Rugby union

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For a more detailed explanation of how rugby union is played, see Rugby union gameplay. Rugby union_sentence_0

Not to be confused with Rugby league. Rugby union_sentence_1

Rugby union_table_infobox_0

Rugby unionRugby union_table_caption_0
Highest governing bodyRugby union_header_cell_0_0_0 World RugbyRugby union_cell_0_0_1
NicknamesRugby union_header_cell_0_1_0 Rugby, Rugger, Rugby XV, Union, Football, FootyRugby union_cell_0_1_1
First playedRugby union_header_cell_0_2_0 19th century, England, United KingdomRugby union_cell_0_2_1
Registered playersRugby union_header_cell_0_3_0 9,600,000Rugby union_cell_0_3_1
ClubsRugby union_header_cell_0_4_0 180,630Rugby union_cell_0_4_1
CharacteristicsRugby union_header_cell_0_5_0
ContactRugby union_header_cell_0_6_0 FullRugby union_cell_0_6_1
Team membersRugby union_header_cell_0_7_0 15 (with up to 8 substitutes)Rugby union_cell_0_7_1
Mixed genderRugby union_header_cell_0_8_0 Separate competitionsRugby union_cell_0_8_1
TypeRugby union_header_cell_0_9_0 Team sport, outdoorRugby union_cell_0_9_1
EquipmentRugby union_header_cell_0_10_0 Rugby ball, Scrum cap (optional), Rugby bootsRugby union_cell_0_10_1
PresenceRugby union_header_cell_0_11_0
Country or regionRugby union_header_cell_0_12_0 Worldwide (most popular in certain European and Commonwealth countries)Rugby union_cell_0_12_1
OlympicRugby union_header_cell_0_13_0 Part of the Summer Olympic programme in 1900, 1908, 1920 and 1924

Rugby sevens included in 2016Rugby union_cell_0_13_1

Rugby union, widely known simply as rugby, is a full-contact team sport that originated in England in the first half of the 19th century. Rugby union_sentence_2

One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand. Rugby union_sentence_3

In its most common form, a game is played between two teams of 15 players each, using an oval-shaped ball on a rectangular field called a pitch. Rugby union_sentence_4

The field has H-shaped goalposts at both ends. Rugby union_sentence_5

Rugby union is a popular sport around the world, played by male and female players of all ages. Rugby union_sentence_6

In 2014, there were more than 6 million people playing worldwide, of whom 2.36 million were registered players. Rugby union_sentence_7

World Rugby, previously called the International Rugby Football Board (IRFB) and the International Rugby Board (IRB), has been the governing body for rugby union since 1886, and currently has 101 countries as full members and 18 associate members. Rugby union_sentence_8

In 1845, the first laws were written by pupils at Rugby School; other significant events in the early development of rugby include the decision by Blackheath F.C. to leave the Football Association in 1863 and, in 1895, the split between rugby union and rugby league. Rugby union_sentence_9

Historically rugby union was an amateur sport, but in 1995 formal restrictions on payments to players were removed, making the game openly professional at the highest level for the first time. Rugby union_sentence_10

Rugby union spread from the Home Nations of Great Britain and Ireland, with other early exponents of the sport including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and France. Rugby union_sentence_11

The sport is followed primarily in the British Isles, France, Australasia, Southern Africa, Argentina and to a lesser extent Italy, Uruguay, Canada and Japan, its growth occurring during the expansion of the British Empire and through French proponents (Rugby Europe) in Europe. Rugby union_sentence_12

Countries that have adopted rugby union as their de facto national sport include Fiji, Georgia, Madagascar, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga and Wales. Rugby union_sentence_13

International matches have taken place since 1871 when the first game was played between Scotland and England at Raeburn Place in Edinburgh. Rugby union_sentence_14

The Rugby World Cup, first held in 1987, is contested every four years. Rugby union_sentence_15

The Six Nations Championship in Europe and The Rugby Championship in the Southern Hemisphere are other major international competitions that are held annually. Rugby union_sentence_16

National club and provincial competitions include the Premiership in England, the Top 14 in France, the Mitre 10 Cup in New Zealand, the Top League in Japan, the Currie Cup in South Africa and the National Rugby Championship in Australia. Rugby union_sentence_17

Other transnational club competitions include the European Rugby Champions Cup, the Pro14 in Europe and South Africa, and Super Rugby and Global Rapid Rugby in the Southern Hemisphere. Rugby union_sentence_18

History Rugby union_section_0

Main article: History of rugby union Rugby union_sentence_19

The origin of rugby football is reputed to be an incident during a game of English school football at Rugby School in Warwickshire in 1823, when William Webb Ellis is said to have picked up the ball and run with it. Rugby union_sentence_20

Although the story may well be apocryphal, it was immortalised at the school with a commemorative plaque that was unveiled in 1895, and the Rugby World Cup trophy is named after Webb Ellis. Rugby union_sentence_21

Rugby football stems from the form of the game played at Rugby School, which former pupils then introduced to their universities. Rugby union_sentence_22

