RUGBY UNION, commonly known as RUGBY, is a contact team sport which
In 1845, the first football laws were written by
International matches have taken place since 1872. The Rugby World Cup , first held in 1987, takes place every four years. The Six Nations Championship in Europe and The Rugby Championship in the Southern Hemisphere are other major international competitions, held annually.
National club or provincial competitions include the Premiership in
* 1 History
* 1.1 First internationals * 1.2 World Cup and professionalism
* 2 Teams and positions
* 2.1 Forwards * 2.2 Backs
* 3 Laws
* 3.1 Scoring * 3.2 Playing field * 3.3 Match structure * 3.4 Passing and kicking * 3.5 Breakdowns
* 3.6 Set pieces
* 3.6.1 Lineout * 3.6.2 Scrum
* 3.7 Officials and offences * 3.8 Replacements and substitutions
* 4 Equipment * 5 Governing bodies
* 6 Global reach
* 6.1 Oceania
* 6.2 North America and Caribbean
* 6.3 Europe
* 7 Women\'s rugby union
* 8 Major international competitions
* 8.1 Rugby World Cup * 8.2 Regional tournaments * 8.3 Rugby within international tournaments * 8.4 Women\'s international rugby
* 9 Professional rugby * 10 Variants * 11 Influence on other sports * 12 Statistics and records * 13 In culture * 14 See also
* 15 References
* 15.1 Notes * 15.2 Footnotes * 15.3 Printed sources * 15.4 Electronic sources
* 16 External links
The origin of rugby football is reputed to be an incident during a
game of English school football at
Old Rugbeian Albert Pell , a student at Cambridge , is credited with having formed the first "football" team. During this early period different schools used different rules, with former pupils from Rugby and Eton attempting to carry their preferred rules through to their universities.
A significant event in the early development of rugby football was
the production of the first written laws of the game at Rugby School
in 1845, which was followed by the '
Cambridge Rules ' drawn up in
1848. Other important events include the Blackheath Club's decision
to leave the
The first rugby football international was played on 27 March 1871
between Scotland and
Two important overseas tours took place in 1888: a British Isles team visited Australia and New Zealand—although a private venture, it laid the foundations for future British and Irish Lions tours; and the 1888–89 New Zealand Native football team brought the first overseas team to British spectators. James Ryan , captain of the New Zealand Army team, receiving the Kings Cup from George V.
During the early history of rugby union, a time before commercial air travel, teams from different continents rarely met. The first two notable tours both took place in 1888—the British Isles team touring New Zealand and Australia, followed by the New Zealand team touring Europe. Traditionally the most prestigious tours were the Southern Hemisphere countries of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa making a tour of a Northern Hemisphere, and the return tours made by a joint British and Irish team. Tours would last for months, due to long traveling times and the number of games undertaken; the 1888 New Zealand team began their tour in Hawkes Bay in June and did not complete their schedule until August 1889, having played 107 rugby matches. Touring international sides would play Test matches against international opponents, including national, club and county sides in the case of Northern Hemisphere rugby, or provincial/state sides in the case of Southern Hemisphere rugby.
Between 1905 and 1908, all three major Southern Hemisphere rugby countries sent their first touring teams to the Northern Hemisphere: New Zealand in 1905, followed by South Africa in 1906 and Australia in 1908. All three teams brought new styles of play, fitness levels and tactics, and were far more successful than critics had expected.
The New Zealand 1905 touring team performed a haka before each match,
Welsh Rugby Union
The first officially sanctioned international rugby sevens tournament took place in 1973 at Murrayfield, one of Scotland's biggest stadiums, as part of the Scottish Rugby Union centenary celebrations.
WORLD CUP AND PROFESSIONALISM
In 1987 the first
Rugby World Cup was held in Australia and New
Zealand, and the inaugural winners were New Zealand. The first World
Cup Sevens tournament was held at Murrayfield in 1993. Rugby Sevens
was introduced into the Commonwealth Games in 1998 and has been added
The Tri Nations , an annual international tournament involving
Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, kicked off in 1996. In 2012
, this competition was extended to include
TEAMS AND POSITIONS
Main article: Rugby union positions A standard rugby union team formation illustrating each of the positions and their respective numbers.
Each team starts the match with 15 players on the field and seven or eight substitutes. Players in a team are divided into eight forwards (two more than in rugby league ) and seven backs .
