Portal:Rugby union

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The Rugby Union Portal

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Rugby union – commonly referred to as just rugby, or union, and in New Zealand occasionally as football or footy – 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.

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Argentina (blue) playing England (white) at Twickenham.
Rugby union is a popular team sport played in Argentina. The first rugby match played in the country dates back to 1873, as the game was introduced by the British. The Argentina national team, sometimes referred to as the Pumas, have competed at the Rugby World Cup, and are considered a tier one nation by the IRB. In more recent times, the governing body in Argentina has been the subject of controversy, leading to a strike in 2006 which threatened scheduled tests against Wales and the All Blacks. The national team has competed at the Rugby World Cup and made it as far as the quarter finals. (More...)

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Italy kicking off against Scotland in their match at Murrayfield Stadium in the 2007 Six Nations Championship.

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I wanted a play that would paint the full face of sensuality, rebellion and revivalism. In South Wales these three phenomena have played second fiddle only to the Rugby Union which is a distillation of all three.

—Gwyn Thomas

Selected biography

Blair Swannell

Blair Swannell (1875 – 1915) was an English-born international rugby union forward who played club rugby for Northampton, and internationally for the British Isles and later Australia. He was invited to tour with the British Isles on their 1899 tour of Australia and then their 1904 tour of Australia and New Zealand. He played a total of seven Test matches on these tours, and scored one Test try – against Australia during the 1904 tour. After settling in Australia, Swannell played a single game for his new home when they faced New Zealand. He was viewed as a violent player, and this made his unpopular with other players. Former Australian captain Herbert Moran said of him that "... his conception of rugby was one of trained violence". During the Second Boer War, Swannell served in the British Army in South Africa, rising to the rank of lieutenant. During the First World War he joined the Australian Imperial Force and was appointed with the rank of major, serving with the 1st Battalion. He was killed on 25 April 1915 while taking part in the Landing at Anzac Cove, during the first day of the Gallipoli Campaign.

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