Rugby football

Rugby football

Overview


Rugby football is a style of football
Football
Football may refer to one of a number of team sports which all involve, to varying degrees, kicking a ball with the foot to score a goal. The most popular of these sports worldwide is association football, more commonly known as just "football" or "soccer"...

 named after Rugby School
Rugby School
Rugby School is a co-educational day and boarding school located in the town of Rugby, Warwickshire, England. It is one of the oldest independent schools in Britain.-History:...

 in the United Kingdom. It is seen most prominently in two current sports, rugby league
Rugby league
Rugby league football, usually called rugby league, is a full contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players on a rectangular grass field. One of the two codes of rugby football, it originated in England in 1895 by a split from Rugby Football Union over paying players...

 and rugby union
Rugby union
Rugby union, often simply referred to as rugby, is a full contact team sport which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand...

.


A game of rugby football developed from a version of football played at Rugby School
Rugby School
Rugby School is a co-educational day and boarding school located in the town of Rugby, Warwickshire, England. It is one of the oldest independent schools in Britain.-History:...

 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.
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Encyclopedia

Above, rugby union
Rugby union
Rugby union, often simply referred to as rugby, is a full contact team sport which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand...

: South Africa vs. New Zealand
Left, rugby league
Rugby league
Rugby league football, usually called rugby league, is a full contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players on a rectangular grass field. One of the two codes of rugby football, it originated in England in 1895 by a split from Rugby Football Union over paying players...

: New Zealand vs. Australia


Rugby football is a style of football
Football
Football may refer to one of a number of team sports which all involve, to varying degrees, kicking a ball with the foot to score a goal. The most popular of these sports worldwide is association football, more commonly known as just "football" or "soccer"...

 named after Rugby School
Rugby School
Rugby School is a co-educational day and boarding school located in the town of Rugby, Warwickshire, England. It is one of the oldest independent schools in Britain.-History:...

 in the United Kingdom. It is seen most prominently in two current sports, rugby league
Rugby league
Rugby league football, usually called rugby league, is a full contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players on a rectangular grass field. One of the two codes of rugby football, it originated in England in 1895 by a split from Rugby Football Union over paying players...

 and rugby union
Rugby union
Rugby union, often simply referred to as rugby, is a full contact team sport which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand...

.

History



A game of rugby football developed from a version of football played at Rugby School
Rugby School
Rugby School is a co-educational day and boarding school located in the town of Rugby, Warwickshire, England. It is one of the oldest independent schools in Britain.-History:...

 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 sometime between 1859 and 1865. The popular myth of the sport's origin states that Rugby pupil William Webb Ellis
William Webb Ellis
Rev. William Webb Ellis was an Anglican clergyman who is famous for allegedly being the inventor of Rugby football whilst a pupil at Rugby School....

 broke the local rules by running forward with the ball in his hands in a game in 1823. Rugby School produced the first written rules for their version of the sport in 1845.

In the result that the teams were still tied at the end of the match, a drop goal shootout was held. The selected kickers of the two teams would have one shot at the goal each and would take turns shooting at the goal until one of the kickers missed. This is how the game is played today from the kick-off.

