As one of the most popular sports in the world, rugby has garnered a following of millions of fans across the globe, and hosts some of the biggest events that sporting world has ever seen.
From Australia to South Africa, rugby has always held a special place in many peoples’ hearts, and it’s a game that’s constantly changing and attracting new, loyal fans.
For those that want to learn more about their beloved sport, here are some interesting facts about rugby.
1. The First Rugby Balls
When rugby first started to gain some popularity, the balls they used were plum-shaped and were made from the bladders of pigs.
As rubber became better known in the sports manufacturing world toward the end of the 19th century, Rugby School requested that their balls be more asymmetric to make them different from footballs.
Over time, the oval shape of the ball had become more pronounced, which allowed to become easier to catch and run with, and eventually their shape would be made official some decades later.
2. The US Olympic Rugby Team
Rugby has only been featured in four Olympic Games, those in 1900, 1908, 1920, and 1924. The national US Rugby team won two of those, in 1920 and 1924, making them the most successful rugby team at the Olympics ever.
3. National Anthems
The New Zealand All Blacks are famous for the Haka dance they perform before the beginning of every match. On the 16th of November, 1905 in Cardiff, the Welsh team responded to the war-dance of the All Blacks by breaking out into song.
The song they sang was Hen Wlad Fty Nhadau, which is the country’s national anthem, and the audience broke into cheering.
Today, it’s extremely commonplace to have the teams sing the national anthem before any major sporting events, and it’s become so popular that it’s now performed by teams for most sports around the world, and something sure to be heard while at the bar enjoying the games of online keno in the UK offers.
4. The First Whistle
The same whistle has been in use for the opening game of the Rugby World Cup since 1905.
Known as the Gil Evans whistle, named after the Welsh referee that first used it, the whistle has remained a tradition for over 100 years, and is still being used to this day.
5. The Invention of Basketball
Basketball, arguably the most popular sport in the United States, can trace its origin back to rugby.
In order to keep his players in good condition during the off season, James Naismith invented basketball; a sport that was high intensity and could be played indoors.
Naismith used his experience in other sports, such as hockey, football, and rugby, to create the new sport of basketball, which quickly took off to become the giant it is today.
6. The Origins of Rugby
There is no truly confirmed story about the origins of rugby; it’s a sport that developed over many years.
The most commonly accepted theory is that it was created by William Webb Ellis in 1823 while he was playing football.