Rugby League War of the Roses
|War of the Roses|
|Number of teams||2|
|Winners||Yorkshire (34th Title)|
|Most titles||Lancashire (35 titles)|
|Broadcast partner||Sky Sports|
The Origin Series, previously War of the Roses, was the inter-county rugby league matches between representative teams from Yorkshire and Lancashire, the areas where rugby league has traditionally been most popular in England.
The first War of the Roses was contested in 1895 between Yorkshire and Lancashire since rugby league was founded in Yorkshire and mostly played in the heartlands of Yorkshire and Lancashire. It was held almost annually until 1991 and occasionally was contested in a series.
In 1985, an annual fixture between Lancashire and Yorkshire was proposed as a replacement for the County Championship which had last been played in 1982–83. The fixture became known as the Rodstock War of the Roses, and the first game was played in September 1985. The series lasted until 1991, when it was scrapped due to lack of interest.
Player eligibility for the Origin Series was based on the player's region of birth, but players born outside of Yorkshire and Lancashire were also eligible for selection, based on the region where they first played rugby league at professional level.
The Origin Series was reduced to a one-off Origin Game in 2003 due to the British hosting the touring Australia, New Zealand A and as well the kick off of the Rugby League European Nations Cup. So together with the Challenge Cup, WCC and Rugby Super League, the RFL felt that too many Origin matches would be too much strain on the top players. The tournament was then rested due to apathy from rugby league supporters.
The series has in effect been replaced by the International Origin series, where England take on the "Exiles" – a team composed of the best overseas players in Super League.
Womens Rugby League
In 2015, the RFL department of Women's Rugby League announced that they would stage the inaugural Women's "War of the Roses", between Lancashire Ladies and Yorkshire Ladies. The match, which took place at Thatto Heath Crusaders, St. Helens, saw Yorkshire Ladies and Lancashire Ladies share the honours after a 22-22 draw, with an attendance of around 500.
The match, held on October 18, 2015, followed a Lancashire Girls vs Yorkshire Girls under 18's match, which finished 34-0 in favour of the Yorkshire side.