Consolidated Timeline for Rugby Union and Rugby League



Date Event
1400-1800 Many different types of football (rugby’s ancestors) are played throughout Britain. Unlike modern soccer, most football games allowed handling the ball.
1830 Running with the ball became common in 1830s at Rugby School and Rugby School football became popular throughout the UK in the 1850s and 1860s.
1863 The Football Association (FA) is formed, formalising the schism between the Football Association and Rugby Football.
1864 The first rugby clubs are formed, followed by hundreds more in Cumberland, Lancashire and Yorkshire in the 1870s and 1880s.
1871 The Rugby Football Union is founded, following a meeting of 21 clubs at the Pall Mall restaurant.
1871 First recognised international rugby match, played between England and Scotland.
1876 Matthew Bloxam’s letter is published in "The Meteor". It claims William Webb Ellis, a pupil at Rugby School, picked up the ball and invented rugby. A Rugby Union inquiry in 1895 found no proof, although it decided to perpetuate the myth.
1877 The number of players is reduced from 20 to 15 a side.
1883 First Home Nations Championship between England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
1886 Concerned at the growing dominance of the largely working-class northern clubs, the Rugby Football Union introduces strict amateur rules.
1888 New Zealand Native football team tours Britain, Australia and New Zealand in 1888 and 1889.
1890 Modern points scoring is uniformly accepted by the Home Nations for the 1890/91 season.
1892 Charges of professionalism are laid against rugby football clubs in Bradford and Leeds, after they compensated players for missing work. This was despite the fact that the English Rugby Football Union (RFU) was allowing other players to be paid, such as the 1888 British Isles team that toured Australia, and the account of Harry Hamill of his payments to represent New South Wales (NSW) against England in 1904.
1893 Yorkshire clubs propose allowing players to be paid six shillings ‘broken-time’payments when they miss work due to matches. RFU votes down proposal. Widespread suspensions of northern clubs and players begin.
1895 A schism in Rugby football results in the formation of the Northern Rugby Football Union (NRFU). Many factors played a part in the split, including the success of working class northern teams, a decree by the RFU banning the playing of rugby at grounds where entrance fees were charged, threat of expulsion from the RFU if clubs cannot prove their amateurism, and the banning of "broken time payments" to players who had taken time off work to play rugby. Twenty-two clubs met at the George Hotel, Huddersfield and formed the "Northern Rugby Football Union". Within fifteen years of that first meeting in Huddersfield, more than 200 RFU clubs had left to join the Northern Union.
1897 To make the game more exciting, the Northern Union abolishes the line-out and reduces value of all goals to two points. Line outs were replaced with punting the ball back into play from the touch-line. Tries worth three points.
1897 The Challenge Cup is established and proves a success from the start. Batley became the first winners, beating Saint Helens 10-3.
1898 Professionalism is introduced in the Northern Union. The professionalism is strictly part-time, with players obliged to have other ‘proper’ jobs.
1900 Rugby Union features at the 1900 Olympics. It finishes in the 1924 Olympics.
1901 The experiment in Rugby League with the punt-out ends after only four years. In future, play will be re-started with a scrum after the ball goes out of play.
1904 First Rugby League international match. England lose to Other Nationalities 3-9, at Wigan.
1905 Wales narrowly beat the first touring New Zealand Rugby Union team, dubbed 'The Game of the Century'.
1906 England play South Africa (known as the Springboks) in Rugby Union for the first time. James Peters is withdrawn from the England squad after the South Africans objected to playing against a black player.
1906 James Peters becomes the first black person to play for England Rugby Union, against Scotland.
1906 In Rugby League the number of players is reduced from fifteen to thirteen a side, in order to allow more room for creative play. The early form of play-the-ball is introduced as the game’s way of re-starting play after a tackle.
1907 Rugby League spreads to Australia and New Zealand. The New South Wales Rugby Football League is founded at Bateman's Hotel in Sydney. The New South Wales Rugby League sets up an eight team competition after a row with the Australian Rugby Union over compensation for injured players. The first Premiership is won by South Sydney. Rugby League goes on to displace Rugby Union as the primary football code in New South Wales and Queensland.
1907 New Zealand Rugby League team tours Britain. Albert Henry Baskerville, a Post Office clerk in New Zealand, organises a touring side branded the ‘All Golds’ in their homeland due to their open professionalism. They play under Rugby Union rules in Sydney on their way to Britain and persuade Australia’s greatest player Dally Messenger to join them on tour. They win the game’s first Test series 2-1, but Baskerville dies of pneumonia on the way home at the age of 25.
1908 First Australian Kangaroo tourists visit Britain. Hunslet become the first club to win all four trophies available to them – the Championship, the Challenge Cup, the Yorkshire Cup and the Yorkshire League. Hunslet were led by Albert Goldthorpe, a dominant figure in the early years of the code.
1910 The Rugby Union Home Nations Championship becomes the Five Nations Championship when France joins.
1910 First Northern Union British Lions tour Australia and New Zealand, winning their Tests in Sydney and Brisbane.
1912 South African Rugby Union tour of the British Isles and France. The tourists achieved a "Grand Slam" of victories over all five major European teams, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France.
1914 British tourists defeat Australia 14-6 to win Ashes in final test, finishing with only ten men in what becomes known as ‘Rorke’s Drift’ Test match.
1922 Northern Union changes its name to the Rugby Football League, the name used for the sport in Australia
1925 All Blacks Rugby Union tour of Britain, France, and Canada. The New Zealanders remained undefeated throughout the tour, earning the title "The Invincibles".
