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Fascinating Rugby Facts

We might be in the throes of a football World Cup right now but every four years we also experience the Rugby World Cup. Fans of the sport enjoy this time even more so as it’s one rare time when rugby is talked about more than football! Let’s look at some facts you might not know about the gentlemanly game:

    1. The story of the origin of the sport is a little vague but it’s mainly thought to have started at the Rugby School in 1823. William Webb Ellis supposedly decided to catch the ball during a game of football and ran with it towards the opponent’s goal! Nobody knows whether this really occurred or if it’s a myth, but the World Cup trophy has been named the William Webb Ellis Cup in honour of that mystery schoolboy.
    2. The first rugby balls used were actually made from the bladders of pigs. Instead of being oval, they were plum-shaped. When rubber became more commonplace, the Rugby School requested that the balls remain in that unique shape to distinguish them from footballs. The oval shape of today has evolved over time to make them easier to handle.
    3. The most successful rugby team was the U.S Olympic team. Rugby has only appeared in the Olympics in 1900, 1908, 1920 and 1924 with America winning twice. For a more successful personal game, try some new Rugby Drill Videos, available at https://www.sportplan.net/drills/Rugby/
    4. These days it’s commonplace to see players singing their national anthem before major sporting events. This originated in rugby. In response to seeing the New Zealand All Blacks perform the haka against Wales in 1905, the Welsh broke into song themselves and performed their national anthem.
    5. When the game first started being played, there were no points for a try. When you crossed the touchline with the ball you simply won the right to try to score a goal. A goal was scored by kicking it through the goal posts. Now a try is awarded 5 points for union and 4 for league, with a further opportunity to score 2 points through a conversion at the goal posts.

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    6. The worst defeat ever was for Japan when they suffered a thrashing from New Zealand in 1995. The All Blacks won 145 to 17 in a World Cup game and this game retains the record for the highest scoring game. The biggest margin record though is held by Australia, who beat Namibia in 2003 a painful 142-0. mighty whopping at the hands of New Zealand in 1995
    7. The same whistle is used for every World Cup opener and has been since the first in 1905. Hope it gets a wipe down at least! It is called the Gil Evans whistle, who was the first referee to use it in 1905.

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