The Full Wiki

Rugby football: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Did you know ...

More interesting facts on Rugby football

Include this on your site/blog:


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rugby football (usually just "rugby") may refer to two current sports, either rugby league or rugby union, as well as a number of sports through history descended from a common form of football developed in different areas of the United Kingdom.



A field-game resembling rugby football was a game played by ancient Greeks called episkyros (Greek: επίσκυρος).[1][2][3] In Wales such a sport is called cnapan or "criapan", and has medieval roots. The old Irish predecessor of rugby may be caid. The Cornish called it "hurling to goals" which dates back to the bronze age, the West country called it "hurling over country" (neither should to be confused with Gaelic hurling in which the ball is hit with a stick called a hurley or hurl, not carried), East Anglians "Campball", the French "La Soule" or "Chole" (a rough-and-tumble cross-country game). English villages were certainly playing games of 'fute ball' during the 1100s. English boarding schools would certainly have developed their own variants of this game as soon as they were established—the Eton Wall Game being one example.

The "invention" of rugby was therefore not the act of playing early forms of the game at Rugby School or elsewhere but rather the events which led up to its codification.

The game of football which 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 the Victorian mind turned to establishing written rules 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. Rugby would also be considered a dangerous game but fun.

Around this time the influence of Dr Thomas Arnold, Rugby's headmaster, was beginning to be felt around all the other boarding 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.[citation needed]

Status of rugby codes in various countries

Rugby union is both a professional and amateur game, and is dominated by the first tier unions: South Africa, Argentina, Australia, England, France, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Scotland, and Wales. Rugby Union is administered by the International Rugby Board (IRB), whose headquarters are located in Dublin, Ireland. Rugby union is the national sport in New Zealand, South Africa, Wales, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Madagascar. Second and third tier unions include Canada, Chile, Fiji, Georgia, Japan, Namibia, Portugal, Romania, Samoa, Spain, Tonga, the United States and Uruguay. Rugby Union is the most popular form of rugby globally[4], 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.[5] 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.[6]

Rugby league is also both a professional and amateur game, administered on a global level by the Rugby League International Federation. In addition to the countless amateur and semi-professional competitions in countries such as the United States, Russia, Lebanon and across Europe and Australasia, there are two major professional competitions worldwide—the Australasian National Rugby League and the European Super League.


Distinctive features common to both rugby codes (league and union) include the oval ball and the ban on passing 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, 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 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 of the union code include the scrum, where packs of opposing players push against each other for possession, and the lineout, where parallel lines of players from each team, arranged perpendicular to the touch-line (the side line) attempt to catch the ball thrown from touch (the area behind the touch-line).

In the league code, the scrum still exists, but with greatly reduced importance as it is rarely contested and involves far less players making the scrum academic. Set pieces are generally started from the play-the-ball situation. Many of the rugby league positions have similar names and requirements to rugby union positions but there are no flankers in rugby league.


In the UK and Ireland, an old saying goes "Football is a gentlemen's game played by thugs and rugby is a thug's game played by gentlemen".[7] In most rugby-playing countries, 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 schools and grammar schools play rugby union.[8] By contrast, rugby league has traditionally been seen as a working and middle class pursuit. A contrast to this ideology is evident in the neighbouring unions of England and Wales. In England the sport is very much associated with the public schools system (i.e. independent/private schools). In Ireland, rugby union is also associated with private education and the "D4" stereotype, and this image of the spoilt, ignorant, wealthy rugby-playing jock inspired the best-selling Ross O'Carroll Kelly novels. In Wales, rugby is associated with small village teams which consisted of coal miners and other industrial workers playing on their days off.[9] In Australia support for both codes is concentrated in New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory (see Barassi Line). 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.[10]

Exceptions to the above include New Zealand, Wales, France except Paris, Cornwall, Gloucestershire, Somerset, the Borders region of Scotland, County Limerick in Ireland (see Munster), and the Pacific Islands, where rugby union is popular in working class communities. Nevertheless, Rugby League is perceived as the game of the working class people in northern England,[11] and in the Australian states of New South Wales and Queensland.[10]

In the United Kingdom, rugby union fans sometimes use the term "rugger" as an alternative name for the sport, (see Oxford '-er').[12] Also the kick off is known to be called "Rug Off" in some regions. 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".[13] 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".

Rugby ball

The first references made on the shape and size of the rugby ball were not made until late 1890s. In 1892, the rugby ball had a length of 11 to 11 ¼ inches, a circumference (end to end) of 30 to 31 inches, and a circumference in width of 25 ½ to 26 inches. The rugby ball had a weight of 12 to 13 oz and was hand sewn with 8 stitches to the inch. One year later, there were adjustments made regarding the weight of the ball which has been changed to 13 to 14 ½ oz. The next regulation set in 1931 established a reduced width to 24 to 25 1/2 inches and the weight was increased to 13 1/2 to 15 ounces in 1931. [14]

The International Rugby Board established the size and shape of the rugby ball under Law 2. So currently, an official rugby ball is oval and made of four panels, has a length in-line of 280 - 300 millimeters, a circumference (end to end) of 740 - 770 millimeters,and a circumference (in width) of 580 - 620 millimeters. It is made of leather or suitable synthetic material. It may be treated to make it water resistant and easier to grip. The rugby ball may not weight more than 460 grams or less than 410 and has an air pressure of 65.71-68.75 kilopascals, or 0.67-0.70 kilograms per square centimeter, or 9.5-10.0 lbs per square inch. [15] The existence of the spare balls is allowed under the condition that the players or teams will not seek advantages by changing the ball. The IRB also states that smaller sizes may be used in games between younger players.

