears 1998 Coventry, West Midlands Butts Park Arena 4,000
Doncaster colours.svg
Doncaster 1951 Doncaster, South Yorkshire Keepmoat Stadium 15,231
New South Wales colours.svg
Gloucestershire All Golds 1999 Cheltenham, Gloucestershire Prince of Wales Stadium 2,000
Hemel Stags 1981 Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire Pennine Way 2,000
Hunslet 1973 Leeds, West Yorkshire South Leeds Stadium 4,000
Keighley Cougars 1901 Keighley, West Yorkshire Cougar Park 7,800
London Skolars 1995 Haringey, Greater London New River Stadium 5,000
Newcastle Thunder 1999 Newcastle, Tyne and Wear Kingston Park 10,200
North Wales Crusaders 2011 Wrexham, Clwyd Queensway Stadium 8,256
Oldham 1876 Stalybridge, Greater Manchester Bower Fold 6,500
Oxford 2012 Abingdon-on-Thames, Oxfordshire Tilsley Park 500
Canberra colours.svg
West Wales Raiders 2009 Llanelli, West Wales Stebonheath Park 3,500
Haven colours.svg
Whitehaven 1948 Whitehaven, Cumbria Recreation Ground 7,500
Workington Town 1945 Workington, Cumbria Derwent Park 10,000
York City Knights 2002 York, North Yorkshire Bootham Crescent 8,256

*capacity for Rugby League games may differ from official stadium capacity.

All Time Table[edit]

[citation needed]

  • Correct up to end of 2016
  • Includes bonus points and Super 8s and League 1 Shield games
Pos. Club Seasons P W D L PF PA Pts
1 Oldhamcolours.svg Oldham 9 177 123 4 50 5750 3865 380
2 Yorkcolours.svg York 10 198 128 3 69 6457 3740 344
3 Barrowcolours.svg Barrow 8 163 113 2 47 5185 3189 286
4 Swintoncolours.svg Swinton 10 200 108 3 87 6045 5202 285
5 Hunsletcolours.svg Hunslet 10 198 100 3 95 5089 4311 277
6 Workingtoncolours.svg Workington Town 10 196 87 4 104 5268 5222 263
7 Cougscolours.svg Keighley 9 183 97 3 83 4903 4499 259
8 Rochdale colours.svg Rochdale* 8 157 87 2 68 4953 3863 249
9 Gthundercolours.svg Newcastle* 13 257 89 5 162 5803 8813 238
10 Skolscolours.svg London Skolars 14 274 81 6 199 5619 9961 223
11 Doncaster colours.svg Doncaster 5 99 64 0 37 3121 2320 190
12 Blackpoolcolours.svg Blackpool* § 8 158 58 5 95 3924 4998 153
13 Ramscolours.svg Dewsbury 4 76 53 2 21 2263 1,462 126
14 NWCrucolours.png North Wales Crusaders 4 76 44 3 29 2210 1700 116
15 Hullcolours.svg South Wales Ironmen 7 135 29 0 106 2691 3939 107
16 Sheffeagles colours.svg Sheffield 4 76 51 0 25 2,435 1,585 103
17 Cruscolours.svg Crusaders § 2 44 33 1 10 1,648 732 89
18 Fevcolours.svg Featherstone Rovers 2 44 32 1 11 1,415 870 85
19 New South Wales colours.svg Gloucestershire 4 77 23 0 54 1785 2498 77
20 Haven colours.svg Whitehaven 2 38 25 2 11 1115 846 73
21 Hemelcolours.png Hemel 4 77 23 1 53 1537 2743 71
22 Oxfordcolours.png Oxford 4 77 23 2 52 1606 2884 67
23 ToulouseRLcolours.PNG Toulouse 1 21 20 1 0 990 276 41
24 Coventrycolours.png Coventry 2 42 13 1 28 876 1345 27
Current club
§ Clubs that no longer exist

Points deductions


League 1 has a system of promotion and relegation with the Championship. At the end of the season, two League 1 teams are promoted via end of season playoffs while the bottom two teams in the Championship are relegated to League 1.

There is currently no relegation from League 1. Additional expansion teams can be accepted to the league via an application to the RFL.

Regular Season[edit]

The 16 League 1 teams play each other once home or away for a total of 15 regular season fixtures. Two points are awarded for a win, one for a draw and zero for a loss. Following the conclusion of the regular season, the league is split into two groups of eight as part of the Rugby League Super 8s.

Super 8s[edit]

The top eight teams in League 1 following the conclusion of the regular season form the League 1 Super 8s, and each play each other once more to complete the league season.

