Rugby football is a style of football that originated from Rugby School in the United Kingdom. It is seen most prominently in two current sports, rugby league and rugby union, and has influenced the development of others such as American football and Canadian football.
A game of rugby football developed from a version of football played at Rugby School and was originally one of several different versions of football played at English public schools during the 19th century.
The game of football that was played at Rugby School between 1750 and 1859 permitted handling of the ball, but no-one was allowed to run with it in their hands towards the opposition's goal. There was no fixed limit to the number of players per side and sometimes there were hundreds taking part in a kind of enormous rolling maul. This sport caused major injury at times. The innovation of running with the ball was introduced some time between 1859 and 1865. William Webb Ellis has been credited with breaking the local rules by running forwards with the ball in a game in 1823. Shortly after this written rules were established for the sports which had earlier just involved local agreements, and boys from Rugby School produced the first written rules for their version of the sport in 1870.
In the result that the teams were still tied at the end of the match a drop goal shoot out was held. The selected kickers of the two teams would have 1 shot at the goal each and would take turns shooting at the goal until one of the kickers missed.
Around this time the influence of Dr Thomas Arnold, Rugby's headmaster, was beginning to be felt around all the other public schools, and his emphasis on sport as part of a balanced education naturally encouraged the general adoption of the Rugby rules across the country, and, ultimately, the world.
Status of rugby codes in various countries
Rugby union is both a professional and amateur game, and is dominated by the first tier unions: Argentina, Australia, England, France, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa and Wales. Second and third tier unions include Canada, Chile, Colombia, Fiji, Georgia, Japan, Namibia, Portugal, Romania, Samoa, Spain, Tonga, the United States,and Uruguay. Rugby Union is administered by the International Rugby Board (IRB), whose headquarters are located in Dublin, Ireland. It is the national sport in New Zealand, South Africa, Wales, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Madagascar, and is the most popular form of rugby globally, with the seven-a-side version of the game, known as Rugby Sevens, having been admitted into the programme of the Olympic Games from Rio de Janeiro in 2016 onwards. There is also a possibility that Rugby Sevens will also be a demonstration sport at the 2012 London Olympics. The fifteen-a-side version of Rugby Union was last played at the Olympic Games in Paris 1924, with the United States winning the gold medal, defeating France in the final 17-3.
Full article ▸