Rugby's Roots Revealed
Originating in England, rugby traces back to the 19th century. Legend has it that in 1823, William Webb Ellis, while playing football, picked up the ball and ran, unknowingly creating the distinctive feature of rugby.
Formation of Rugby Rules
The first formalized rules of rugby were drafted at Rugby School in 1845. Before then, schools played by their own internal rules, leading to much confusion and variation in the early versions of the game.
Rugby's Global Expansion
By the late 19th century, rugby had spread beyond Britain to countries like New Zealand, Australia, France, and South Africa, often through British expatriates and military personnel who took the game abroad.
Split of Rugby Codes
In 1895, a schism in England led to the separation of rugby union and rugby league. The split was rooted in class and compensation disputes, with rugby league allowing professional play.
First International Matches
The first international rugby match was played between Scotland and England in 1871. By 1886, the International Rugby Football Board (now World Rugby) was formed to govern the rules of the game internationally.
Surprising Rugby Beginnings
Women's rugby dates back to the late 1800s, with the first recorded match played in 1881 in New Zealand. Despite social barriers, women's rugby has a longer history than most people realize.
Rugby's Olympic Heritage
Rugby union was introduced to the Olympics in 1900 and remained until 1924. It made a return as rugby sevens, a faster-paced version of the game, in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.