1929 First Rugby League Challenge Cup Final is played at Wembley. Wigan defeat Dewsbury 13-2 in front of 41,500.
1930 Rugby Union’s European Cup starts, outside the Five Nations. It is interrupted by WWII.
1930 Unprecedented fourth Rugby League test match played between Britain and Australia at Rochdale after third test is drawn 0-0. Britain win the test 3-0 to take the Ashes.
1932 First Rugby League match under floodlights.
1933 On New Year’s Eve, England and Australia play in Paris - the first game of Rugby League in France. The French had been excluded from the Rugby Union Five Nations amid allegations of professionalism, so the country was receptive to the new game.
1934 Rugby League is established in France by Jean Galia, former Rugby Union international and champion boxer. By 1939, the French league has 225 clubs.
1941 The French Vichy government bans Rugby League because of its links with the Allies. The code’s funds and property are all confiscated or passed to Rugby Union clubs. Rugby Union is allowed to carry on unscathed and regains much of the ground it had lost to Rugby League. To this day, the Rugby League clubs' assets have never been returned to them.
1943 A Northern Command army Rugby League side defeats a Northern Command Rugby Union side 18-11 at Headingley playing Rugby Union rules. The following year a Combined Services Rugby League side beats a Combined Services Rugby Union side 15-10. These are the only League v Union matches played until 1996.
1944 With the fall of the Vichy Government, the French ban on Rugby League is lifted.
1945 Brian Bevan makes his Rugby League debut for Warrington. Over the next 16 seasons he scored 740 tries for the club in 620 games. His career total was 796, more than 200 ahead of his nearest rival.
1946 Lance Todd trophy first presented to Challenge Cup final man of the match. Wakefield’s Billy Stott is first winner. Lance Todd, killed in a car accident in 1942, was a 1907 NZ tourist who managed Salford from 1928-40.
1946 The most famous Rugby League tour of all, as the Lions sail to Australia on HMS Indomitable, stoking the boilers to keep fit. After a five day train journey across Australia, Gus Risman’s team retain the Ashes, drawing one and winning two Tests.
1949 French Rugby League is banned from using ‘rugby’ in its name. Changes its name to Jeu à Treize (Game of Thirteen).
1951 South American Rugby Union Championship commences.
1951 South African Rugby Union tour of the British Isles and France. South Africa achieved a second five-nation Grand Slam.
1951 Just a decade after being wound up, France win their first Rugby League series in Australia. They repeat the feat by winning again in 1955.
1951 Rugby League’s Cec Thompson becomes the first black player to represent Great Britain in any sport.
1952 Rugby Union’s European Cup restarts.
1954 102,569 spectators watch the 1953–54 Rugby League Challenge Cup final at Bradford, setting a new record for attendance at a rugby football match of either code.
1954 First Rugby League World Cup, the first for either code of rugby, staged in France. Great Britain beat France16-12 in final at Parc des Princes, Paris.
1956 Springboks Rugby Union tour of New Zealand. South Africa suffer their first ever test series loss against New Zealand.
1957 Australia wins the Rugby League World Cup.
1958 Rugby League’s Cec Thompson becomes the first black manager of any sport in Britain.
1958 Great Britain defeat Australia 25-18 in the second Rugby League test match with only eight fit players on the pitch. Alan Prescott plays for 77 minutes with a broken arm.
1960 Great Britain wins the Rugby League World Cup. The tournament is decided on a league system.
1964 Substitutes allowed in Rugby League for the first time, but only for players injured before half-time.
1966 The Rugby League International Board introduces a rule that a team in possession is allowed three play-the-balls and on the fourth tackle a scrum is to be formed. The Southern hemisphere adopts the rule the following year, but it becomes six-tackle rugby in 1972, and in 1983 the scrum was replaced by a handover.
1967 Professional Rugby League adopts Sunday as its main match day, in a bid to reverse declining attendances.
1968 Substitutes allowed in Rugby Union for the first time, but only for injured players.
1969 Springbok Rugby Union tour to Britain and Ireland. The tour is marked by protests against apartheid; South Africa would not tour Europe again until after the end of apartheid.
1969 Rugby League finally gains recognition as a sport in British universities and colleges.
1970 Great Britain wins Rugby League’s Ashes in Australia, after winning the final two test matches.
1970 Rugby League’s World Cup attracts poor crowds in England. Australia win.
1971 New Zealand wins a Rugby League series in Britain for the first time.
1971 Lions Rugby Union tour of Australia and New Zealand. The Lions are the only team to have ever won a test series in New Zealand.
1971 Springbok Rugby Union tour of Australia is marked by protests.
1972 Timekeepers and sirens are introduced into Rugby League for first time.
1972 Great Britain regains the Rugby League World Cup in France.
1973 Rugby Union’s Barbarians defeat the All Blacks at Cardiff Arms Park.
1973 The British Amateur Rugby League Association sets itself up to run the sport at grassroots level after complaining of neglect by the RFL. Formal re-unification takes 30 years.
1974 Rugby Union’s Lions tour of South Africa. The notorious '99' call.
1975 Wales and England field separate teams in the Rugby League World Cup, played over several months in both hemispheres. Australia takes the trophy by finishing one point ahead of England in the final league table.
1976 New Zealand Rugby Union tour of South Africa. Twenty-eight nations boycott the 1976 Summer Olympics in protest against the International Olympic Committee's refusal to ban New Zealand from the games for defying the IOC's ban on sporting contact with South Africa.
1978 New Zealand Rugby Union tour of Britain and Ireland - New Zealand completes Grand Slam of victories over England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales for the first time.
1980 Australia establishes Rugby League’s State of Origin format, where Queensland and New South Wales born players face each other. From 1982 onwards, it is played as a three match series and is recognised as the fiercest, toughest rugby in the world.
1981 The ‘Sin Bin’ is introduced into Rugby League, in Australia.
1981 Springbok Rugby Union tour of New Zealand.
