Rugby Union

Rugby union, which is generally mentioned as Rugby, is actually a full contact game that developed in England in nineteenth century. This game is played using an egg-shaped ball which is 12 inches in length and 24 inches in width. A Rugby Union field measures 330 feet long and 230 feet wide and 'H' shaped goal posts are placed on both the goal lines.

William Webb Ellis is the person who is accredited with the innovation of running with ball at the Rugby School, in 1823, when Ellis allegedly hold that ball when he was playing football and ran at the opposition's goal. However, this story appears doubtful to most people.

The laws of football were first written by the pupils of Rugby School; other important incidents in the early development of this game include the decision taken by Blackheath Club to leave the FA (Football Association) in 1863 and split between rugby league and rugby union in 1895.

Rugby Union Historically, Rugby was an amateur sport till 1995 when IRB (International Rugby Board) polished off all the restrictions on player's payments and made the game fully professional at the top level for the very first time.

Formed in 1986, the International Rugby Board has been the governing body of this game. The reach of Rugby Union developed from Home nations of Great Britain and Ireland; later this sport was taken in by many nations linked with British Empire. Rugby's early exponents include South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Countries like New Zealand, Wales, Tonga, Samoa, Georgia and Fiji have adopted this game as their national sport. By November 2010, this game is played in more than hundred countries across 6 continents.

The very 1st Rugby World Cup took place in 1987 and it takes place in every 4 years. The winner of World Cup receive Webb Ellis trophy. The major international championships held each year are - The Six Nations Championship that takes place in Europe as well as The Rugby Championship that took place in the Southern Hemisphere.

Top level domestic championships are the English Premiership (England), Top 14 (France), the Currie Cup (South Africa) and ITM Cup (New Zealand).

Other international tournaments include Super Rugby involving New Zealand, Australian and South African teams; the Celtic League originally involving Scottish, Welsh and Irish teams and at present Italian teams as well; and Heineken Cup consisting of top teams from domestic European competitions.

During the 1st world war, not a single rugby game or any union sponsored club games took place. During the 2nd world war, no international matches were played by most of the nations. Countries like Romania, Italy and Germany played limited number of games; and Oxford and Cambridge carried on their yearly university games.

Four times, in early 1900s, Rugby union was added as an event. The very first officially approved international sevens championship held at Murrayfield which is one of the biggest stadiums in Scotland. The first ever Rugby Union world cup took place in Australia and New Zealand. The winner of the inaugural edition was New Zealand. In 1998, Rugby Sevens was introduced on the Commonwealth Games and by 2016; it will be included in Olympic Games as well.