You are here:- Skip Navigation LinksHomepage >Sport of Rugby >Some Rugby History

Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Facebook initiate RSS feed

USA Rugby logo Rugby Virginia is a registered nonprofit tax exempt §501(c)(3) organization and §509(a)(2) public charity.
Rugby Virginia is the primary development vehicle for youth and high school rugby within
the Commonwealth of Virginia and a USA Rugby Level 3 State Based Rugby Organization (SBRO).

Rugby Virginia - Dedicated to the Development of High School and Youth Rugby in Virginia

Some Rugby History

Rugby Football is the quintessential schoolboy sport!

The game of Rugby Football (rugby or rugger, or sometimes "rugby union" to distinguish the sport from the 13 player code known as Rugby League) seems to have been invented, or perhaps a better word, developed by schoolboys at Rugby School in Warwickshire in 1823.  According to tradition, "it was William Webb Ellis, playing in 1823, who first rushed forward with the ball after catching it - rather than retiring as far back as he pleased before punting it, or placing it for someone else to kick."  History of Rugby Union; William Webb Ellis

Whatever rugby football's origins, football (futeball) historically was widely played in England and elsewhere long before 1823.  Indeed, various kings of medieval England tried to discourage or even ban football in favor of such military pursuits as archery!  Football in those times contained many of the elements that today we see in the separate sports of football (soccer) and rugby football; kicking the ball, handling the ball, "hacking" (tripping & tackling) and, of course, scoring goals!  There were no codes and participants themselves would set the rules before each game and argue about them afterwards.  It was not until the mid-19th Century that formal rules were drawn up.  It was at this point that football (soccer) and rugby diverged with the founding of the Football Association (FA) and the Rugby Football Union (RFU).

Website with lots of rugby history:  origins of Rugby

Rugby World Cup

Today, rugby is the most played contact sport in the world.  Some 180+ countries play rugby.  The sport is celebrated at the Rugby World Cup (RWC) every 4 years.  Official RWC 2015 Site - Home . The RWC is the 3rd most watched event after the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup.  Some 3 billion people watched the 2003 RWC.  The 2007 Rugby World Cup was played in France and was won by the South African national team - the "Springboks". 

The 2011 Rugby World Cup was hosted in New Zealand.  The New Zealand “All Blacks” beat France in the Final 8-7 to take the Web Ellis Cup from the 2007 winners, the South Afican Springboks.

The last Rugby World Cup took place in England in Fall 2015.    In the Final of the 2015 RWC, the defending New Zealand All Blacks beat the Australia Wallabies 34 - 17 to become the first side to retain the Webb Ellis Tropy.

The next Rugby World Cup will take place in Japan in 2019.  Rugby World Cup - Japan 2019

Rugby in the USA

In the USA, rugby is widely played as a club sport at many colleges and universities (over 600 clubs).  Women now comprise some 40% of USA Rugby's membership.  The NCAA plans to make women's rugby a varsity sport within the next 3 - 4 years. 

Increasingly the sport is played at the high school level; in the NoVa-DC-Baltimore area there are over 25 HS clubs.  The teams in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) are varsity programs.