The main responsibilities of the forward players are to gain and retain possession of the ball. Players in these positions are generally bigger and stronger and take part in the scrum and line-out. The forwards are often collectively referred to as the 'pack', especially when in the scrum formation.
FRONT ROW The front row consists of three players: two props (the loosehead prop and the tighthead prop) and the hooker. The role of the two props is to support the hooker during scrums, to provide support for the jumpers during line-outs and to provide strength and power in rucks and mauls. The third position in the front row is the hooker. The hooker is a key position in attacking and defensive play and is responsible for winning the ball in the scrum. Hookers normally throw the ball in at line-outs.
SECOND ROW The second row consists of two locks or lock forwards. Locks are usually the tallest players in the team, and specialise as line-out jumpers. The main role of the lock in line-outs is to make a standing jump, often supported by the other forwards, to either collect the thrown ball or ensure the ball comes down on their side. Locks also have an important role in the scrum, binding directly behind the three front row players and providing forward drive. Sébastien Chabal (far left) in number eight position before entering the scrum.
BACK ROW The back row, not to be confused with ‘Backs’, is the third and final row of the forward positions, they are often referred to as the loose forwards. The three positions in the back row are the two flankers and the number 8. The two flanker positions, called the blindside flanker and openside flanker, are the final row in the scrum. They are usually the most mobile forwards in the game. Their main role is to win possession through 'turn overs'. The number 8 packs down between the two locks at the back of the scrum. The role of the number 8 in the scrum is to control the ball after it has been heeled back from the front of the pack and the position provides a link between the forwards and backs during attacking phases.
The backs' role is to create and convert point-scoring opportunities. They are generally smaller, faster and more agile than the forwards. Another distinction between the backs and the forwards is that the backs are expected to have superior kicking and ball handling skills, especially the fly-half, scrum-half and full-back.
HALF-BACKS The half-backs consist of two positions, the scrum-half and the fly-half. The fly-half is crucial to a team's game plan, orchestrating the team's performance. They are usually the first to receive the ball from the scrum-half following a breakdown, lineout, or scrum, and need to be decisive with what actions to take and be effective at communicating with the outside backs. Many fly-halves are also their team's goal kickers. The scrum-half is the link between the forwards and the backs. They receive the ball from the lineout and remove the ball from the back of the scrum, usually passing it to the fly-half. They also feed the scrum and sometimes have to act as a fourth loose forward.
THREE QUARTERS There are four three quarter positions, the inside centre, outside centre and left and right wings. The centres will attempt to tackle attacking players; whilst in attack they should employ speed and strength to breach opposition defences. The wings are generally positioned on the outside of the backline. Their primary function is to finish off moves and score tries. Wings are usually the fastest players in the team and are elusive runners who use their speed to avoid tackles.
FULLBACKS The fullback normally positions himself several metres behind the back line. He fields any opposition kicks and is often the last line of defence should an opponent break through the back line. Two of the most important attributes of a good fullback are dependable catching skills and a good kicking game.
The field of play on a rugby pitch is as near as possible to a maximum of 144 metres (157 yd) long by 70 metres (77 yd) wide. In actual gameplay there should be a maximum of 100 metres (109 yd) between the two try-lines, with anywhere between 10 and 22 metres behind each try line to serve as the in-goal area. Several lines cross the field, notably the halfway line and the "twenty-two", which is 22 metres (24 yd) from the goal line.
Stricter rules apply to the pitch size for matches between national representative teams. The same maximums apply in this case, but the distance between the two try-lines must also be at least 94 metres (103 yd) and the pitch must be at least 68 metres (74 yd) wide.
Rugby goalposts are H-shaped, and consist of two poles, 5.6 metres (6.1 yd) apart, connected by a horizontal crossbar 3 metres (3.3 yd) above the ground.
At the beginning of the game, the captains and the referee toss a coin to decide which team will kick off first. Play then starts with a drop kick, with the players chasing the ball into the opposition's territory, and the other side trying to retrieve the ball and advance it. If the ball does not reach the opponent’s 10-metre line the opposing team has two choices: to have the ball kicked off again, or to have a scrum at the centre of the half-way line. If the player with the ball is tackled, frequently a ruck will result.
Games are divided into 40-minute halves, with a break in the middle. The sides exchange ends of the field after the half-time break. Stoppages for injury or to allow the referee to take disciplinary action do not count as part of the playing time, so that the elapsed time is usually longer than 80 minutes. The referee is responsible for keeping time, even when—as in many professional tournaments—he is assisted by an official time-keeper. If time expires while the ball is in play, the game continues until the ball is "dead", and only then will the referee blow the whistle to signal half-time or full-time; but if the referee awards a penalty or free-kick, the game continues.
