Twenty Rugby facts that will amaze you

Why is called a try?

A ‘try’ in rugby was once worth nothing. However, it gave the player, who achieved one, the opportunity to ‘try’ to score a goal, hence its name. Goals were scored by kicking over the crossbar and between two posts, therefore converting the try into a goal, a goal being worth one point.

The Haka

The war haka, or peruperu, was performed by Maori warriors before battle to intimidate enemies by demonstrating their fierceness and strength. The haka is been performed by New Zealand Rugby teams and teams from other Polynesian islands. The most recognisable haka for rugby fans is Ka Mate.

Are you eligible to play for the Barbarians?

Well, the only criteria a player must fulfil to receive an invitation from The Barbarians to play are that the player’s rugby is of a good standard and that they behave themselves on and off the field. Yet a barbarian is a human who is perceived to be uncivilised or primitive!

Boycott of the 76 Games

The 1976 Montreal Games were marred by the boycott of mostly African countries because of the IOC’s refusal to ban New Zealand. The reason the countries wanted the ban was that the New Zealand’s Rugby Union team, The All Blacks continued to play against South Africa, a country banned by the IOC because of its Apartheid regime. In total, 28 countries felt forced into boycotting the games.\

First International Rugby Game

The 1st international rugby match took place between Scotland and England in 1871 at Raeburn Park in Edinburgh. Scotland won 1–0 by converting a try. The scorer, and therefore the first player to score an international rugby goal, was William Cross. If the modern scoring system was used, the score would have been 12–5 to Scotland, who scored two tries and one conversion. England achieved one try but failed to convert.

Gil Evan Whistle

The same whistle is used to kick off the opening game of every Rugby World Cup tournament. It is the ‘Gil Evans’ whistle, first blown by Gil Evans, the referee overseeing a match between England and New Zealand in 1905. Also, it was used in the final rugby match at the 1924 Paris Olympics.

Olympic Rugby champions

The United States (that famous rugby-playing nation) are the reigning Rugby Union Olympic champions. Just remember there are three codes or types of Rugby. Union, the 15 a side game, League with 13 players and 7s. In the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Fiji smashed GB 43–7 to win Gold in the Rugby Sevens.


TMO stands for Television Match Official. It is currently used by the two codes of Rugby Union and Rugby League to confirm certain decisions made or missed by the officials.

American football’s roots

American football grew out of English sports such as Rugby and Association Football and became popular on American college campuses in the late 1800s.

Why are Rugby balls oval?

Oval balls are more suited to rugby than spherical balls as they are easier to catch, hold and run with and don’t roll as far so don’t go out of play as often.

Prohibition Notice

Some Rugby players, if they are severely bruised from contact, are given Prohibition notices by their medical advisors. A bruise is an internal bleed and alcohol thins the blood and can actually make the bruise worse and it will definitely take longer to heal.

The Calcutta Cup

The Calcutta Cup is the trophy presented to the winner of the England versus Scotland rugby union match. When the Calcutta RFC was disbanded, the memory of the club was kept alive by having the remaining 270 silver rupees in their bank account melted down and made into a trophy.

Rugby or Football?

The difference between ‘rugby’ and ‘football’ is blatantly obvious nowadays. However, this wasn’t always the case, one was originally known as ‘Rugby football’, named after the public school where the sport was invented, whilst the other became known as ‘association football’.

Winter Olympic Sports

Originally, in early Olympics, football, rugby and hockey were classed as winter Olympic sports.

The wooden spoon

The wooden spoon was originally associated with the Cambridge University mathematical tripos exams, and was a kind of booby prize awarded by students to their fellow student ranked lowest in the final exams. Now used in sport, especially the Six Nations rugby tournament.

Barca’s rugby history in Liverpool

Football Club Barcelona got their famous maroon and blue colours from a rugby team based at a school in North West England. Arthur and Ernest Witty were both students at Merchant Taylor’s School in Crosby, Liverpool. Their rugby team played in maroon and blue. Both went on to be heavily involved in the early years at Barcelona FC. Arthur captained the side alongside founder Joan Gamper before going on to serve as the club’s president.

Was he the games inventor?

William Webb Ellis invented Rugby aged 15 at Rugby school in 1823 when he picked up the ball in a game of football and ran with it. There is an eyewitness to the event who wrote about in the school magazine. Webb Ellis went on to become a vicar and died in 1872 without ever laying claim to being the inventor of the game!

Polite rule

In Rugby Union if a ball falls off the kicking tee, part of Rule 9 states that a player can’t return and put it back on but must first ask permission from the referee.

Best team ever?

The All Blacks Have a Winning Record Against Everyone

Best Northern hemisphere national team?

England Is the only northern team to win the world cup.

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