1981 South Africa is banned by the International Rugby Board from international Rugby Union competition until such time as apartheid ended.
1982 Rugby Union’s Pacific Tri-Nations between Tonga, Fiji and Samoa.
1982 Australian Rugby League tourists win all tour games for first time and become known as 'The Invincibles'.
1983 Rugby League try is increased to four points. The character of the game changes further with the introduction of the turn-over possession on the sixth tackle, drastically reducing the number of scrums. The Sin Bin is introduced for offences that do not merit a sending off.
1983 The Rugby League international transfer ban is lifted.
1984 Australia Rugby Union tour of Britain and Ireland - Australia completes the Grand Slam of victories over England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales for the first time.
1987 New Zealand Rugby Union defeats France 29-9 in the first Rugby Union World Cup, held in New Zealand and Australia.
1987 A "free gangway" between the two codes of rugby at amateur level is introduced, but individual cases of discrimination continues.
1987 The RFU introduces the Courage Leagues into Rugby Union - a league pyramid with roughly 1000 clubs playing in 108 leagues each with promotion and relegation.
1988 Rugby League’s Wigan start their run of eight Challenge Cup final victories. The modern version of the Team of All the Talents, featuring players like Ellery Hanley, Andy Gregory , Jason Robinson and Shaun Edwards dominate for a decade, winning three World Cup titles in the process.
1989 Widnes beat Canberra 30-18 in first official Rugby League World Club Championship.
1990 Russia takes up Rugby League. Russia goes on to appear in the 2000 World Cup and to enter club sides in the Challenge Cup.
1990 Blood-bin introduced into Rugby League.
1990 The ban on French Rugby League using ‘rugby’ in its name is lifted. It changes its name back to Rugby à Treize.
1991 Australia defeat England 12-6 at Twickenham, London, in the second Rugby Union World Cup, held in the British Isles and France.
1992 The Springboks are readmitted to international Rugby Union.
1992 73,631 at Wembley see Australia defeat Great Britain 10-6 in the Rugby League World Cup final.
1994 David Hinchcliffe MP introduces the Sports (Discrimination) Bill, to ban discrimination of amateur players of Rugby League and other sports.
1994 The three British Armed Services recognises Rugby League as a sport. Rugby League would be on the same footing as other sports in the Services.
1995 The International Rugby Board declares Rugby Union an 'open' professional game. It removes all restrictions on payments or benefits to those connected with the game.
1995 South Africa defeats New Zealand 15-12 (after extra time) at Ellis Park, Johannesburg in the third Rugby Union World Cup, held in South Africa.
1995 Rugby League centenary is celebrated by reviving the World Cup in Britain. Australia beat England 16-8 in the final at Wembley. Fiji, Tonga, South Africa and Western Samoa join the established nations in a successful tournament, whilst Ireland, Scotland, the USA, Russia, the Cook Islands, Moldova and Morocco all compete in an Emerging Nations World Cup.
1995 The Heineken Cup is formed as a competition for 12 Rugby Union European clubs.
1995 As part of the struggle for television rights in Australia, the RFL in Britain is offered £87 million by News Corporation to set up Rugby League’s Super League. The game agrees to switch to a summer season, with Paris St Germain joining leading British clubs in a 14 team competition.
1996 The RFL introduces video referees into Rugby League’s Super League.
1996 The Rugby Union’s Tri Nations Series begins between Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
1996 Bath Rugby and Wigan RLFC, England's top union and league sides respectively, made history by playing against each other at both codes of rugby. The first match was at Maine Road, Manchester under League rules, Wigan beating Bath 82-6; then two weeks later the return match was held at Twickenham under Union rules, Bath 44 beating Wigan 19.
1998 In Australia, the Super League war came to an end, with News International and the Australian Rugby League agreeing to merge their competitions to create the National Rugby League
1998 Rugby sevens at the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games commences.
1999 IRB Sevens World Series commences.
1999 Australia defeat France 35-12 at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff in the fourth Rugby Union World Cup, held in Wales with matches also being played in England, Scotland, Ireland and France.
2000 The IRB introduces the ‘Sin Bin’ into international Rugby Union, after being trialled on the domestic stage within the southern hemisphere's Super 12 competition.
2000 The IRB introduces the 'Television Match Official' (TMO) into international Rugby Union, after being trialled on the domestic stage within the southern hemisphere's Super 12 competition.
2000 Rugby Union’s Courage League is replaced by the Zurich Premiership.
2000 The Rugby Union’s Five Nations becomes the Six Nations Championship, when Italy joins.
2000 New Zealand narrowly defeats Australia at Stadium Australia in Rugby Union, in front of a world-record crowd of 109,874.
2001 Lions Rugby Union tour of Australia. The Wallabies defeat the Lions in a series for the first time ever.
2003 Rugby Union’s Churchill Cup commences with Canada, the USA, and England Saxons (England "A") as permanent participants and one invited team (later three).
2003 England defeat Australia 20-17 (after extra time) at Stadium Australia, Sydney in the fifth Rugby Union World Cup, held in Australia.
2003 The Rugby League European Federation (RLEF) is created to promote the sport across Europe.
2006 French team Catalans Dragons are granted a Rugby League Super League licence.
2007 South Africa defeat England 15-6 at Stade de France, in the sixth Rugby Union World Cup, held in France with matches also being played in Scotland and Wales.
2008 Rugby League holds its first World Cup since the disastrous 2000 tournament.
2011 New Zealand defeat France 8-7 at Eden Park, Auckland, in the seventh Rugby Union World Cup, held in New Zealand.
2011 14 teams qualify for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup: Australia, England, New Zealand, Samoa, Wales, Fiji, France, Papua New Guinea, Ireland, Scotland, Tonga, Cook Islands, Italy and United States of America.