In the knockout stages of rugby competitions, most notably the Rugby World Cup , two extra time periods of 10 minutes periods are played (with an interval of 5 minutes in between) if the game is tied after full-time. If scores are level after 100 minutes then the rules call for 20 minutes of sudden-death extra time to be played. If the sudden-death extra time period results in no scoring a kicking competition is used to determine the winner. However, no match in the history of the Rugby World Cup has ever gone past 100 minutes into a sudden-death extra time period.
PASSING AND KICKING
Forward passing (throwing the ball ahead to another player) is not allowed; the ball can be passed laterally or backwards. The ball tends to be moved forward in three ways — by kicking, by a player running with it or within a scrum or maul . Only the player with the ball may be tackled or rucked. When a ball is knocked forward by a player with his/her arms, a "knock-on" is committed, and play is restarted with a scrum.
Any player may kick the ball forward in an attempt to gain territory. When a player anywhere in the playing area kicks indirectly into touch so that the ball first bounces in the field of play, the throw-in is taken where the ball went into touch. If the player kicks directly into touch (i.e. without bouncing in-field first) from within one's own 22-metre line, the lineout is taken by the opposition where the ball went into touch, but if the ball is kicked into touch directly by a player outside the 22-metre line, the lineout is taken level to where the kick was taken.
A rugby tackle: tackles must be below the neck with the aim of impeding or grounding the player with the ball.
The aim of the defending side is to stop the player with the ball, either by bringing them to ground (a tackle, which is frequently followed by a ruck), or by contesting for possession with the ball-carrier on their feet (a maul). Such a circumstance is called a breakdown and each is governed by a specific law.
TACKLING A player may tackle an opposing player who has the ball by holding them while bringing them to ground. Tacklers cannot tackle above the shoulder (the neck and head are out of bounds), and the tackler has to attempt to wrap their arms around the player being tackled to complete the tackle. It is illegal to push, shoulder-charge, or to trip a player using feet or legs, but hands may be used (this being referred to as a tap-tackle or ankle-tap ). Tacklers may not tackle an opponent who has jumped to catch a ball until the player has landed.
RUCKING AND MAULING Mauls occur after a player with the ball has come into contact with an opponent but the handler remains on his feet; once any combination of at least three players have bound themselves a maul has been set. A ruck is similar to the maul, but in this case the ball has gone to ground with at least three attacking players binding themselves on the ground in an attempt to secure the ball.
Ireland and Georgia contesting a line-out in the 2007 Rugby World Cup
Main article: Line-out (rugby union)
When the ball leaves the side of the field, a line-out is awarded against the team which last touched the ball. Forward players from each team line up a metre apart, perpendicular to the touchline and between 5 m and 15 m from the touchline. The ball is thrown from the touchline down the centre of the lines of forwards by a player (usually the hooker ) from the team that did not play the ball into touch. The exception to this is when the ball went out from a penalty, in which case the side who gained the penalty throws the ball in.
Both sides compete for the ball and players may lift their teammates. A jumping player cannot be tackled until they stand and only shoulder-to-shoulder contact is allowed; deliberate infringement of this law is dangerous play, and results in a penalty kick.
Main article: Scrum (rugby union) A scrum
A scrum is a way of restarting the game safely and fairly after a minor infringement. It is awarded when the ball has been knocked or passed forward, if a player takes the ball over his own try line and puts the ball down, when a player is accidentally offside or when the ball is trapped in a ruck or maul with no realistic chance of being retrieved. A team may also opt for a scrum if awarded a penalty.
A scrum is formed by the eight forwards from each team binding together in three rows. The front row consists of the two props (loosehead and tighthead) either side of the hooker. The second row consists of two locks and the two flankers. Behind the second row is the number 8. This formation is known as the 3–4–1 formation. Once a scrum is formed the scrum-half from the team awarded the feed rolls the ball into the gap between the two front-rows known as the tunnel. The two hookers then compete for possession by hooking the ball backwards with their feet, while each pack tries to push the opposing pack backwards to help gain possession. The side that wins possession transfers the ball to the back of the scrum, where it is picked up either by the number 8 or by the scrum-half.