Former Rugby School student Albert Pell is credited with having formed the first "football" team while a student at Cambridge University. Rugby union_sentence_23

Major private schools each used different rules during this early period, with former pupils from Rugby and Eton attempting to carry their preferred rules through to their universities. Rugby union_sentence_24

A significant event in the early development of rugby football was the production of a written set of rules at Rugby School in 1845, followed by the Cambridge Rules that were drawn up in 1848. Rugby union_sentence_25

Formed in 1863, the national governing body The Football Association (FA) began codifying a set of universal football rules. Rugby union_sentence_26

These new rules specifically banned players from running with the ball in hand and also disallowed hacking (kicking players in the shins), both of which were legal and common tactics under the Rugby School's rules of the sport. Rugby union_sentence_27

In protest at the imposition of the new rules, the Blackheath Club left the FA followed by several other clubs that also favoured the "Rugby Rules". Rugby union_sentence_28

Although these clubs decided to ban hacking soon afterwards, the split was permanent, and the FA's codified rules became known as "association football" whilst the clubs that had favoured the Rugby Rules formed the Rugby Football Union in 1871, and their code became known as "rugby football". Rugby union_sentence_29

In 1895, there was a major schism within rugby football in England in which numerous clubs from Northern England resigned from the RFU over the issue of reimbursing players for time lost from their workplaces. Rugby union_sentence_30

The split highlighted the social and class divisions in the sport in England, and led directly to the creation of the separate code of "rugby league". Rugby union_sentence_31

The existing sport thereafter took on the name "rugby union" to differentiate it from rugby league, but both versions of the sport are known simply as "rugby" throughout most of the world. Rugby union_sentence_32

First internationals Rugby union_section_1

The first rugby football international was played on 27 March 1871 between Scotland and England in Edinburgh. Rugby union_sentence_33

Scotland won the game 1–0. Rugby union_sentence_34

By 1881 both Ireland and Wales had representative teams and in 1883 the first international competition, the Home Nations Championship had begun. Rugby union_sentence_35

1883 is also the year of the first rugby sevens tournament, the Melrose Sevens, which is still held annually. Rugby union_sentence_36

Two important overseas tours took place in 1888: a British Isles team visited Australia and New Zealand—although a private venture, it laid the foundations for future British and Irish Lions tours; and the 1888–89 New Zealand Native football team brought the first overseas team to British spectators. Rugby union_sentence_37

During the early history of rugby union, a time before commercial air travel, teams from different continents rarely met. Rugby union_sentence_38

The first two notable tours both took place in 1888—the British Isles team touring New Zealand and Australia, followed by the New Zealand team touring Europe. Rugby union_sentence_39

Traditionally the most prestigious tours were the Southern Hemisphere countries of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa making a tour of a Northern Hemisphere, and the return tours made by a joint British and Irish team. Rugby union_sentence_40

Tours would last for months, due to long traveling times and the number of games undertaken; the 1888 New Zealand team began their tour in Hawkes Bay in June and did not complete their schedule until August 1889, having played 107 rugby matches. Rugby union_sentence_41

Touring international sides would play Test matches against international opponents, including national, club and county sides in the case of Northern Hemisphere rugby, or provincial/state sides in the case of Southern Hemisphere rugby. Rugby union_sentence_42

Between 1905 and 1908, all three major Southern Hemisphere rugby countries sent their first touring teams to the Northern Hemisphere: New Zealand in 1905, followed by South Africa in 1906 and Australia in 1908. Rugby union_sentence_43

All three teams brought new styles of play, fitness levels and tactics, and were far more successful than critics had expected. Rugby union_sentence_44

The New Zealand 1905 touring team performed a haka before each match, leading Welsh Rugby Union administrator Tom Williams to suggest that Wales player Teddy Morgan lead the crowd in singing the Welsh National Anthem, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, as a response. Rugby union_sentence_45

After Morgan began singing, the crowd joined in: the first time a national anthem was sung at the start of a sporting event. Rugby union_sentence_46

In 1905 France played England in its first international match. Rugby union_sentence_47

Rugby union was included as an event in the Olympic Games four times during the early 20th century. Rugby union_sentence_48

No international rugby games and union-sponsored club matches were played during the First World War, but competitions continued through service teams such as the New Zealand Army team. Rugby union_sentence_49

During the Second World War no international matches were played by most countries, though Italy, Germany and Romania played a limited number of games, and Cambridge and Oxford continued their annual University Match. Rugby union_sentence_50

The first officially sanctioned international rugby sevens tournament took place in 1973 at Murrayfield, one of Scotland's biggest stadiums, as part of the Scottish Rugby Union centenary celebrations. Rugby union_sentence_51

World Cup and professionalism Rugby union_section_2

In 1987 the first Rugby World Cup was held in Australia and New Zealand, and the inaugural winners were New Zealand. Rugby union_sentence_52

The first World Cup Sevens tournament was held at Murrayfield in 1993. Rugby union_sentence_53

Rugby Sevens was introduced into the Commonwealth Games in 1998 and was added to the Olympic Games of 2016. Rugby union_sentence_54