Rugby Shirt

Rugby shirts were formerly made of cotton but are now made of a mix of cotton and polyester or only polyester as this type of material that does not absorb water or mud such as cotton does in the disadvantage of the player.

The rugby jerseys are slightly different depending on the type of rugby game played. The shirts worn by rugby league players have a large "V" around the neck and they also tend to be more colorful than the rugby union jerseys. [16] The players in the rugby union wear jerseys with a more traditional design, sometimes completely white (Cahors Rugby in France). However, most of the players in rugby union wear one color jerseys with a different color stripes. The number of the player, his or her surname and the logo of the team are placed in both cases on the upper chest, on the front of the jersey.

See also


  1. ^ Episkuros, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, "A Greek-English Lexicon", at Perseus
  2. ^ Origin of Ball Games
  3. ^ Nigel B. Crowther, Sport in Ancient Times (Praeger Series on the Ancient World), Praeger Publishers, January 2007
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Quotations. The quotation has been attributed to Oscar Wilde, it is redolent of Wilde's style, and he is known to have made verifiable quips about the game e.g "My drinking team has a rugby problem". It has been attributed elsewhere to Kipling.
  8. ^ Phillips, Buchler. Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence to Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport. [1]
  9. ^ Sommerville, D. (1997). The Encyclopedia of Rugby Union. Aurum Press, UK. ISBN 1854104810.
  10. ^ a b Collins, T. (2005). "Australian Nationalism and Working-Class Britishness: The Case of Rugby League Football." History Compass, Vol. 3, No. 1.
  11. ^ Collins, T. (1998). Rugby’s Great Split: Class, Culture and the Origins of Rugby League Football (London).
  12. ^ Rugger:
    • OED:Rugger "Slang or colloquial alteration of RUGBY (in the sense of 'Rugby football'). Freq. attrib. rugger-tackle".
    • Tony Collins, Football, rugby, rugger?, BBC sound recording with written transcript, and a comment in prose by Jonnie Robinson, Curator, English accents and dialects, British Library Sound Archive.)
  13. ^ The New Zealand Pocket Oxford Dictionary. ISBN 0195583795.
  14. ^ Rugby football history. [ "History of the Rugby football” 2010-02-22.
  15. ^ International rugby board. "Rugby ball laws" 2010-02-22.
  16. ^ An overview on Rugby Jerseys on 2010-02-22

External links


Simple English

File:Rugby tackle
Someone tackling another person
Part of a series of articles on
Summer Sports
Track and field athletics

Football (soccer)
American football
Cycling·Auto racing
Field Hockey·Handball
Horseback riding

Water sports

Swimming· Diving
Water Polo·Sailing

Martial arts


Net sports

Tennis· Volleyball
Table Tennis· Badminton

Winter Sports

Ice Hockey· Skating


Rugby football is a sport that people play around the world. Many people play rugby in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, France, South Africa, Argentina, Japan, USA, Canada the Pacific Islands and some 100+ other countries. It is the World's premier oval ball football and is usually just called "rugby".

Rugby football is named after a school in England called Rugby school. Legend has it that one day in 1823, a senior boy called William Webb Ellis elected to run with the ball rather than retiring to kick it as was the normal mode of play in Rugby School football matches. "Running in" was not considered quite the done thing then but was later formalised in the laws of Rugby Football (first published in 1846). Association Football was not formalised until 1863 and even then allowed handling of the ball, but not catching it and running with it. In the mid 1860's an attempt was made to provide one set of laws for all football but there were irreconcilable differences (mainly concerning "hacking" i.e. dispossessing an opponent of the ball by kicking him in the shins). The "hackers" went on to eventually play rugby football even though hacking was barred a few years later; while the "anti-hackers" went on to form Association Football eventually banning any handling.

Rugby football is played on a field by two teams of 15 people. The ball is slightly pointy at both ends. At each end of the field there is a field goal made out of poles, shaped like the letter H in English. There is also an area called the in-goal. Players try to take the ball to the other team's in-goal and place it on the ground. If they do that, they score a try. They can also then try to score a goal. To score a goal, they have to kick the ball through the top of the H on the other teams side.

To try and stop the other team scoring, players try to tackle each other. Tackling in rugby means that they try to grab the other person and stop them from moving, or make them fall on the ground.

There are two types of rugby, called rugby union and rugby league. The two types of rugby moved away from each other because they did not agree about the how players were treated when they were injured while playing a game. Rugby union is played by more people than rugby league, but many people play rugby league in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. In most other places, the word "rugby" means rugby union.

Every four years, there is a championship of the rugby union teams from countries all over the world. It is called the Rugby World Cup, and the next Rugby World Cup will be in 2011, in New Zealand.

There is also the Rugby League World Cup made up of member nations of the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF). The tournament has an irregular schedule. The next tournament will be in 2013 hosted by the UK.


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address