OFFICIALS AND OFFENCES
There are three match officials: a referee, and two assistant referees. The latter, formerly known as touch judges, had the primary function of indicating when the ball had gone into "touch"; their role has been expanded and they are now expected to assist the referee in a number of areas, such as watching for foul play and checking offside lines. In addition, for matches in high level competitions, there is often a television match official (TMO; popularly called the "video referee"), to assist with certain decisions, linked up to the referee by radio. The referees have a system of hand signals to indicate their decisions.
Common offences include tackling above the shoulders, collapsing a scrum , ruck or maul, not releasing the ball when on the ground, or being offside. The non-offending team has a number of options when awarded a penalty: a "tap" kick, when the ball is kicked a very short distance from hand, allowing the kicker to regather the ball and run with it; a punt, when the ball is kicked a long distance from hand, for field position; a place-kick, when the kicker will attempt to score a goal; or a scrum. Players may be sent off (signalled by a red card ) or temporarily suspended ("sin-binned") for ten minutes (yellow card ) for foul play or repeated infringements, and may not be replaced.
Occasionally, infringements are not caught by the referee during the match and these may be "cited" by the citing commissioner after the match and have punishments (usually suspension for a number of weeks) imposed on the infringing player.
REPLACEMENTS AND SUBSTITUTIONS
During the match, players may be replaced (for injury) or substituted (for tactical reasons). A player who has been replaced may not rejoin play unless he was temporarily replaced to have bleeding controlled; a player who has been substituted may return temporarily, to replace a player who has a blood injury or has suffered a concussion, or permanently, if he is replacing a front-row forward. In international matches, eight replacements are allowed; in domestic or cross-border tournaments, at the discretion of the responsible national union(s), the number of replacements may be nominated to a maximum of eight, of whom three must be sufficiently trained and experienced to provide cover for the three front row positions.
Prior to 2016, all substitutions, no matter the cause, counted
against the limit during a match. In 2016,
A synthetic rugby ball Main article: Rugby union equipment
The most basic items of equipment for a game of rugby union are the ball itself, a rugby shirt (also known as a "jersey"), rugby shorts , socks and boots . The rugby ball is oval in shape, (technically a prolate spheroid ), and is made up of four panels. The ball was historically made of leather, but in the modern era most games use a ball made from a synthetic material. The WR lays out specific dimensions for the ball, 280-300mm in length, 740-770mm in circumference of length and 580-620mm in circumference of width. Rugby boots have soles with studs to allow grip on the turf of the pitch. The studs may be either metal or plastic but must not have any sharp edges or ridges.
Protective equipment is optional and strictly regulated. The most common items are mouthguards , which are worn by almost all players, and are compulsory in some rugby-playing nations. Other protective items that are permitted include head gear ; thin (not more than 10 mm thick), non-rigid shoulder pads and shin guards ; which are worn underneath socks. Bandages or tape can be worn to support or protect injuries; some players wear tape around the head to protect the ears in scrums and rucks. Female players may also wear chest pads. Although not worn for protection, some types of fingerless mitts are allowed to aid grip.
It is the responsibility of the match officials to check players' clothing and equipment before a game to ensure that it conforms to the laws of the game.
The international governing body of rugby union (and associated games
such as sevens) is
Six regional associations, which are members of WR, form the next level of administration; these are:
* Rugby Africa , formerly Confederation of African Rugby (CAR) * Asia Rugby , formerly Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU) * Rugby Americas North , formerly North America Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) * Rugby Europe , previously Fédération Internationale de Rugby Amateur – Association Européenne de Rugby (FIRA-AER) * Oceania Rugby , formerly Federation of Oceania Rugby Unions (FORU)
* Sudamérica Rugby , formerly Confederación Sudamericana de Rugby (South American Rugby Confederation, or CONSUR)
SANZAAR (South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and
National unions oversee rugby union within individual countries and
are affiliated to WR. Since 2016, the WR Council has 40 seats. A total
of 11 unions—the eight foundation unions of Scotland , Ireland ,
The earliest countries to adopt rugby union were
At least six countries have adopted rugby union as their de facto national sport ; they are Fiji, Georgia , New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga and Wales.
A rugby club was formed in Sydney, New South Wales , Australia in 1864; while the sport was said to have been introduced to New Zealand by Charles Monro in 1870, who played rugby while a student at Christ\'s College, Finchley .
