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12/24/2021 at 12:13

A brief history of rugby

Do you ever wonder how some of the things we find regular today even started? It is sometimes completely mind-boggling for me to imagine that hundreds of years ago the world looked absolutely different. Take sports for example – I cannot imagine a time when some of our most popular sports in the world didn’t even exist. And then when they were invented, they probably looked a lot different than they do now. I am particularly interested in the history of rugby since that is my favourite sport and I want to learn everything I can about it. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and see how rugby was even invented!

How it began 

The beginning of rugby is a very interesting story, or… a legend. It is said that there was a match at Rugby School in 1823 (that is obviously where the name came from) and one of the players, William Webb Ellis, placed the ball in his hands, which you are definitely not allowed to do in football, and started running with it. Now there is some evidence of a sport very similar to rugby having been played many many years before this event at Rugby School but I am choosing to ignore that. This tale is just so legendary I want to believe it is how rugby actually started. Whether or not the story is true is not really important but the name William Webb Ellis will forever be tied to the sport – even the trophy of the rugby World Cup is called Webb Ellis Cup. 

Rugby Football Union

After the sport was invented many schools accepted it but also adapted the rules. The game changed significantly and the first official rulebook was recorded in 1871. This also marks the time of establishing the Rugby Football Union, as well as the first international match that happened between Scotland and England (Scotland won if you were interested). 

Trans-Continental Play

In 1888 Britain’s rugby team travelled across the world for a rugby tournament, which was the first trans-continental play, and one year after that the team from New Zealand travelled to Britain. This was a sign that rugby was gaining popularity and becoming more and more common across the world. Finally, in 1900 it was played at the Olympics where the French team won. 

Present time 

Eventually, more and more countries joined in on the rugby craze and many had their national teams which went on tours and competed in major tournaments. There are many different tournaments and cups nowadays such as the Pacific Cup and European Cup, as well as the World Cup of course. Australia, England, and New Zealand remained some of the countries known for their rugby teams and their love for this amazing sport.