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Peter Upton's

Subbuteo Tribute Website.

Table Rugby

Team Colours.

The first selection of rugby teams were produced around 1970, and the range continued in the Subbuteo catalogues until 1981. However, in all this time I don't think they were ever illustrated. Instead, Subbuteo produced a list of descriptions of the teams, as they had done with football teams until the early 1970s. Like those football descriptions, no sock colour was quoted for rugby teams, and at the very least, the international sides vary in sock colour. 
There were 25 teams produced with the first range of accessories, but this was soon increased by one to 26. These teams remained unchanged until 1978, when Subbuteo suddenly increased the number of teams to 37, and also altered some of the original colours. This coincided with a change of address for the company (to Tonbridge), and a slight overhaul of the rugby game (some accessories were dropped, and the rule book re-issued).
For this page I have used the catalogue descriptions, but I've also illustrated as many of the teams as possible. This task was made easier by the appearance in collecting circles of old warehouse stock of the original 26 teams and the Italian sides. These teams surfaced in Italy, and have been made available to collectors via ebay and various websites. I've also had the kind co-operation of zeugo.co.uk and Pete Whitehead at Subbuteoworld (pictures with green backgrounds). 

July 2004: A big thank you to Paul Lloyd for lending his expertise for the update to this page. 


Player Types.

You will notice that some of the teams in the first series of twenty-six have been illustrated with a football figure rather than a rugby figure. All twenty-six original sides were produced in both the rugby and football figure, but the Italian stock of these teams was mostly in the type illustrated. I've chosen to use the better scans rather than try to keep to one type of figure. However, I have given preference to the rugby figure. This seems to be the more common figure, and helps to give rugby its distinctive look.

When we reach the 1978 expansion, things get even more confusing. Both the rugby and heavyweight teams continue to be used for these teams, but you also have to add zombies and lightweights to the mix. It has been stated that all the teams were done in all four figures, but lightweight rugby teams are pretty unusual and zombie ones even more so. 

Bases.

The original rugby base was manufactured until 1975, and football bases became the norm after that. The rugby base was produced in the following colours:- white, black, yellow, green, blue, red, maroon and light blue. There was also a very limited number of brown bases for refs 24 and 29, but good luck finding these. Maroon seems an odd colour for rugby bases too, and I've never seen one. The light blue bases were also lacking from the Italian stock, but have been spotted on various sides in collecting circles. Cardiff and the barbarians are the obvious "light blue" sides, but R24 Hunslet also uses this colour on older "English" stock. Plymouth Albion appears on red in the Italian stock, but is more commonly seen on green in second-hand stock.

The rugby base has also been spotted with the words "New Footy 4-2-4" embossed around the rim. This seems to have been produced after Peter Adolph acquired the stock of long term rival firm "New Footy". It has been suggested that the rugby player type was actually the second generation 3-D figure from New Footy as well, and certainly it appears in Subbuteo football sets a couple of years before the arrival of the rugby game. See the New Footy Tribute for more details.

An alternative version of R9

Code

Teams

Shirts

Shorts

R1

Australia, Bramley

Amber or gold

Black

R2

England, Swansea

White

White

R3

France, Scotland

Blue

White

R4

Ireland, South Africa

Green

White

R5

New Zealand, Wasps

Black

Black

R6

Wales, Salford

Red

White

R7

Barbarians

Light and dark blue hoops

White

R8

Blackheath

Red and black hoops

White

R9

Bradford Northern

White with red/amber/black hoops

White

R10

Halifax, North Shields, Bristol, Widnes

Blue and white hoops

White

Figuring that you can never have too many illustrations.....

Code

Teams

Shirts

Shorts

R11

Castleford

Yellow with black collar and cuffs

White

R12

Hull Kingston Rovers

White with red band

White

R13

Leigh, Oldham, Batley, Wigan

Red and white hoops

White

R14

Newport

Black and amber hoops

White

R15

Plymouth Albion

White with red and green bands

White

R16

St. Helens

White with red "V"

White

R17

Wakefield Trinity

White with red and blue bands

White

R18

Workington Town

White with blue band

White

R19

Cardiff

Sky blue and navy blue hoops

A) White

      B) Black

R20

Leeds

Blue with amber bands

White

Cardiff had white shorts until the 1978 update, when this was changed to black.

I couldn't resist including these alternative paint schemes. Note that amber hoops on claret looks very different than claret hoops on amber. For ref R22 a red base colour with amber and black hoops has also been sighted.
Code Teams Shirts Shorts

R21

Huddersfield

Claret and gold (or amber) hoops

White

R22

Dewsbury, Sunderland, Harrogate

Red, amber and black hoops

White

R23

Sale, Sheffield, Featherstone (later 32)

Blue and white hoops

Blue

R24

Hunslet

A) White with chocolate chest band

Blue

 

B) Green with white collar and "V"

White

R25

Rochdale Hornets

A) Red/white hoops on blue

White

 

B) white with amber/blue/amber chestbands

White

R26

Doncaster, Warrington (later R34)

White with yellow and blue bands

White

The teams below were introduced in 1977, along with the B) versions of R24 and R25, and all are rugby league sides. They were probably produced in rugby, h/w, l/w and zombie, but I've only seen them in the heavyweight figure. They are much rarer than the earlier teams, but trust Pete Whitehead to find a stash, which has allowed me to illustrate some of the teams.. If anyone can provide pictures of the missing teams, I would be grateful. 