Several island nations have embraced the sport of rugby. Rugby was first played in Fiji circa 1884 by European and Fijian soldiers of the Native Constabulary at Ba on Viti Levu island. Fiji then sent their first overseas team to Samoa in 1924, who in turn set up their own union in 1927. Along with Tonga , other countries to have national rugby teams in Oceania include the Cook Islands , Niue , Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands .
NORTH AMERICA AND CARIBBEAN
See also: Rugby Americas North
In North America a club formed in Montreal in 1868, Canada\'s first
club. The city of Montreal also played its part in the introduction of
the sport in the United States , when students of McGill University
played against a team from
Although the exact date of arrival of rugby union in Trinidad and Tobago is unknown, their first club Northern RFC was formed in 1923, a national team was playing by 1927 and due to a cancelled tour to British Guiana in 1933, switched their venue to Barbados ; introducing rugby to the island. Other Atlantic countries to play rugby union include Jamaica and Bermuda .
Germany playing Belgium
The growth of rugby union in Europe outside the 6 Nations countries in terms of playing numbers has been sporadic. Historically, British and Irish home teams played the Southern Hemisphere teams of Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, as well as France. The rest of Europe were let to play amongst themselves. During a period when it had been isolated by the British and Irish Unions, France, lacking international competition, became the only European team from the top tier to regularly play the other European countries; mainly Belgium , the Netherlands , Germany , Spain , Romania , Poland , Italy and Czechoslovakia . In 1934, instigated by the French Rugby Federation , FIRA (Fédération Internationale de Rugby Amateur) was formed to organise rugby union outside the authority of the IRFB. The founding members were Italy , Romania , Netherlands , Portugal , Czechoslovakia , and Sweden .
Other European rugby playing nations of note include Russia , whose first officially recorded match is marked by an encounter between Dynamo Moscow and the Moscow Institute of Physical Education in 1933. Rugby union in Portugal also took hold between the First and Second World Wars, with a Portuguese National XV set up in 1922 and an official championship started in 1927.
In 1999, FIRA agreed to place itself under the auspices of the IRB, transforming itself into a strictly European organising body. Accordingly, it changed its name to FIRA–AER (Fédération Internationale de Rugby Amateur – Association Européenne de Rugby). It adopted its current name of Rugby Europe in 2014.
Argentine teams Alumni and Hindú playing the Torneo de la URBA final match in 2007.
Main article: Rugby union in Asia
Many Asian countries have a tradition of playing rugby dating from the British Empire. India began playing rugby in the early 1870s, the Calcutta Football Club forming in 1873. However, with the departure of a local British army regiment, interest in rugby diminished in the area. In 1878, The Calcutta Football Club was disbanded, and rugby in India faltered. Sri Lanka claims to have founded their union in 1878, and although little official information from the period is available, the team won the All-India cup in Madras in 1920. The first recorded match in Malaysia was in 1892, but the first confirmation of rugby is the existence of the HMS Malaya Cup which was first presented in 1922 and is still awarded to the winners of the Malay sevens.
Rugby in the Middle East and the Gulf States has its history in the
1950s, with clubs formed by British and French Services stationed in
the region after the Second World War. When these servicemen left,
the clubs and teams were kept alive by young professionals, mostly
Europeans, working in these countries. The official union of Oman was
formed in 1971. Bahrain founded its union a year later, while in 1975
Dubai Sevens , the Gulf's leading rugby tournament, was created.
Rugby remains a minority sport in the region with Israel , as of 2011,
being the only member union from the Middle East to be included in the
IRB World Rankings.
In 1875, rugby was introduced to South Africa by British soldiers
garrisoned in Cape Town. During the late 19th and early 20th century,
the sport in Africa was spread by settlers and colonials who often
adopted a "whites-only" policy to playing the game. This resulted in
rugby being viewed as a bourgeois sport by the indigenous people with
limited appeal. The earliest countries to see the playing of
competitive rugby include South Africa, and neighbouring Rhodesia
(modern-day Zimbabwe), which formed the Rhodesia Rugby
In more recent times the sport has been embraced by several African
nations. In the early 21st century Madagascar has experienced crowds
of 40,000 at national matches, while Namibia, whose history of rugby
can be dated from 1915, have qualified for the final stages of the
World Cup four times since 1999. Other African nations to be
represented in the
WOMEN\'S RUGBY UNION
US women's rugby: NC Hustlers vs. Midwest II Main article: Women\'s rugby union
Records of women's rugby football date from the late 19th century,
with the first documented source being Emily Valentine's writings,
stating that she set up a rugby team in
Portora Royal School in
Enniskillen, Ireland in 1887. Although there are reports of early
women's matches in New Zealand and France, one of the first notable
games to prove primary evidence was the 1917 war-time encounter
The English-based Women's
Rugby Football Union (WRFU), responsible
for women's rugby in England, Scotland Ireland and Wales, was founded
in 1983, and is the oldest formally organised national governing body
for women's rugby. This was replaced in 1994 by the Rugby Football
Union for Women (RFUW) in
MAJOR INTERNATIONAL COMPETITIONS
For more details on this topic, see List of rugby union competitions .
