A Brief History of Rugby

1490 Words6 Pages
With each passing civilization and the era it’s [its] people lived in, one can find a great deal about the times by examining an area that is not often thought of. That area is in regards to sports. The ancient Mayans had arenas, the Greeks helped initiate the Olympics, and the Romans had bloody matches between gladiators in the Colosseum. These sports and games often reveal to us what was occurring outside the playing field and arenas, into the political arenas and clashes between the classes. Examining the history of rugby throughout Europe, particularly in Great Britain, allows one the opportunity to see how the changes throughout society’s values, norms, and principles are mirrored by the evolution of the game of rugby from the mid-nineteenth century up to World War I. Variations of games similar to rugby can be found throughout history, even dating back to the twelfth century. There was even an attempt to ban these types of games. In some cases, like in England, King Edward II issued an edict that formally banned the games. This would only prove to be temporary. Until 1845, rules were often agreed upon before the contest began and could change slightly with each contest. It was not until the year 1845 that rules were officially established that distinguished the game from other forms at Rugby School by three young men. Rugby derives its name from this since three boys attending this institution first established rule defining the sport. William Webb-Ellis is also attributed to helping evolve the game to present day form. It is rumored that during a match in 1823, he picked up the ball and began to run with it. His alleged disregard for the rules helped in fact to define what would be a future rule of the sport. ... ... middle of paper ... ...” The Historical Journal, Vol. 45, No. 4 (2002): 797-817. 3. Collins, Tony. “Myth and Reality in the 1895 Rugby Split,” The Sports Historian, No. 16 (1996): 19-27. 4. Dine, Phillip. “Money, Identity, and Conflict: Rugby League in France,” The Sports Historian, No. 16 (1996): 90-108. 5. Handler, Timothy. “The Structuring of Manliness and the Development of Rugby Football at the Public Schools of Oxbridge: 1830-1880,” in Making Men: Rugby and Masculine Identity, ed. John Nauright and Timothy John Lindsay Chandler (Psychology Press, 1996), 13-21. 6. Martens, James W. “They Stooped to Conquer: Rugby Union Football 1895-1914,” Journal of Sport History, Vol. 20, No. 1 (1993): 25-41. 7. Stoddart, Brian. “Sport, Cultural Imperialism, and Colonial Response in the British Empire,” Comparative Studies in Society and History, Vol. 30, No. 4 (1988): 649-673.

More about A Brief History of Rugby

Open Document