Position Qualification
1 Promoted to Championship
2 Playoff
3 Playoff
4 Playoff
5 Playoff
6 Season complete
7 Season complete
8 Season complete

Play Offs[edit]

Following the Super 8s phase, the teams finishing first is promoted to the Championship while the teams finishing second to fifth qualify for the play offs.

The team finishing second hosts the team finishing fifth, while the team finishing third hosts the team finishing fourth. The winners play in the Playoff Final which is hosted by the highest ranked team. The winner is promoted to the Championship.

Semifinals Finals
1 2nd
4 5th
Winner of Semi Final 1
Winner of Semi Final 2
2 3rd
3 4th

League 1 Shield[edit]

The bottom eight teams in League 1 at the end of the regular season compete for the League 1 Shield. They each play each other once more after which the teams finishing the season in first and second place contest the League 1 Shield Final, to be hosted by the team finishing first.

Position Qualification
1 Final place
2 Final place
3 Season complete
4 Season complete
5 Season complete
6 Season complete
7 Season complete
8 Season complete


Year Champions Promoted Wooden Spoon
Cougscolours.svg Keighley
Cougscolours.svg Keighley
Skolscolours.svg London Skolars
Barrowcolours.svg Barrow
Barrowcolours.svg Barrow
Gthundercolours.svg Newcastle
Yorkcolours.svg York
Yorkcolours.svg York
Blackpoolcolours.svg Blackpool
Ramscolours.svg Dewsbury
Ramscolours.svg Dewsbury
Sheffeagles colours.svg Sheffield
Blackpoolcolours.svg Blackpool
Cruscolours.svg Crusaders
Cruscolours.svg Crusaders
Fevcolours.svg Featherstone
Blackpoolcolours.svg Blackpool
Gthundercolours.svg Newcastle
Gthundercolours.svg Newcastle
Barrowcolours.svg Barrow
Doncaster colours.svg Doncaster
Hunsletcolours.svg Hunslet
Ramscolours.svg Dewsbury
Ramscolours.svg Dewsbury
Cougscolours.svg Keighley
Skolscolours.svg London Skolars
Yorkcolours.svg York
Yorkcolours.svg York
Hunsletcolours.svg Hunslet
Gthundercolours.svg Newcastle
Swintoncolours.svg Swinton
Swintoncolours.svg Swinton
Cougscolours.svg Keighley
Gthundercolours.svg Newcastle
Doncaster colours.svg Doncaster
Doncaster colours.svg Doncaster
Barrowcolours.svg Barrow
Haven colours.svg Whitehaven
Workingtoncolours.svg Workington
Gthundercolours.svg Newcastle
NWCrucolours.png North Wales
NWCrucolours.png North Wales
Rochdale colours.svg Rochdale
New South Wales colours.svg Gloucestershire
Hunsletcolours.svg Hunslet
Hunsletcolours.svg Hunslet
Hullcolours.svg South Wales
Oldhamcolours.svg Oldham
Oldhamcolours.svg Oldham
Swintoncolours.svg Swinton
Hullcolours.svg South Wales
Rochdale colours.svg Rochdale
Rochdale colours.svg Rochdale
ToulouseRLcolours.PNG Toulouse
Hemelcolours.png Hemel
New Zealand Kiwis colours.svg Toronto
New Zealand Kiwis colours.svg Toronto
Barrowcolours.svg Barrow
Hullcolours.svg South Wales


Club Wins Winning years
Yorkcolours.svg York City Knights
2 2005, 2010
Ramscolours.svg Dewsbury Rams
2 2006, 2009
Cougscolours.svg Keighley Cougars
1 2003
Barrowcolours.svg Barrow Raiders
1 2004
Cruscolours.svg Celtic Crusaders
1 2007
Gthundercolours.svg Gateshead Thunder
1 2008
Swintoncolours.svg Swinton Lions
1 2011
Doncaster colours.svg Doncaster
1 2012
NWCrucolours.png North Wales Crusaders
1 2013
Hunsletcolours.svg Hunslet Hawks
1 2014
Oldhamcolours.svg Oldham
1 2015
Rochdale colours.svg Rochdale Hornets
1 2016
New Zealand Kiwis colours.svg Toronto Wolfpack
1 2017

Match officials[edit]

All rugby league matches are governed by the laws set out by the RFL; these laws are enforced by match officials. Former Super League and International Referee Steve Ganson is the current Acting Head of the Match Officials Department and Technical Director. Former Hull F.C. player and Huddersfield head coach Jon Sharp was the previous head of the match officials department of the RFL. Sharp was sacked in July 2015 and took up the role of head coach at Featherstone Rovers. He assumed his role at the RFL following Stuart Cummings' departure in March 2013 having previously held the role of match officials coach and technical director.


