Rugby is a form of football that is played by two teams of 15 players (in rugby union play) or 13 players using an oval ball. The football played at Rugby School in England is where Rugby Union and Rugby League got their start. Rugby football’s unique handling game was created in 1823 by William Webb Ellis, a student at Rugby School, who disobeyed the rules of the time by picking up the ball and running with it during a game. By the early 1900s, when foundation myths for baseball and Australian rules football were also being created, this “historical” basis of the game had already become firmly established.
There is no concrete proof that the incident ever occurred, even though it was mentioned by the Old Rugbeian Society in a report on the game’s beginnings in 1897 and it is known that Webb Ellis was a student at Rugby School at the time. The initial rules of the game that would later become rugby union football were developed there in 1845, and Rugby School, the institution that gave the sport its name, played a crucial role in the evolution of rugby football.
From its elitist roots in England, Scotland, and Ireland, rugby quickly extended to middle-class and working-class males in the north of England and Wales, as well as to the British colonies in South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. It also made its way to North America, where it gave rise to a brand-new kind of football.
The growing impact of consumerism and television on the Rugby Union and Rugby League in the latter decades of the 20th century. The introduction of World Cup competitions was a major driver of rugby football’s explosive expansion in the decades preceding the turn of the twenty-first century.