Status of rugby codes in various countries


Rugby union
Rugby union
Rugby union, often simply referred to as rugby, is a full contact team sport which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand...

 is both a professional and amateur game, and is dominated by the first tier unions: Argentina
Rugby union in Argentina
Rugby union is a popular team sport played in Argentina. The first rugby match played in the country dates back to 1873, as the game was introduced by the British...

, Australia
Rugby union in Australia
Rugby union is the third most popular winter sport in Australia, with its history dating back to 1864.The principal competition in Australian rugby union is Super Rugby, which is a multi-regional competition across the southern hemisphere...

, England
Rugby union in England
Rugby union is one of the leading professional and recreational team sports in England. A popular myth is that Rugby was created in England in 1823, when William Webb Ellis picked up the ball and ran with it during a football match at Rugby School. In 1871 the RFU was formed by 21 clubs and the...

, France
Rugby union in France
Rugby union is the second most popular team sport in France, after association football, and is the dominant sport in most of the southern half of the country. It was first introduced in the early 1870s by British residents. Elite French clubs participate in the professional domestic club league,...

, Ireland
Rugby union in Ireland
Rugby union is a popular team sport played in Ireland. The sport is organised on an all-Ireland basis with one team, governing body and league for both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland...

, Italy
Rugby union in Italy
Rugby union was introduced to Italy in the early 1900s. The Super 10 competition is the main national club competition. The two professional teams in the country are active in Pro12 and also participate in the Heineken Cup. Four italian clubs from the national championship compete in the European...

, New Zealand
Rugby union in New Zealand
Rugby union is the unofficial national sport of New Zealand. Rugby, as it is generally referred to by New Zealanders, is an integral part of New Zealand culture. The national team, the All Blacks, rank as the top international team in the world. The sport was known in New Zealand from 1870, and the...

, Scotland
Rugby union in Scotland
Rugby union is a popular team sport in Scotland. The national side today competes in the annual Six Nations Championship and the Rugby World Cup. The first ever international rugby match was played on March 27, 1871, at Raeburn Place in Edinburgh, when Scotland defeated England in front of 4,000...

, South Africa
Rugby union in South Africa
Rugby union is a popular team sport played in South Africa. Along with cricket and football it is one of the most popular ball sports in South Africa...

 and Wales
Rugby union in Wales
Rugby union is the national sport of Wales and is considered a large part of national culture. Rugby is thought to have reached Wales in the 1850s, with the national body, the Welsh Rugby Union being formed in 1881...

. Second and third tier unions include Brazil
Rugby union in Brazil
Rugby union is a minor but growing sport Brazil, with an increasing popularity at universities across the country.Rugby union is played regularly in 21 of Brazil's 26 states and in the Federal District. The sport is not widely played in schools, but is common in universities, more specifically the...

, Canada
Rugby union in Canada
Rugby union is a minority team sport in Canada; it is relatively strong as a participation sport, particularly in several hotspots like British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador, but does not attract the same level of spectator support...

, Chile
Rugby union in Chile
Rugby union is a fairly popular sport in Chile.-Governing body:The Federación de Rugby de Chile was founded on 4 May 1953. Their statutes and regulations were officialized at 16 December 1963...

, Colombia
Colombia national rugby union team
The Colombia national rugby union team represents Colombia in the sport of rugby union. The team is classified as a tier three nation by the International Rugby Board . They have thus far not qualified for a Rugby World Cup, but have participated in qualifying tournaments...

, Fiji
Rugby union in Fiji
Rugby union is a popular team sport that is played in Fiji. It is considered to be the national sport of the country. The sport was introduced in the 1880s. Fiji is defined as a tier two rugby nation by the International Rugby Board . The national team has competed at the Rugby World Cup and made...

, Georgia
Rugby union in Georgia
Rugby union is a popular team sport played in Georgia. Rugby union is considered the most popular sport in Georgia, after football.- Governing body :The governing body for rugby union in Georgia is the Georgia Rugby Union...

, Japan
Rugby union in Japan
Rugby union in Japan is a popular sport. Japan has the fourth largest population of rugby union players in the world and the sport has been played there for over a century...

, Namibia
Rugby union in Namibia
Rugby union is a popular team sport played in Namibia, and its predecessor province of South West Africa. Because Namibia was formerly ruled by South Africa, rugby in Namibia was frequently influenced by events in that country, and its domestic competition.-Governing body:The Namibia Rugby Union...

 , Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

 , Portugal
Rugby union in Portugal
Rugby union is a growing popular sport in Portugal, though still a long distance from the national sport association football. The sport is essentially amateur, with some degree of semi-professionalisation in its top flight league and the national rugby union team...

, Romania
Rugby union in Romania
Rugby union is a fairly popular team sport played in Romania with a tradition of more than 90 years. Romania's men's national team was 18th in the IRB World Rankings as of July 2011. -Governing body:...

, Samoa
Rugby union in Samoa
Rugby union is the national sport of Samoa, and the national teams in both the standard 15-man game and its seven-man variant are consistently competitive against teams from vastly more populous nations.-Governing body:...

, Spain
Rugby union in Spain
Rugby union in Spain is a growing team sport. The national side has played at the 1999 Rugby World Cup and is considered one of the stronger European nations outside the Six Nations Championship. Spanish club rugby is divided into divisions....

, Tonga
Rugby union in Tonga
Rugby union is the national sport of Tonga. Tonga are considered to be a tier 2 rugby nation by the International Rugby Board.Tonga has four main rugby playing islands, Vava'u which produced players like Epi Taione, Ha'apai which produced players like Jonah Lomu, Eua which produced the Vunipola...

, the United States
Rugby union in the United States
Rugby union in the United States is a growing national sport. It is played at the youth, high school, club, semi-professional, and international levels. The United States is a Tier 2 rugby nation, as defined by the International Rugby Board, which means that it is not currently competitive at the...

 and Uruguay
Rugby union in Uruguay
Rugby union is considered one of the most popular sports in Uruguay. The national team, commonly known as Los Teros, have been playing international rugby since the late 1940s and have made appearances in two world cups - once in 1999 and again in 2003.- Governing body :The Unión de Rugby del...

. Rugby Union is administered by the International Rugby Board
International Rugby Board
The International Rugby Board is the governing body for the sport of rugby union. It was founded in 1886 as the International Rugby Football Board by the unions of Scotland, Wales and Ireland. England refused to join until 1890. The International Rugby Football Board changed its name to the...

