Those getting into rugby football would do well to know that the sport has a rich history that’s divided into the codes: the rugby union and the rugby league. Originating in England, both codes (as well as rugby’s other variations like Gridiron and association football) are now wholly different sports popular in many countries all over the world. Below are some interesting trivia about the game.
This sport is actually named after a school. Rugby School in Warwickshire, UK, is the birthplace of rugby. It was originally played more like soccer until a student named William Webb Ellis ran with the ball in 1823. But this won’t become the rule until many years later.
The earliest reference to rugby football in the Oxford English Dictionary dates back to 1852, and rugby balls were initially shaped like plums as they were made from pig bladders. The rugby union code first played internationally in January 1871, won’t become an official professional sport until 1995.
At one time, the sport involved hundreds of players, as there were no limits to the number of players per team. In fact, in a game between Rugby School and Queen Adelaide in 1839, one side had 75 players and the other 225.
Rugby history is not without its set of thrills and drama. In 2003, England won the rugby World Cup with just 26 seconds remaining in extra time, after Jonny Wilkinson’s drop goal for a 20-17 win over Australia.