About Rugby

Rugby union, commonly known in most of the world simply as rugby, is a contact team sport which originated in England in the 1st half of the 19th century. One of the 2 codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand. Rugby union is a popular sport around the world, played by male & female players of all ages. In 2014, there were more than six million people playing worldwide, of whom 2.36 million were registered players. World Rugby, previously called the International Rugby Football Board (IRFB) & the International Rugby Board (IRB) has been the governing body for rugby union since 1886, and currently has 101 countries as full members and eighteen associate members.

Founded: 1996
Highest: World Rugby
Nicknames: Rugby, Rugger, Rugby XV, Union
First played: the 19th century
Registered players: 3,560,000
Clubs: 180,630
Team members: 15 (with up to 8 substitutes)
Mixed gender: Separate competitions
Type: Team sport, Outdoor
Equipment: Rugby ball
Olympic: The Summer Olympic in 1900, 1908, 1920 & 1924. Rugby 7 included in 2016
Social Media: Facebook

The history of rugby union
The history of rugby union follows from several football games played long before the 19th century, but it was not until the middle of that century that the rules were formulated and codified. The code of football later known as rugby union can be traced to 3 events: the 1st set of written rules in 1845, the Blackheath Club's decision to leave the Football Association in 1863 and the formation of the Rugby Football in 1871. The code was basically known simply as Rugby Football. It was not till a schism in 1895, over the payment of players, which resulted in the formation of the separate code of RL, that the name rugby union was used to split the actual rugby code. For most of its history, rugby was a strictly amateur football code, & the sports administrators frequently imposed bans and restrictions on players whom they viewed as professional. It was not until 1 9 9 5 that rugby union was declared an open game, and thus professionalism was sanctioned by the code's governing body, World Rugby—then known as the International Rugby Football Board (IRFB).

The history of Women's international rugby union
Women's international rugby union has a history going back to the late 19th century but it was not until 1982 that the 1st international fixture or test match involving women's rugby union took place. The match was organized in connection with the Dutch Rugby Unions 50th anniversary. As part of the celebrations on June 13, 1982, the French national women's team played the Dutch, in Utrecht, Netherlands, with France winning 4–0 in a game that has since been recognized as the 1st ever women's international rugby union match.

The laws & Rules of Rugby Union
The laws of Rugby Union are defined by World Rugby (originally the International Rugby Football Board & later International Rugby Board) & dictate how the game should be played. They are enforced by a referee, usually with the help of two assistant referees.

The game is split down into two 40 minutes halves with a 10 minutes rest period in between. The game carries no stoppage time & will & exactly on 80 minutes. Every team can start with 15 players & up to 7 substitutes. Players that have left the ground are only allowed to return if they have been treated for an injury. The field must be roughly 100 meters long and 70 meters wide with a minimum of a ten-meter dead ball area. The H shaped goal needs to be six meters wide with no restrictions on height. The field consists of the following markings; halfway line, five-meter line, 22-meter line, 10-meter line & dead ball line. Also included is a central spot for restarting the game after a try, penalty or drop goal has been scored. The sport will stop if a player is fouled, the ball goes out of play or a try or drop goal is scored. The defending team must tackle a player by grabbing hold and pulling them to the floor. A tackle cannot be made above shoulder height & doing so will cause the referee to award a foul. Once the ball goes into touching a line out is called. Up to seven players can enter a line out and any of these players can be lifted in order to catch the ball being thrown in. Both teams can compete to win the ball. A successful conversion, penalty or kick at goal only occurs when the player manages to kick the ball through the top chapter of the goal. If a player is unsuccessful the ball is still in play till it crosses one of the playing fields boundaries. Attacking players must stay behind the ball whilst active or run the risk of being called offside. Players not interfering with play can be in front of a ball but must get back behind the ball before then again interfering with play.

Professional Rugby
Rugby union has been professionalized since 1 9 9 5. The following table shows completely professional rugby competitions.

                                                                                                  Professional rugby competitions
CompetitionTeamsAverage Attendance
Super Rugby1520,384
Premiership1215,065
Top 141413,207
Currie Cup911,125
Pro14148,586
Mitre 10 Cup147,203
Rugby Pro D2164,222
RFU Championship122,738
Major League Rugby7Unknown

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 & boots. The rugby ball is oval in shape, (technically a prolate spheroid), & is made up of 4 panels. The ball was historically made of leather, but in the modern era, most games use a ball made from artificial material. The WR lays out specific dimensions for the ball, (280-300)mm in length, (740-770)mm in a circumference of length and (580-620)mm in a circumference of width. Rugby boots have soles with studs to allow grip on the turf of the asphalt. The studs may be either metallic or plastic but must not have any sharp edges or ridges. Protective equipment is optional & strictly regulated. The most common items are mouthguards, which are worn by almost all players, & 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 & 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 & rucks. Female players may also wear chest pads. Although not worn for protection, some types of fingerless mitts are permission to aid grip.

Rugby World Cup
The most important tournament in rugby union is the Rugby World Cup, a men's tournament that has taken place every 4 years since 1987 among national rugby union teams. New Zealand has won the Rugby World Cup the most (three times) & is the current cup holder, winning the 2015 Rugby World Cup held at Twickenham, beating Australia in the final. England (2003) was the 1st team from the Northern Hemisphere to win, the other champions being New Zealand (1987, 2011 & 2015), Australia (1991 & 1999), and South Africa (1995 & 2007).

The Rugby World Cup has continued to grow since its inception in 1 9 8 7. The 1st 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 were less than a million. The 2007 World Cup was contested by 94 countries with ticket sales of 3,850,000 over the pool and last stage. The accumulated tv audience for the event, then broadcast to 200 countries, was a claimed 4.2 billion.