What year was rugby first played in?

Updated: 9/27/2023
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12y ago

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The actual start of Rugby union is difficult to define. This is because the emryonic start was in 1823, during a game of soccer at Rugby School in England, 16 year old William Webb Ellis picked up the ball and ran with it towards his opponents' goal line.

However, by the 1840s running with the ball had become the norm in the new game format, and by the 1870s rugby clubs had sprung up all over the UK and in the colonies. But different rules were being used by different clubs, and a meeting was held in January 1871, attended by representatives of 22 clubs, to resolve the situation. It was at this meeting that the Rugby Football Union was founded.

The meeting on 26 of January 1871 was initiated by Edwin Ash, Secretary of Richmond Club, who submitted a letter to the newspapers which read: "Those who play the rugby-type game should meet to form a code of practice as various clubs play to rules which differ from others, which makes the game difficult to play".

Along with the founding of the Rugby Football Union a committee was formed, and three ex-Rugby School pupils, all lawyers, were invited to formulate a set of rules. This task was completed and approved by June 1871. So technically the Rugby Football Union which started June 1871 as the name of the game and the rules which form the basis of the ones now in existence was born.

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1823 but it was not formalised as the Rugby Football Union until 1870

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15y ago


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Q: What year was rugby first played in?
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