RUGBY WORLD CUP
A giant rugby ball suspended from the Eiffel Tower commemorates France's hosting of the 2007 World Cup .
The most important tournament in rugby union is the
Rugby World Cup ,
a men's tournament that has taken place every four years since 1987
among national rugby union teams. New Zealand has won the Rugby World
Cup the most (3 times) and is the current cup holder, winning the 2015
Rugby World Cup held at Twickenham, beating Australia in the final.
The Rugby World Cup has continued to grow since its inception in 1987. The first tournament, in which 16 teams competed for the title, was broadcast to 17 countries with an accumulated total of 230 million television viewers. Ticket sales during the pool stages and finals of the same tournament was less than a million. The 2007 World Cup was contested by 94 countries with ticket sales of 3,850,000 over the pool and final stage. The accumulated television audience for the event, then broadcast to 200 countries, was a claimed 4.2 billion.
The Six Nations is an annual competition involving the European teams
The Rugby Championship is the Southern Hemisphere's annual international series for that region's top national teams. From its inception in 1996 through 2011, it was known as the Tri Nations, as it featured the hemisphere's traditional powers of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. These teams have dominated world rankings in recent years, and many considered the Tri Nations to be the toughest competition in international rugby. The Tri Nations was initially played on a home and away basis with the three nations playing each other twice.
In 2006 a new system was introduced where each nation plays the others three times, though in 2007 and 2011 the teams played each other only twice, as both were World Cup years. Since Argentina's strong performances in the 2007 World Cup, after the 2009 Tri Nations tournament, SANZAR (South Africa, New Zealand and Australian Rugby) invited the Argentine Rugby Union (UAR) to join an expanded Four Nations tournament in 2012. The competition has been officially rechristened as The Rugby Championship beginning with the 2012 edition. The competition reverted to the Tri Nations' original home-and-away format, but now involving four teams. In World Cup years, an abbreviated tournament is held in which each team plays the others only once. New Zealand are the current champions, winning the 2016 title with two rounds to spare.
RUGBY WITHIN INTERNATIONAL TOURNAMENTS
In 2009 the International Olympic Committee voted with a majority of 81 to 8 that rugby union be reinstated as an Olympic sport in at least the 2016 and 2020 games, but in the sevens, 4-day tournament format. This is something the rugby world has aspired to for a long time and Bernard Lapasset , president of the International Rugby Board, said the Olympic gold medal would be considered to be "the pinnacle of our sport" (Rugby Sevens).
Rugby sevens has been played at the Commonwealth Games since the 1998
Games in Kuala Lumpur. The most gold medal holders are New Zealand
who have won the competition on four successive occasions until South
Africa beat them in 2014.
WOMEN\'S INTERNATIONAL RUGBY
Main article: Women\'s international rugby union
Women's international rugby union began in 1982, with a match between France and Netherlands played in Utrecht . As of 2009 over six hundred women's internationals have been played by over forty different nations.
The first Women\'s
Rugby World Cup was held in Wales in 1991 , and
was won by the United States . The second tournament took place in
1994 , and from that time through 2014 was held every four years. The
New Zealand Women's team then won four straight World Cups (1998 ,
2002 , 2006 , 2010 ) before
As well as the Women's Rugby World Cup there are also other regular tournaments, including a Six Nations , run in parallel to the men's competition. The Women's Six Nations, first played in 1996 has been dominated by England, who have won the tournament on 14 occasions, including a run of seven consecutive wins from 2006 to 2012 . Ireland and France then alternated titles for four seasons before England reclaimed the crown in 2017 .
Professional rugby competitions COMPETITION TEAMS COUNTRIES Average Attendance
Mitre 10 Cup 14 New Zealand 7,203
Rugby Pro D2 16 France 4,222
NRC 9 Australia (8), Fiji (1) 1,450
* ^ To be reduced to 15 teams for 2018 and beyond.
