Rugby Facts

Rugby Facts
Rugby is a rough game similar to football, believed to have been developed at England's Rugby School, early in the 1800s. In 1823, when William Webb Ellis caught the ball during a game of soccer at Rugby School, he ran with it, forever changing the game and leading the way to an entirely new sport. The Rugby Football Union (RFU) was formed in 1871, and in 1892 the Northern Rugby Football Union (NU) was formed following professionalism charges for paying players. The first international rugby match was played in 1871between Scotland and England. Since then it has developed into the rugby sport played today, which is rapidly gaining popularity in North America.
Interesting Rugby Facts:
Rugby involved two teams of 15 players each. The object of the game is to run or kick the ball across the opponent's goal or kick it up and through the posts. It is similar to football but there is no forward passing or time-outs.
The Rugby Union World Cup, held every four years, awards the Webb Ellis Cup to the winning team.
By 1892, it was proposed that rugby players should be compensated for missing work to play. The proposed amount was six shillings, and this proposal was turned down by the RFU.
Professionalism in rugby was allowed finally in 1898, but players still had to work at regular jobs.
The first rugby balls were plum-shaped because they were made of pig bladders. In the late 1800s they were slightly egg-shaped and made from rubber inner tubes. They have evolved to the oval shape of today, as oval balls are easier to catch, hold and run with.
Rugby has only been played as an Olympic sport four times. The first time was in 1900 and the last time was in 1924.
The very first time any national anthem was sung prior to any sports game, it was at a rugby game. It happened in 1905, when Wales played New Zealand. Wales sang their anthem "Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau" after New Zealand danced the Haka, a war dance. Both the dance and the song were meant to try and intimidate the opposition.
To earn tries (points), a rugby player must cross the touchline with the ball and then touch it to the ground. Originally there was no point for crossing the touchline—tries were worth nothing. A try could only be scored by kicking the ball over the crossbar and between the goal posts.
The highest number of points scored during the Rugby World Cup was 162 in 1995. Japan lost to New Zealand, 145 to 17.
Since 1905, the same whistle has been used to start the game at every Rugby World Cup. It is called the Gil Evans Whistle and is named after Gil Evans, who refereed the game between New Zealand and England in 1905. The same whistle was used to kick off the last rugby game played in the Olympics, in Paris in 1924.
Rugby Union was declared an open professional game and all restrictions regarding pay are lifted.
Italy joined Rugby Union's Five Nations in 2000, changing it to Six Nations.

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