10 Facts About Rugby
Rugby,without doubt is one of the world’s greatest sports. Played by tough tacklingmen and women and watched by millions … Many of who still don’t know the rules(and yes, we’d include some World Cup referees in that), and, in fact, manyfans might not know all they should. To build up your own personal rugby factfile, here’s a few weird and wonderful facts about “chasing the egg.”
1. The mysterious origins of the oval ball …
Whilemodern balls are made of high-tech materials and often spend months in design,the first-ever balls were made by a rather creative man named Richard Lindonout of pigs’ bladders covered in leather panels.
2. … and the tragedy of it
However,the hand pump and valve had yet to be invented and Lindon’s own wife had toblow up the balls by mouth. Tell that story to the next person you hear moaningabout washing the team kit. Then run!
3. The Greatest
Theincomparable All Blacks are the only team to have retained the World Cup,having won it in 2011 and 2015.
4. Unlikely Olympic champions
Beforerugby was recently reintroduced as an Olympic sport, albeit the sevens version,who do you reckon the reigning Olympic champions were? Nope, not England, Wales,Australia or even New Zealand. It was America. Yep, we Yanks held the title formore than 90 years!
5. Historic whistles
Thesame whistle is used to kick off the opening game of every rugby world cup.It’s called the “Gil Evans whistle” and was shockingly first used by a Welshreferee (yes, you guessed it, Gil Evans was his name) all the way back in 1905.We can’t decide if that’s a really nice tradition or just really unhygienic.
6. Go on, give it a try
Thesedays we know a try as something that is confusingly worth five points insteadof three. However, there was a time in the history of rugby where a try wasworth, well, nothing. After battling to touch the ball down at the opposingteams end you were given a chance to “try” to score a conversion. Thankfullythey made it a little more worthwhile!
7. Inaugural disappointments
England(of course) played in the first ever international rugby match against Scotland… and lost, in true English fashion. Scotland won 1-0 by converting an oldfashioned try, but they would have won 12-5 even by today’s standards. Ho-hum.
8. A sporting tradition is born
Thesedays we’re used to watching “God Save the Queen” being played before any Englishsporting event. But it wasn’t always the case. The tradition was actuallystarted by England’s noisy neighbors, the Welsh, whose national side sangspontaneously in response to one of New Zealand’s infamous Hakas. Miraculously,the crowd caught on and began to sing as well. This began a worldwide traditionthat is practiced in pretty much every sport going. I serve, indeed.
9. You’re welcome, LeBron James
Wethink that NBA All-Stars like LeBron James and Stephen Curry should pay a bitmore attention to rugby, because if rugby didn’t exist then basketball wouldn’teither! It’s widely believed that the inventor of B-ball, Dr. James Naismith,actually invented the game as a way to keep rugby players fit in the wintermonths but who knows for certain?
10. The football rebellion that started it all
Rugby’shumble beginnings come from the town of Rugby in Warwickshire, England. Astudent by the name of William Webb Ellis picked up the ball in the middle of asoccer match and simply ran at the opponent’s goal. Just goes to show that,sometimes, ignoring the rules (but never the laws) isn’t a bad idea.