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Rugby refers to the team sports rugby league and rugby union. Legend claims that rugby football was started circa 1845 in Rugby School, Rugby, Warwickshire, England, although forms of football in which the ball was carried and tossed date to medieval times. Rugby eventually split into two sports in 1895 when twenty-one clubs split from the original Rugby Football Union, to form the Northern Union (later to be named rugby league in 1922) in the George Hotel, Huddersfield, Northern England over the issue of payment to players, thus making rugby league the first code to turn professional and pay its players, rugby union turned fully professional in 1995. Both sports are run by their respective world governing bodies World Rugby (rugby union) and the Rugby League International Federation (rugby league). Rugby football was one of many versions of football played at English public schools in the 19th century. Although rugby league initially used rugby union rules, they are now wholly separate sports. In addition to these two codes, both American and Canadian football evolved from rugby football.

Selected article

Rugby Football History

Rugby School

The legendary story/myth about the origin of Rugby football — whereby a young man named William Webb Ellis "took the ball in his arms [i.e. caught it] and ran" while playing Rugby School's already distinctive version of football (not to be confused with association football, which was codified much later) in 1823 — has little evidence to support it. Pundits have dismissed the story as unlikely since it was first given the School's seal of approval following an official investigation by the Old Rugbeian Society in 1895. However, the story has entered into legend, and the trophy for the Rugby Union World Cup bears the name of "Webb Ellis" in his honour and a plaque at the School commemorates the "achievement".

Various kinds of football have a long tradition in England and football games had probably taken place at Rugby School for 200 years before three boys published the first set of written rules (in 1845). At the time, a set of rules would be agreed between two teams before a match. Teams which competed against each other regularly would tend to agree to play similar rules.

Did you know...

Heather Moyse

  • ... that Ireland's Thomas Gisborne Gordon is the only one-handed person to play international rugby of either code?
  • ...that Mini rugby is a popular way of teaching children the game?
  • ...that the biggest scrum in the world was made on 14 October 2007 in Croatia, with over 200 players of all categories from Croatian rugby club Nada?

Rugby topics


Peter Fizsimmons

Things you can do

Here are some Rugby Portal things you (yes you) can do!

  1. Help add content to the Rugby Portal
  2. Create and Edit NEW Rugby related articles
  3. Develop the Rugby union & Rugby League Portals
  4. Expand club profiles by using and creating templates (a good example is the Rugby Union National Team Template)


Web resources

Rugby lists




Things that must be edited or created


  1. {{Rugby06}}
  2. Comparison_of_rugby_league_and_rugby_union
  3. Merge Up and under and Bomb kick
  4. Austin Rugby Club

Associated Wikimedia

The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:






Learning resources

Travel guides




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