Both men and women's Sevens will again take place at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Rugby union_sentence_55

Rugby union was an amateur sport until the IRB declared the game "open" in August 1995 (shortly after the completion of the 1995 World Cup), removing restrictions on payments to players. Rugby union_sentence_56

However, the pre-1995 period of rugby union was marked by frequent accusations of "shamateurism", including an investigation in Britain by a House of Commons Select committee in early 1995. Rugby union_sentence_57

Following the introduction of professionalism trans-national club competitions were started, with the Heineken Cup in the Northern Hemisphere and Super Rugby in the Southern Hemisphere. Rugby union_sentence_58

The Tri Nations, an annual international tournament involving Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, kicked off in 1996. Rugby union_sentence_59

In 2012, this competition was extended to include Argentina, a country whose impressive performances in international games (especially finishing in third place in the 2007 Rugby World Cup) was deemed to merit inclusion in the competition. Rugby union_sentence_60

As a result of the expansion to four teams, the tournament was renamed The Rugby Championship. Rugby union_sentence_61

Teams and positions Rugby union_section_3

Main article: Rugby union positions Rugby union_sentence_62

Each team starts the match with 15 players on the field and seven or eight substitutes. Rugby union_sentence_63

Players in a team are divided into eight forwards (two more than in rugby league) and seven backs. Rugby union_sentence_64

Forwards Rugby union_section_4

The main responsibilities of the forward players are to gain and retain possession of the ball. Rugby union_sentence_65

Forwards play a vital role in tackling and rucking opposing players. Rugby union_sentence_66

Players in these positions are generally bigger and stronger and take part in the scrum and line-out. Rugby union_sentence_67

The forwards are often collectively referred to as the 'pack', especially when in the scrum formation. Rugby union_sentence_68

Front row Rugby union_section_5

The front row consists of three players: two props (the loosehead prop and the tighthead prop) and the hooker. Rugby union_sentence_69

The role of the two props is to support the hooker during scrums, to provide support for the jumpers during line-outs and to provide strength and power in rucks and mauls. Rugby union_sentence_70

The third position in the front row is the hooker. Rugby union_sentence_71

The hooker is a key position in attacking and defensive play and is responsible for winning the ball in the scrum. Rugby union_sentence_72

Hookers normally throw the ball in at line-outs. Rugby union_sentence_73

Second row Rugby union_section_6

The second row consists of two locks or lock forwards. Rugby union_sentence_74

Locks are usually the tallest players in the team, and specialise as line-out jumpers. Rugby union_sentence_75

The main role of the lock in line-outs is to make a standing jump, often supported by the other forwards, to either collect the thrown ball or ensure the ball comes down on their side. Rugby union_sentence_76

Locks also have an important role in the scrum, binding directly behind the three front row players and providing forward drive. Rugby union_sentence_77

Back row Rugby union_section_7

The back row, not to be confused with 'Backs', is the third and final row of the forward positions, who are often referred to as the loose forwards. Rugby union_sentence_78

The three positions in the back row are the two flankers and the number 8. Rugby union_sentence_79

The two flanker positions called the blindside flanker and openside flanker, are the final row in the scrum. Rugby union_sentence_80

They are usually the most mobile forwards in the game. Rugby union_sentence_81

Their main role is to win possession through 'turn overs'. Rugby union_sentence_82

The number 8 packs down between the two locks at the back of the scrum. Rugby union_sentence_83

The role of the number 8 in the scrum is to control the ball after it has been heeled back from the front of the pack, and the position provides a link between the forwards and backs during attacking phases. Rugby union_sentence_84

Backs Rugby union_section_8

The role of the backs is to create and convert point-scoring opportunities. Rugby union_sentence_85

They are generally smaller, faster and more agile than the forwards. Rugby union_sentence_86

Another distinction between the backs and the forwards is that the backs are expected to have superior kicking and ball-handling skills, especially the fly-half, scrum-half, and full-back. Rugby union_sentence_87

Half-backs Rugby union_section_9

The half-backs consist of two positions, the scrum-half and the fly-half. Rugby union_sentence_88

The fly-half is crucial to a team's game plan, orchestrating the team's performance. Rugby union_sentence_89

They are usually the first to receive the ball from the scrum-half following a breakdown, lineout, or scrum, and need to be decisive with what actions to take and be effective at communicating with the outside backs. Rugby union_sentence_90

Many fly-halves are also their team's goal kickers. Rugby union_sentence_91

The scrum-half is the link between the forwards and the backs. Rugby union_sentence_92

They receive the ball from the lineout and remove the ball from the back of the scrum, usually passing it to the fly-half. Rugby union_sentence_93

They also feed the scrum and sometimes have to act as a fourth loose forward. Rugby union_sentence_94

Three-quarters Rugby union_section_10

There are four three quarter positions: two centres (inside and outside) and two wings (left and right). Rugby union_sentence_95

The centres will attempt to tackle attacking players; whilst in attack, they should employ speed and strength to breach opposition defences. Rugby union_sentence_96

The wings are generally positioned on the outside of the backline. