What is Rugby?
Rugby union is a full contact team sport that originated in England in the early 19th century. The object of the game is that two teams of fifteen players each, should score as many points as possible, by carrying, passing, kicking and grounding a rugby ball with the team scoring the greater number of points being the winner of the match.
The benefits that come with playing rugby are the development of leadership, team spirit, courage, sportsmanship and friendship. These values and traditions develop from the first time a young player shakes hands with their opposite number, leading to a life long passion for and involvement with the game at all levels.
Tag Rugby, also known as flag rugby league or simply flag rugby, is a non-contact team game in which each player wears a belt that has two velcro tags attached to it, or shorts with velcro patches. Attacking players attempt to dodge, evade and pass a rugby ball while defenders attempt to prevent them scoring by "tagging" - pulling a velcro attached tag from the ball carrier, rather than a full contact tackle. The rugby union community use tag rugby as a development and training alternative to full contact rugby.
Who plays Rugby?
Rugby is a game that is played in over 120 countries throughout the world and is relatively strong as a participation sport in Canada, especially in hotspots like British Columbia. Canada is classified by the International Rugby Board (IRB) as a tier two rugby nation alongside Fiji, Japan, Romania, Samoa, Tonga and the USA, with ten teams making up tier 1. A tier two nation is described as one that does not have a full-time professional domestic structure in place, but is considered by the IRB to be the most promising countries in which to expand the sport.
The Canadian national side have competed in every world cup to date and reached the quarter-finals in 1991. They are currently ranked fourteen in the world and are considered a regional power in the sport in the Americas, with only Argentina ahead of them.
Canada has around 13,000 seniors and twice as many junior players spread across the country. The leading domestic competitions are the Americas Rugby Championship, a cross-border regional competition including the United States and Argentina, and the Rugby Canada National Junior Championship for under-20 players organised solely within Canada by Rugby Canada, the sports governing body.
Large numbers of players are active in North America, and the USA regularly qualify for world cups, while Canada has participated at every World Cup.
History of Rugby
Significant events in the early development of rugby football were the production of the first set of written laws at Rugby School in 1845; the Blackheath Rugby Club's decision to leave the Football Association in 1863 and the formation of the Rugby Football Union in 1871. The code was originally known simply as "rugby football” until 1895, when the game split into two separate codes "rugby union" and “rugby league”.
Between 1905 and 1908, all three major Southern Hemisphere rugby countries sent their first touring teams to the Northern Hemisphere. All three teams brought new styles of play, fitness levels and tactics and were far more successful than critics had expected. 1905 also saw the first French internationals.
The years during the First World War saw an end of international rugby union games and union-sponsored club matches, but competitions continued with service teams such as the New Zealand Army Team. The Second World War saw an end of international matches from most countries, though Italy, Germany and Romania played a limited number of games, and Cambridge and Oxford continued their annual University Match.
In 1973 the first officially sanctioned international sevens tournament took place at Murrayfield, as part of the Scottish Rugby Union centenary celebrations. In 1987 the first Rugby World Cup was held in New Zealand and Australia, and the inaugural winners were New Zealand. The first World Cup Sevens tournament was held at Murrayfield in 1993.
Rugby union was an amateur sport until the IRB declared the game 'open' in 1995, removing restrictions on payments to players.
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