Now the Rugby World Cup is over, perhaps it has inspired you to follow the sport more closely or even get involved in playing it for the first time. However, not many of us can confess to being experts and if you’ve found you have more questions than answers, then here are some interesting facts about rugby to help you get to grips with this wonderful sport.
While various versions of the game existed since the medieval period, it is believed that the modern game was indeed created at the Rugby School in Rugby during the 1820s. A pupil called William Webb Ellis is said to have run with the ball in his hands during a sports match. Whether this is an urban myth or not matters little as his name will always be associated with the sport and pupils at school did write down rules of the game in 1845.
Why is the ball oval shaped?
During the 1800s, the ball was made from a pig’s bladder and encased in leather. This affected the shape and whilst not as oval as we see today, the RFU stated in 1852 that the ball should be oval and it has gradually evolved into the elongated oval we know today. It is thought to make it easier for the double action of holding and kicking the ball. Sharpen your rugby skills with Rugby Drills from a site like https://www.sportplan.net/drills/Rugby/Passing/practiceIndex.jsp
What is the Six Nations?
Before 2000, the tournament was known as the five nations. In 2000, Italy joined the existing nations of Wales, England, Ireland, Scotland and France. The five nations competition was created in 1910 when France joined, although they didn’t compete between 1931 and 1947. The competition was postponed during both World Wars.
What is the Wooden Spoon?
When the tournament is complete, the team to come in last place is awarded the Wooden Spoon. It is therefore an award that nobody wants. This tradition has been in place since 1883 and Ireland has won the most wooden spoons.
Who has won the most times in the Six Nations?
In 1973 the Five Nations tournament bizarrely declared all five nations as joint winners! However, the Six Nations has been won the most times by England with 28 clear wins and 10 shared titles. Wales is in very close second place but poor Italy has yet to win a tournament, despite 19 appearances.
Why is there league and union?
The split between these two games began over money. The RFU rules, which were penned in 1871, banned the sport from becoming professional and players being paid. However, in Yorkshire, some players were receiving money for playing when they missed a day’s wages as a result. This caused a ‘schism’ in the sport and the Northern RFU formed to incorporate the breakaway clubs. Eventually, their own way of play evolved in different ways too, becoming known as Rugby League.