League 1 has had three sponsors since 2003. Between 2003 and 2008 it was called the LHF Healthplan National League 2 before it was renamed the Championship 1 in 2009 and sponsored by Cooperative.

Period Sponsor Name
2003–2008 LHF Healthplan LHF Healthplan National League 2
2009–2012 Cooperative Cooperative Championship 1
2013–2014 Kingstone Press Cider Kingstone Press Championship 1
2015–2017 Kingstone Press League 1


The current RFL policy is to add expansion teams to the professional structure via entry to League 1. In 2011, the RFL invited expressions of interest for four additional English teams to join the competition starting in 2013. Of the 16 interested parties, three teams, University of Gloucestershire All Golds, Hemel Stags and Oxford Rugby League were accepted to join the league and began play in 2013, a fourth, the Northampton Town F.C.-linked Northampton Rebels were also accepted, but ultimately decided not to proceed.[3][4][5][6][7] An additional team, Coventry Bears, were also accepted in September 2012, however it was decided that they would join from the 2014 season to give them additional time to prepare.[8] Coventry again deferred their membership in 2014, eventually joining the league for the 2015 season.

In 2015 it was announced that Toulouse Olympique, after talks with the RFL, had accepted the proposal to rejoin the English league structure in League 1 for the 2016 season, airing their aims for promotion in their maiden League 1 season in a bid to eventually achieve Super League status.[9] They currently play in the Championship, having earned promotion at their first opportunity in 2016.

In 2016, it was announced that Toronto Wolfpack would be joining the league from the 2017 season, becoming the first team to compete in the RFL structure from outside of the UK or France.[10]

Confirmed expansion clubs
Team Date Stadium Capacity City/Area
Hemelcolours.png Hemel Stags[4] 21 February 2012 Pennine Way 2,000 Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire
New South Wales colours.svg Gloucestershire All Golds[5] 9 May 2012 Prince of Wales Stadium 480 Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
Oxfordcolours.png Oxford[7] 18 September 2012 Iffley Road 500 Oxford, Oxfordshire
Coventrycolours.png Coventry Bears[7] 2015 Butts Park Arena 4,000 Coventry, West Midlands
ToulouseRLcolours.PNG Toulouse Olympique[9] 2016 Stade des Minimes 4,066 Toulouse, Haute-Garonne
New Zealand Kiwis colours.svg Toronto Wolfpack[11] 2017 Lamport Stadium 9,600 Toronto, Ontario



League 1 games in the past have been televised rarely and sporadically. Matches were previously broadcast in the UK on Premier Sports and infrequently on Sky Sports, however as of 2015 the competition does not receive television coverage. The newest member of the league, Toronto Wolfpack, has announced before the 2017 season that all of their games will be shown live on Canadian channel GameTV,[12] as well as digitally on CBC Sports.[13]

Period Broadcaster
2008–2011 Sky Sports
Premier Sports
2012–2013 Premier Sports
2014 Sky Sports
(Grand Final Only)
2015–2021 Sky Sports


Regional radio stations, including BBC Local Radio and local commercial stations, provide coverage of the League 1 clubs.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "RFL CHIEF EXECUTIVE POLICY REVIEW" (PDF). Media.therfl.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-04-26. 
  2. ^ "Super League: Competition restructures confirmed". Bbc.com. 17 January 2014. 
  3. ^ "Northampton Town FC to run rugby league team from 2013". BBC Sport. 1 December 2011. Retrieved 29 August 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "Hemel Join Rugby League Championship 1". RFL. Retrieved 29 August 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "All Golds to join Championship One". RFL. Retrieved 29 August 2012. 
  6. ^ "Gloucestershire All Golds to join Championship One in 2013". BBC Sport. 10 May 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2012. 
  7. ^ a b c "Oxford to be admitted to Championship One". BBC Sport. 18 September 2012. Retrieved 19 September 2012. 
  8. ^ "Coventry Bears: Midlands amateur side targeted as semi-pro club". BBC Sport. 21 September 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2012. 
  9. ^ a b "Toulouse Olympique XIII en route to England and League One". Toulouse Official Website. Retrieved 24 August 2015. 
  10. ^ "Canadian team to join English rugby league setup". ESPN. 2016-04-24. Retrieved 2016-04-26. 
  11. ^ "#Super8s". Extraordinaryrugby.com. Retrieved 2017-04-26. 
  12. ^ "Wolfpack Secure Canadian Broadcast Partner". Torontowolfpack.com. 1 March 2017. Retrieved 1 March 2017. 
  13. ^ "CBC Sports, Toronto Wolfpack announce broadcast agreement". Cbc.ca. 16 March 2017. Retrieved 1 March 2017. 

External links[edit]