The descriptions of Barrow and Swinton are identical in the catalogues, but the difference is in the socks. Barrow had blue socks, while Swinton had white socks with blue tops.

Something several fans have written to me about are the colours of R34 Warrington. Warrington's classic colours are blue and primrose - like the stripes on R26. Several Warrington fans have suggested that the green kit is wrong. However, others have disagreed, stating that the team's first ever colours were dark green and amber, and that they did revert to these colours on rare occasions, notably in the 1970s. Sadly, by the time Subbuteo released the green strip, they had reverted to blue and primrose.... By the 1980 catalogue, Warrington are back on their original R26 reference, and R34 has become Northampton.

Code TeamsShirts Shorts Socks

R27

Huyton

A) Amber with large black and red "V"

Black

Black w/red and amber tops
   B) Black with red collar and cuffs ** White Black

R28

Keighley

White with large red and green "V"

White

White w/red and green tops

R29

Whitehaven

White with chocolate brown/blue/amber chestbands

White

White w/brown and blue tops

R30

Blackpool Borough

Black with white collar and large amber "V"

Black

Black with amber tops

R31

Barrow

Blue with white collar and large white "V"

White

Blue

R32

Featherstone Rovers

Black and white hoops

Black

White with black tops

R33

Swinton

Blue with white collar and large white "V"

White

White with blue tops

R34

Warrington
(later Northampton)

Dark green with amber collar

Dark green

Amber with dark green tops

R35

York

Amber and black hoops

Black

Black with amber tops

R36

Hull

Black and white hoops

White

Black

R37

Widnes

White

Black

Black

** Huyton are a Liverpool based rugby league side. They apparently contacted Subbuteo to say that they had never worn the R27 kit as written in the catalogues, so Subbuteo produced the black and red version instead. Paul Lloyd was told that "less than 800" of these were ever made.

Italian Teams.

Subbuteo always had a large market in Italy, and as the football game has the C100s range, which was produced especially for the Italian market, so rugby gains these nine sides. These were never offered in Subbuteo's catalogues in Britain, and once again we have Edilio Parodi to thank for production of these teams. They only seem to have been produced in the heavyweight footballer figure, and were sold in standard rugby boxes with the name of the team printed onto the end (sometimes this is on a sticky label like the football World Cup sides). 
December 2001 - Thanks to Antonio Aloisi, from Subbuteo Club Adriatico Pescara Italy, who has corrected the names of some of the teams, and supplied further details. He pointed out that Rovigo should be playing in red and blue hoops, rather than the stripes. So the only striped rugby team on the whole page appears to be incorrect :-)
February 2003 - I've updated the illustration, as my original still had my own inaccurate team names. As there wasn't really room for the names anymore, I've numbered the teams as they have been numbered on the sales pages of other sites as this seems to be the established norm.
April 2004 - I've now seen the 1982-83 Italian catalogue which features these sides. In this Rovigo shirts are described as "Rosso-blue a strisce orizzontali", meaning that they were supposed to be painted with hoops rather than the stripes.

Code

Team

Shirts

Shorts

I01

Parma Yellow/blue hoopsBlue

I02

Italia Blue with white trimWhite

I03

Roma Green/black/white hoopsWhite

I04

Rovigo  Dark red/blue stripesBlue

I05

L'Aquila  Green with black trimGreen

I06

Petrarca Padova  Black with white trimBlack

I07

Milano Black/white hoopsWhite

I08

CUS Genova Red/white hoopsWhite

I09

Fiamme  Oro Padova
Important military team of Guardia di Finanza (Italian Police).

Red

White

Lightweight Appendix.

As mentioned in the introduction, lightweight rugby teams are a bit thin on the ground. However, I thought it would be fun to show the ones spotted by collectors and sent to me. The R19 Cardiff is worth highlighting, because it is the dark shorts version from the 1978 range. The catalogue actually stated that the shorts were black, but here they seem the same navy blue as the hoops. I've also illustrated R36 here, and sharp-eyed collectors will have also noticed the l/w R33 elsewhere on this page. It is worth noting that the R36 here has white socks with black hoops, matching football ref 24 (Queens Park) rather than the all black of the h/w version. The owner has a rugby kicker with the same sock colours which suggests that this was indeed a possible variation. Of course, this does make it identical to Milano in the Italian range.

That seems to be it for the rugby range. Next Page will take you to the cricket pages, or choose another option from those below.


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