* ^ Following the 2017
Super Rugby season, South Africa will lose
two of its sides and Australia one.
The game of rugby union has spawned several variants of the full-contact, 15-a-side code. The two more common differences applied to the variants of the sport lie in either fewer players or reduced player contact. Of the variants, the oldest is Rugby sevens (7's, or VIIs), a fast-paced variant which originated in Melrose , Scotland in 1883. In rugby sevens, there are only seven players per side, and each half is normally seven minutes.
Major tournaments include the Hong Kong Sevens and Dubai Sevens , both held in areas not normally associated with the highest levels of the 15-a-side game. A more recent variant of the sport is Rugby tens (10's or Xs), a Malaysian variant with ten players per side.
Due to the physical nature of playing rugby, several variants have
been created to introduce the sport to children with a reduced level
of physical contact. Of these versions,
Mini rugby is another variant of rugby union aimed at fostering the sport in children. It is played with only eight players and on a smaller pitch. Similar to Tag Rugby, American Flag Rugby , (AFR), is a mixed gender, non-contact imitation of rugby union designed for American children entering grades K-9. Both American Flag Rugby and Mini Rugby differ to Tag Rugby in that they introduce more advanced elements of rugby union as the participants age.
Other less formal variants include beach rugby and snow rugby .
INFLUENCE ON OTHER SPORTS
History of American football , Comparison of American
football and rugby union ,
Origins of Australian rules football ,
Comparison of rugby league and rugby union , and History of rugby
Rugby league was formed as an administrative break from the English union before changing its laws, becoming a code in its own right. The two sports continue to influence each other to this day.
Australian rules football was influenced by rugby football and other games originating in English public schools .
James Naismith took aspects of many sports including rugby to invent basketball . The most obvious contribution is the jump ball 's similarity to the line-out as well as the underhand shooting style that dominated the early years of the sport. Naismith played rugby at McGill University .
Swedish football was a code whose rules were a mix of Association and Rugby football rules .
Rugby lends its name to wheelchair rugby , a full contact sport which contains elements of rugby such as crossing a try line with the ball to score.
STATISTICS AND RECORDS
According to a 2011 report by the Centre for the International
Business of Sport, over four and a half million people play rugby
union or one of its variants organised by the IRB. This is an
increase of 19 percent since the previous report in 2007. The report
also claimed that since 2007 participation has grown by 33 percent in
Africa, 22 percent in
The most capped international player from the tier 1 nations is
former New Zealand openside flanker and captain
Richie McCaw who has
played in 148 internationals. While the top scoring tier 1
international player is New Zealand's
Dan Carter , who has amassed
1442 points during his career. In April 2010 Lithuania which is a
second tier rugby nation, broke the record of consecutive
international wins for second tier rugby nations. In 2016, the All
Blacks of New Zealand set the new record 18 consecutive test wins
among tier 1 rugby nations, bettering their previous consecutive run
of 17. This record was equalled by
The record attendance for a rugby union game was set on 15 July 2000
in which New Zealand defeated Australia 39–35 in a Bledisloe Cup
Thomas Hughes 1857 novel Tom Brown\'s Schooldays , set at Rugby School , includes a rugby football match, also portrayed in the 1940s film of the same name. James Joyce mentions Irish team Bective Rangers in several of his works, including Ulysses (1922) and Finnegans Wake (1939), while his 1916 semi-autobiographical work A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man has an account of Ireland international James Magee . Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in his 1924 Sherlock Holmes tale The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire , mentions that Dr Watson played rugby for Blackheath.
In film, Ealing Studios' 1949 comedy
A Run for Your Money and the
In public art and sculpture there are many works dedicated to the
sport. There is a 27 ft bronze statue of a rugby line-out by pop
Gerald Laing at Twickenham and one of rugby administrator Sir
Tasker Watkins at the
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Experimental law variations
International Rugby Hall of Fame , now merged with the former IRB
Hall of Fame
* ^ As of 2014 the International Rugby Board, now known as World Rugby, removed the total breakdown of world-wide player numbers by country, by age and sex to publish instead an overall figure per country. This document, titled '119 countries... 6.6 million players' adds the number of registered and unregistered players reported by each country. Some unions only report their registered players, i.e. those who play for an affiliated club or region. Other unions, such as England's Rugby Football Union , also report people taking part in outreach and educational programs, or unregistered players. In the 2012 figures reported by the RFU they reported 1,990,988 people playing rugby in England, including 1,102,971 under 13s, 731,685 teens and 156,332 seniors. Some of those recorded would have experienced rugby via educational visits to schools, playing tag or touch rugby, rather than playing regularly for a club. The figures released in 2014 give an overall figure of those playing rugby union, or one of its variants, as 6,684,118, but also reports that of that total, 2.36 million are registered players, while 4.3 million are unregistered. * ^ Although the United States national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner ", was first sung before baseball games in the mid-19th century, it did not become the official national anthem until 1931. In addition, the song's pregame use did not become customary until the 1920s.
