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May 28, 2019

3 Surprising Facts You Didn’t Know About Rugby


The game of rugby has a history dating back to the Greek and Roman times of history but came to prominence in the 19th-century when it grew out of a form of soccer. If you are interested in playing rugby you should be physically and mentally ready for a tough game which has grown up around the world to become popular with millions, according to World Rugby. There are various forms of rugby you can play across the planet including the two main types of Rugby Union and Rugby League.

1. The founder of the game

The popular story of how the game of rugby was invented in its modern form dates back to 1823 when a schoolboy at the private Rugby School, William Webb Ellis picked up a soccer ball and ran with it. This mythical story has made a legend of Webb Ellis, after whom the Rugby World Cup trophy is named, but the story has been called into question by many. The BBC states the story has yet to be proven as having any historical basis, but we all enjoy a fun story and that of William Webb Ellis gives a human face to the evolution of a major sport.

2. Rugby Union or Rugby League

The Rugby Football Union was created in 1871 in England and developed the first laws of the game. However, the issue of paying players soon became a problem as you would believe imagine when the game was played by workers from local mills and factories. The split between teams in northern England who wanted to pay their players and the strictly amateur teams in southern England led to the development of two codes of rugby. Rugby League is played with only 13 players while the better known Rugby Union is played with 15. Despite the two codes sharing traits, the differences between the two are large enough to see them identified as different sports.

3. Rugby balls could be fatal

The development of the game of rugby we all love have included the ball taking on an oval shape but this was not always the case. The original shape of the ball was variable because the interior was made from a pig’s bladder blown up by the breath of the user. Diseased bladders would cause problems for many who would become ill after blowing up their new ball. The wife of an early rugby and soccer ball manufacturer, Richard Lindon fell ill and died after helping blow up balls and receiving a series of diseased bladders.

The game of rugby has changed over the years but the basics of the game have barely changed since it was created in the early 19th-century. As with all games, rugby has been through periods of popularity around the world with the USA winning the last Olympic event held in 1924. The impact of rugby on popular culture has been huge with the first national anthem sung before a major sporting event was completed in 1905 in a game between New Zealand and Wales. The largely Welsh crowd burst into the anthem, “Land of my Fathers” following the traditional Haka completed by All Blacks team.

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