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The History Behind Rugby

jaxxes parkerMay 23, 2016 09:51 AM

Rugby is a widely popular sport, known for its intense action and brutality, but unfortunately the sport is fairly unknown in the United States. On the popular American show "Friends" one of the characters (Ross) tries to impress a cute girl by attempting to play rugby. Sadly, Ross knew almost nothing about rugby and he ends up getting injured. The cute girl then has to tend to Ross while he is in the hospital.

The history of rugby is usually a bit muddled, with different historians plus rugby clubs believing different versions belonging to the origination of rugby. Many historians believe that rugby and soccer came and developed down different paths all along. Others assume that rugby came from football. To them, William Webb Ellis started out rugby when he was a student at Rugby University in 1823. During a game of soccer, it is believed that he grabbed the ball and ran with it. Although this was against the rules at the moment, other players saw the appeal also and it became more common while in games. This tale is not really substantiated, but it is widely held to be true. In fact, the rugby world cup is called the "William Webb Ellis Trophy."

Not everyone was thrilled with this addition to football, and official it was voted against at the Freemason's Tavern, in London. This caused a division in teams who were for running with the ball and those that weren't. Two separate sports evolved with this meeting.

It wasn't until 1845 that rugby got its first number of rules. Three rugby clubs cooperated and created a set of rules that they would follow. Not all clubs chose to abide by these new regulations and rugby remained somewhat informal until 1870. The formality came with the Rugby Basketball Union which cleaned up the game a tad and cut out a few of the overly aggressive moves. A year later, the Rugby Football Union created the 59 Laws belonging to the Game. In 1871, Scottish rugby players stunted the English rugby players to somewhat of a match (with Scotland gradually winning). By 1880 other nations had established rules for rugby clubs.

Rugby became a paying sport while in the 1890s. Though rugby players were not supposed to be paid, according to the rules belonging to the Rugby Football Union, one club was paying players who missed work to experience "broken time" wages. The particular club was suspended, including a meeting ensued which took twenty-two clubs to secede the Rugby Football Union. These people formed the Northern Partnership, which would eventually turn into the Rugby League. This new union adjusted the rules and quantity of players to draw more spectators, further separating the Rugby Football Union through the Rugby League .

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