Rugby, or Rugby Football, is a sport that was developed through the convergence of several forms of football played in England in the 1800s. Quite interestingly, Rugby is itself the precursor to several similar forms of football including American Football, Aussie Rules Football and Canadian Football.
The most significant event however that triggered the game to its current level of fame was occasioned in 1823 when William Webb Ellis, while playing a football game, held the ball by the hands and ran forward with the ball towards the oppositionís goal. That feat was unprecedented in football and marked the beginning of present-day rugby football.
There are a number of versions of the game. Chief among these is the fact that the ball is prolate-spheroid or oval. It can be kicked in any direction or passed from one player to the next only by throwing it backwards. That essentially means that to gain ground, a player has to kick the ball forward or run some distance before passing it backward to a teammate who then does the same. On the other hand, rugby is game that is exclusively played on open outdoor grass fields. Depending on the nature of the competition or agreement, it is possible to have teams comprising 7, 13 or15 members.
The physical nature of the sport requires players to be strong and fit. Indeed speed, wit, and brut strength are the hallmarks of this game. It is amazing what it takes to play the menís game at the international level. It is common to find players who weigh over 100 kilograms, are able to run 100 meters in under 11 seconds, and who are at least 5 feet 10 inches tall.
With the global drive for women to also actively participate in sports, a womenís version of Rugby was introduced in the 1980s. Womenís Rugby is now played in several countries and there are womenís tournaments that run concurrently with the menís competitions such as the World Cup and the Six Nations Rugby Live competition. Of course the womenís versions of the game, especially at the international level, lacks the power and speed that is central to the menís game, but that is made up for in wit and polished passing displays.
But rugby is not just about adrenaline, speed, wits and guts. An analysis of the flip side of the sport reveals an exciting culture and lifestyle. Depending on the region in focus, it could be a sport associated with the upper and middle classes, or with private schools, industrial workers, and sometimes with elitist groups. On the other hand, rugby fans are known the world over not to be average drinkers. A distinctive characteristic of celebrations marking victories or events leading to rugby competitions is the free-flowing beer. Quite undeniably, most of the players themselves love beer.
Be that as it may, Rugby continues to attract global media attention and an ever-increasing fan base. The professional nature of the gameís management most certainly endears itself to many sports lovers.