* ^ Else, David (2007). British language & culture (2nd ed.).
* ^ "IRB Hall of Fame Welcomes Five Inductees". International Rugby
Board. 23 November 2008. Archived from the original on 24 August 2010.
Retrieved 24 September 2011.
* ^ Griffiths 1987 , p. ix "In the first century of rugby union's
history the IRB only recognised matches with international status if
both teams in a match came from a small pool of countries: Australia,
British Lions, England, France, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland, South
Africa and Wales."
* ^ "New Zealand Natives\' rugby tour of 1888–9". New Zealand
History Online. Retrieved 24 September 2011.
* ^ "Take a trip down memory lane courtesy of our historian John
Griffiths". espnscrum.com. 23 November 2008. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
"1 October: The original Wallabies beat a strong Gloucestershire XV
16–0 at Kingsholm, 2 October: The Invincible Second All Blacks have
their toughest tour assignment when they are considered lucky to
scrape home 13–10 against a star-studded Newport XV, 2 October:
* ^ Bergogne, Romain (24 June 2016). "En battant Toulon, le Racing
92 est sacré champion de France" . L\'Équipe (in French). Retrieved
25 June 2016.
* ^ "
Bective Rangers – James Joyce". bectiverangers.com. UK.
Archived from the original on 26 July 2011. Retrieved 28 August 2011.
* ^ "The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire". BBC. UK. September 2005.
Retrieved 28 August 2011.
* ^ Lauf, Cornelia. "Henri Rousseau". guggenheim.org. Retrieved 28
* ^ Dine, Philip (2001). French Rugby Football. Oxford: Berg. p.
19. ISBN 1-85973-327-1 .
* ^ "Art Competitions". olympic-museum.de. Retrieved 6 October
* ^ Berry, David (1996). Wales and Cinema, The First Hundred Years.
Cardiff: University of Wales Press. p. 215. ISBN 0-7083-1370-1 .
* ^ Carlin, John (19 October 2007). "How Nelson Mandela won the
rugby World Cup". The Daily Telegraph. UK. Retrieved 28 August 2011.
* ^ Fihlani, Pumza (11 December 2009). "South Africa \'rugby
unity\': Fact and fiction".
* Encyclopedia Canadiana vol. 8. Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal: Grolier
of Canada. 1972. ISBN 0-7172-1601-2 .
* Bath, Richard, ed. (1997). Complete Book of Rugby. Seven Oaks Ltd.
ISBN 1-86200-013-1 .
* Biscombe, Tony; Drewett, Peter (2009). Rugby: Steps to Success.
* Bompa, Tudor; Claro, Frederick (2008). Periodization in Rugby.
Meyer and Meyer Sport.
* Godwin, Terry; Rhys, Chris (1981). The Guinness Book of Rugby
Facts & Feats. Enfield: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. ISBN 0-85112-214-0
* Griffiths, John (1987). The Phoenix Book of International Rugby
Records. London: Phoenix House. ISBN 0-460-07003-7 .
* Marshall, Howard; Jordon, J.P. (1951). Oxford v Cambridge, The
Story of the University Rugby Match. London: Clerke & Cockeran.
* Midgley, Ruth (1979). The Official World Encyclopedia of Sports
and Games. London: Diagram Group. ISBN 0-7092-0153-2 .
* Richards, Huw (2007). A Game for Hooligans: The History of Rugby
Mainstream Publishing . ISBN 978-1-84596-255-5 .
* Stubbs, Ray (2009). The Sports Book.
* "Laws of Rugby Union". IRB. 2010. Retrieved 16 January 2011. * "IRB Regulations". IRB. Retrieved 16 January 2011. * Scrum.com Rugby guide
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