 (IRB), whose headquarters are located in Dublin, Ireland. It is the national sport
National sport
A national sport or national pastime is a sport or game that is considered to be an intrinsic part of the culture of a nation. Some sports are de facto national sports, as baseball is in the U.S., while others are de jure as lacrosse and ice hockey are in Canada.-De jure national sports:-De facto...

 in New Zealand, South Africa, Wales, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Madagascar
Rugby union in Madagascar
Rugby union in Madagascar is a popular team sport. Madagascar is ranked 43rd worldwide by the International Rugby Board , and boasts over 22,540 registered players and more than 410 rugby clubs...

, and is the most popular form of rugby globally, with the seven-a-side version of the game, known as Rugby Sevens
Rugby sevens
Rugby sevens, also known as seven-a-side or VIIs, is a variant of rugby union in which teams are made up of seven players, instead of the usual 15, with shorter matches. Rugby sevens is administered by the International Rugby Board , the body responsible for rugby union worldwide...

, 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.

Rugby league
Rugby league
Rugby league football, usually called rugby league, is a full contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players on a rectangular grass field. One of the two codes of rugby football, it originated in England in 1895 by a split from Rugby Football Union over paying players...

 is also both a professional and amateur game, administered on a global level by the Rugby League International Federation
Rugby League International Federation
The Rugby League International Federation is the world governing body of rugby league football. It was formed in 1998 in Sydney, Australia. Its purpose is to, "foster, develop, extend, govern and administer the game of Rugby League throughout the world". Its headquarters are in Sydney, Australia,...

. In addition to amateur and semi-professional competitions in the United States
Rugby league in the United States
Rugby league football is a participation and spectator sport in the United States. Historically rugby league has been less popular in the United States than rugby union and domestic sports such as baseball, American football, basketball, and ice hockey, but the establishment of a national team and...

, Russia
Rugby league in Russia
Rugby league is a team sport in Russia. The Russian Rugby League Federation is the governing body of rugby league in Russia.-Olympic Status of Rugby Union Sevens and the expulsion of Rugby League from the State Register of Sports of Russia:...

, Lebanon
Rugby league in Lebanon
Rugby league is a team sport that has been played in Lebanon since 2002.The seeds of rugby league in Lebanon in fact lie in Australia. A group of Australian-born rugby league players with Lebanese heritage, mostly from inner-city Sydney formed a side with a view to entering the 2000 Rugby League...

, Serbia
Rugby league in Serbia
Rugby league is a team sport that is played in Serbia, which now has over 250 registered players nationwide, approximately 150 of which are juniors. These numbers are rapidly increasing each year...

, Europe and Australasia, there are two major professional competitions – the Australasian National Rugby League
National Rugby League
The National Rugby League is the top league of professional rugby league football clubs in Australasia. The NRL's main competition, called the Telstra Premiership , is contested by sixteen teams, fifteen of which are based in Australia with one based in New Zealand...

 and the European Super League
Super League
Super League is the top-level professional rugby league football club competition in Europe. As a result of sponsorship from engage Mutual Assurance the competition is currently officially known as the engage Super League. The League features fourteen teams: thirteen from England and one from...

. International Rugby League is dominated by Australia, England
England national rugby league team
The England national rugby league team represent England in international rugby league football tournaments. The team has now seen a revival, having largely formed from the Great Britain team, who also represented Wales, Scotland and Ireland. The team is run under the auspices of the Rugby Football...

 and New Zealand
New Zealand national rugby league team
The New Zealand national rugby league team has represented New Zealand in rugby league football since intercontinental competition began for the sport in 1907. Administered by the New Zealand Rugby League, they are commonly known as the Kiwis, after the native bird of that name...

. Other nations from the South Pacific and Europe also play in the Pacific Cup and European Cup respectively.

Laws



Distinctive features common to both rugby codes include the oval ball and the ban on throwing the ball forward, so that players can gain ground only by running with the ball or by kicking it. As the sport of rugby league moved further away from its union counterpart, rule changes were implemented with the aim of making a faster-paced and more try-orientated game.

The main differences between the two games, besides league having teams of 13 players and union of 15, involve the tackle
Tackle (football move)
Most forms of football have a move known as a tackle. The primary purposes of tackling is to disposses an opponent of the ball, to stop the player from gaining ground towards goal or to stop them from carrying out what they intend....

 and its aftermath:
  • Union players contest possession following the tackle: depending on the situation, either a ruck or a maul can occur. League players may not contest possession after making a tackle: play is continued with a play-the-ball.
  • In league, if the team in possession fails to score before a set of six tackles, it surrenders possession. Union has no six-tackle rule; a team can keep the ball for an unlimited number of tackles before scoring as long as it maintains possession and does not commit an offence.


Set pieces
Set piece (football)
The term set piece or set play is used in association football and rugby to refer to a situation when the ball is returned to open play following a stoppage, particularly in a forward area of the pitch. Most often, the term is used to refer to free kicks and corners, but sometimes throw-ins. Many...

 of the union code include the "scrum
Scrum (rugby union)
In rugby union a scrum is a means of restarting play after a minor infringement. It involves up to eight players from each team, known as the pack or forward pack, binding together in three rows and interlocking with the free opposing teams forwards. At this point the ball is fed into the gap...

