Rugby is another of those sports that’s wildly popular around the world, except for North America. That’s changing now, of course, as more teams and leagues pop up every year, but many still don’t know very much about the sport.
Besides knowing that air domes make perfect venues for indoor rugby games, we really didn’t know too much about the history of rugby either. So, we did a little digging…
First off, did you know that the sport of rugby is a direct offshoot from soccer (or football as it was known at the time)?
You may have noticed some similarities between the two sports, but you might not have realized how closely the two are actually related. There is some contention of how the two sports split, though.
According to SportsKnowHow.com, when the official rules for soccer were first decided upon back in 1863, a group of clubs and schools gathered to decide on which rules would stay and which would be abandoned.
One club, Blackheath—a notoriously rough club—wanted to include rules to allow running with the ball and hacking at the one carrying it. This wouldn’t fit into the game that the other clubs were trying to create, so Blackheath decided to strike off and create their own sport.
A sport that involved kicking, throwing, tackling, and was simply more rough and tumble than what would become “the beautiful game.” Rugby would go on to become something different, and a rift between the two sports would always remain.
Is this story true? We’re not sure! This is one of those historical stories that was passed down, but not properly recorded. Others have given a different story for the origins of the sport.
An older article from The Guardian tells a different tale. This source states that the sport started much earlier in 1823, according to a commemorative stone at an old rugby school.
The stone says that a student named William Webb Ellis was the first to begin playing rugby when he didn’t want to follow the standard rules of football. It says that “with a fine disregard for the rules of football...first took the ball in his arms and ran with it, thus originating the distinctive feature of the rugby game."
Now these two origin stories have enough time between them that they could both be true, it’s difficult to say for sure.
As with any sport that stretches back far enough, history gets muddy when trying to pinpoint a person or point in time when it first started.
Sports constantly evolve, and just like biological evolution, the changes are often so gradual that it’s pretty hard to define when one thing becomes another.
One thing we know for sure, though, is that the sport of rugby is just as popular as ever and continues to grow. And being able to move the sport indoors into an air supported structure will help bring the sport to even more North Americans who, due to the colder winters in the Northern parts, tend to spend more time with indoor sports.