17 April 2010
Why is the sport of RUGBY called that?
English villages were playing games of 'fute ball' way back in the 1100s. English boarding schools developed their own variants of this game.
An early form of the game was being played at the Rugby School in Warwickshire, England between 1750 and 1859. This game permitted handling of the ball, but no-one was allowed to run with it in their hands towards the opposition's goal.
There was no fixed limit to the number of players per side and sometimes there were hundreds taking part in a kind of enormous rolling maul.
Running with the ball was introduced some time between 1859 and 1865. William Webb Ellis has been credited with breaking the local rules by running forwards with the ball in a game that had been long-tied in 1823.
Not long after this, boys from Rugby School produced the first written rules for their version of the sport in 1870.
Dr. Thomas Arnold, Rugby's headmaster, helped convince other boarding schools that the game could be part of a balanced education and leading to adoption of the Rugby rules across the country.
According to Wikipedia, a field-game resembling rugby football was a game played by ancient Greeks called episkyros (Greek: επίσκυρος).In Wales such a sport is called cnapan or "criapan", and has medieval roots. The old Irish predecessor of rugby may be caid. The Cornish called it "hurling to goals" which dates back to the bronze age, the West country called it "hurling over country" (neither should to be confused with Gaelic hurling in which the ball is hit with a stick called a hurley or hurl, not carried), East Anglians "Campball", the French "La Soule" or "Chole" (a rough-and-tumble cross-country game).
Rugby For Dummies