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It appears that rugby football does not have such clear beginnings as William Webb Ellis might have us believe...
Unsurprisingly, we have always liked a kick about and the occasional run with the ball.
Rugby’s origins stem from many football-like and rugby-like games from the past (one of which I am pleased to note is Welsh).
Nevertheless, some crucial points are well established:
The first set of rules in appeared in 1845
The oldest open club, Blackheath RFC, was established in 1858.
Th game continued to develop, for example passing the ball was introduced in 1863 (something still not recognised by some of my own team mates).
However, two things happened that shaped the game as we see it today:
The dispute over paying players which birthed rugby union and rugby league in 1895
(and 100 years later) the professionalism of union in 1995
In the UK there are about 3,500 clubs (roughly 3,000 in England with Wales & Scotland having 250 each).
There are estimated to be over a million rugby union players with the numbers growing, particularly in girls/womens' rugby.
Touch rugby, 7s, 10s and rugby’s re-inclusion in the 2016 Olympics may well see a boost in participation from England’s World Cup hosting next year.
© 2014 Noisy Biscuit Club