– commonly referred to as just rugby
, or union
, and in New Zealand occasionally as football
– is a code of football
. Rugby union is a contact sport played by teams with fifteen players. The name is derived from the name of the game's original governing body, the Rugby Football Union
, with the suffix union
used to differentiate it from other codes of rugby football. The game developed from the variant of football at played Rugby school
in England. The crucial differences from association football
are that in rugby the ball is a prolate spheroid
instead of a sphere
, and that the players are allowed to pick the ball up and run with it. The players are also allowed to throw the ball from player to player, but are not allowed to throw it forward – the ball must only be passed sideways or backward.
The game has established itself as a major global sport, and is especially popular in New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Wales, England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Australia, Argentina and South Africa. Rugby is also gaining popularity in Italy, which was accepted into the Six Nations Championship in 2000, and Japan. Rugby is the most popular team sport in Georgia and is popular in Romania, Namibia, the United States of America and Canada.
When I see Gareth Edwards, I can still see the try he got against Scotland in the mud and rain. I look at Colin Meads and see a great big sheep farmer who carried the ball in his hands as though it was an orange pip.
Mark Hammett (born 1972) is a rugby union coach and former New Zealand player. Hammett played provincial rugby for Canterbury, as a hooker, between 1992 and 2002. When the Crusaders franchise was formed for the Super 12 in 1996, he was contracted, and became a founding player. He continued to play for the Crusaders until 2003; winning four titles in the process. He was first selected for New Zealand – the All Blacks – in 1999, and frequently played for them until his retirement following the 2003 Rugby World Cup. Hammett represented Canterbury 76 times, the Crusaders 81 times, and the All Blacks 30 times – including 29 Test matches. After retiring as a player, he began coaching, and worked as forwards advisor for both the Crusaders and Canterbury in 2006. He succeeded Vern Cotter as assistant coach at the Crusaders for the 2007 season, and was appointed head coach of the Wellington-based Hurricanes in 2011.