", in which packs of opposing players push against each other for possession, and the "line-out
Line-out
A line-out is the means by which, in rugby union, the ball is put back into play after it has gone into touch. It is the equivalent of the throw-in in soccer. Rugby league abolished line-outs in 1897...

", in which parallel lines of players from each team, arranged perpendicular to the touch-line
Touch-line
The touch line is the line on either side of the playing area of a games of rugby league, rugby union and association football . In many other sports it is called a side-line....

, attempt to catch the ball thrown from touch
Touch (rugby)
Touch is the area outside two touch-lines which define the sides of the playing area in a game of rugby football. As the touch-lines are not part of the playing area they are usually included as part of touch....

. A rule has been added to line-outs which allows the jumper to be pulled down once a players's feet are on the ground.

In the league code, the scrum still exists, but with greatly reduced importance as it involves fewer players and is rarely contested. Set pieces are generally started from the play-the-ball situation. Many of the rugby league positions
Rugby league positions
A rugby league football team consists of thirteen players on the field, with four substitutes on the bench. Players are divided into two general categories: "forwards" and "backs"....

 have similar names and requirements to rugby union positions
Rugby union positions
In the game rugby union, there are fifteen players on each team, comprising eight forwards and seven backs . Depending upon the competition, there may be up to eight replacement players. Early games consisted primarily of forwards that attacked plus a handful of "tends" that played back in defence...

, but there are no flankers in rugby league.

Culture


The Home Countries

In England, rugby union is widely regarded as an "establishment" sport, played mostly by members of the upper and middle classes. For example, many students at private school
Private school
Private schools, also known as independent schools or nonstate schools, are not administered by local, state or national governments; thus, they retain the right to select their students and are funded in whole or in part by charging their students' tuition, rather than relying on mandatory...

s and grammar school
Grammar school
A grammar school is one of several different types of school in the history of education in the United Kingdom and some other English-speaking countries, originally a school teaching classical languages but more recently an academically-oriented secondary school.The original purpose of mediaeval...

s play rugby union. In contrast, rugby league has traditionally been seen as a working class pursuit. An exception to this stereotype is evident in the neighbouring countries of England and Wales. In England rugby union is associated with the public school system. In Wales, rugby is associated with small village teams which consisted of coal miners and other industrial workers playing on their days off. In Ireland, and in particular Leinster
Leinster
Leinster is one of the Provinces of Ireland situated in the east of Ireland. It comprises the ancient Kingdoms of Mide, Osraige and Leinster. Following the Norman invasion of Ireland, the historic fifths of Leinster and Mide gradually merged, mainly due to the impact of the Pale, which straddled...

, rugby union is also associated with private education and the "D4
Dublin 4
Dublin 4 is a postal district of Dublin, Ireland including the suburbs of Sandymount, Ballsbridge, Donnybrook, Ringsend and Irishtown on the South side of Dublin....

" stereotype, and this image of the spoilt, ignorant, wealthy rugby-playing jock inspired the best-selling Ross O'Carroll Kelly novels.

In Australia support for both codes is concentrated in New South Wales
New South Wales
New South Wales is a state of :Australia, located in the east of the country. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively. To the east, the state is bordered by the Tasman Sea, which forms part of the Pacific Ocean. New South Wales...

, Queensland
Queensland
Queensland is a state of Australia, occupying the north-eastern section of the mainland continent. It is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean...

 and the Australian Capital Territory
Australian Capital Territory
The Australian Capital Territory, often abbreviated ACT, is the capital territory of the Commonwealth of Australia and is the smallest self-governing internal territory...

 (see Barassi Line
Barassi Line
The Barassi Line was first suggested by Professor Ian Turner in his 1978 Ron Barassi Memorial Lecture to refer to a dividing line in Australia that divides areas where Australian rules is the dominant winter code of football from those where rugby football codes are most popular...

). The same perceived class barrier as exists between the two games in England also occurs in these states, fostered by rugby union's prominence and support at private schools.

Exceptions to the above include New Zealand (although league is still considered to be a lower class game by many, or a game for 'westies' referring to lower class western suburbs of Auckland and more recently the poorer southern Auckland where the game is popular), Wales, France except Paris, Cornwall
Cornwall
Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

, Gloucestershire, Somerset
Somerset
The ceremonial and non-metropolitan county of Somerset in South West England borders Bristol and Gloucestershire to the north, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the south-east, and Devon to the south-west. It is partly bounded to the north and west by the Bristol Channel and the estuary of the...

, the Borders region of Scotland
Scottish Borders
The Scottish Borders is one of 32 local government council areas of Scotland. It is bordered by Dumfries and Galloway in the west, South Lanarkshire and West Lothian in the north west, City of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian to the north; and the non-metropolitan counties of Northumberland...

, County Limerick
County Limerick
It is thought that humans had established themselves in the Lough Gur area of the county as early as 3000 BC, while megalithic remains found at Duntryleague date back further to 3500 BC...

 in Ireland (see Munster
Munster Rugby
Munster Rugby is an Irish professional rugby union team based in Munster, that competes in the RaboDirect Pro12 and Heineken Cup.The team represents the Irish Rugby Football Union Munster Branch which is one of four primary branches of the IRFU, and is responsible for rugby union in the Irish...

), and the Pacific Islands
Pacific Islands
The Pacific Islands comprise 20,000 to 30,000 islands in the Pacific Ocean. The islands are also sometimes collectively called Oceania, although Oceania is sometimes defined as also including Australasia and the Malay Archipelago....

, where rugby union is popular in working class communities. Nevertheless, Rugby League
Rugby league
Rugby league football, usually called rugby league, is a full contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players on a rectangular grass field. One of the two codes of rugby football, it originated in England in 1895 by a split from Rugby Football Union over paying players...

 is perceived as the game of the working class people in northern England
Northern England
Northern England, also known as the North of England, the North or the North Country, is a cultural region of England. It is not an official government region, but rather an informal amalgamation of counties. The southern extent of the region is roughly the River Trent, while the North is bordered...

, and in the Australian states of New South Wales
New South Wales
New South Wales is a state of :Australia, located in the east of the country. It is bordered by Queensland, Victoria and South Australia to the north, south and west respectively. To the east, the state is bordered by the Tasman Sea, which forms part of the Pacific Ocean. New South Wales...

 and Queensland
Queensland
Queensland is a state of Australia, occupying the north-eastern section of the mainland continent. It is bordered by the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales to the west, south-west and south respectively. To the east, Queensland is bordered by the Coral Sea and Pacific Ocean...

.

In the United Kingdom, rugby union fans sometimes use the term "rugger" as an alternative name for the sport, (see Oxford '-er'). New Zealanders refer to rugby in general as "footy" or "football", rugby union simply as either "rugby" or "union" and to rugby league as "rugby league" or "league". In the U.S., people who play rugby are sometimes called "ruggers", a term little used elsewhere except facetiously.

Those considered to be heavily involved with the rugby union lifestyle—including heavy drinking and striped jumpers – sometimes identify as “rugger buggers”.

The Rest of the World

In France, rugby is widely played and has a strong tradition in the Basque people along the border regions between Spain and France. It rivals the popularity of Association Football.
The game is very popular in South Africa among both blacks and whites, having been introduced by English-speaking settlers in the 19th century. British colonists also brought the game with them to Australia and New Zealand, where the game is widely played. It has spread thence to much of Polynesia, having particularly strong followings in Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga.

Rugby ball




In rugby union, the International Rugby Board the size and shape of the ball under Law 2(also known as Law E.R.B); an official rugby union ball is oval and made of four panels, has a length in-line of 280–300 millimetres, a circumference (end to end) of 740–770 millimetres, and a circumference (in width) of 580–620 millimetres. It is made of leather or suitable synthetic material, and may be treated to make it water resistant
Waterproofing
Waterproof or water-resistant describes objects relatively unaffected by water or resisting the ingress of water under specified conditions. Such items may be used in wet environments or under water to specified depths...

 and easier to grip. The rugby ball may not weigh more than 460 grams or less than 410 and has an air pressure of 65.71–68.75 kilopascals
Pascal (unit)
The pascal is the SI derived unit of pressure, internal pressure, stress, Young's modulus and tensile strength, named after the French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer, and philosopher Blaise Pascal. It is a measure of force per unit area, defined as one newton per square metre...

, or 0.67–0.70 kilograms per square centimetre, or 9.5–10.0 lbs per square inch. Spare balls are allowed under the condition that players or teams do not seek an advantage by changing the ball. Smaller sized balls may also be used in games between younger players.
Much larger versions of traditional balls are also available for purchase, but these are mainly for their novelty attraction.

Rugby shirt



Rugby shirts were formerly made of cotton but are now made of a cotton and polyester
Polyester
Polyester is a category of polymers which contain the ester functional group in their main chain. Although there are many polyesters, the term "polyester" as a specific material most commonly refers to polyethylene terephthalate...

 mix. This material has the advantage of not absorbing as much water or mud as cotton alone.

The rugby jerseys are slightly different depending on the type of rugby game played. The shirts worn by rugby league players commonly have a large "V" around the neck and they also tend to be more colourful than the rugby union jerseys. The players in the rugby union wear jerseys with a more traditional design, sometimes completely white (Cahors Rugby
Cahors Rugby
Cahors Rugby are a French rugby union club. They currently compete in the Fédérale 1 competition, the third division of rugby in France. The club was established in 1908. They play at Stade Lucien Desprats, in Cahors...

 in France). However, most of the players in rugby union wear one color jerseys with a different color stripes.The number of the player and his or her surname are placed on the upper back of the jersey (often name above number, with the number being significantly larger and more central), and the logo of the team on the upper left chest.

See also



  • Comparison of rugby league and rugby union
    Comparison of rugby league and rugby union
    A comparison of rugby league and rugby union is possible because of the games' similarities and shared origins. In English rugby football, towards the end of the 19th century, a schism developed over the way the sport was run; one of the major disputes was between those who favoured strict...

  • Medieval football
  • Rugby sevens
    Rugby sevens
    Rugby sevens, also known as seven-a-side or VIIs, is a variant of rugby union in which teams are made up of seven players, instead of the usual 15, with shorter matches. Rugby sevens is administered by the International Rugby Board , the body responsible for rugby union worldwide...

  • Tag Rugby
    Tag Rugby
    Tag Rugby, also known as rippa rugby, flag rugby league or flag rugby, is a non-contact team game in which each player wears a belt that has two velcro tags attached to it, or shorts with velcro patches. The mode of play is based on rugby league with many similarities to touch rugby...


External links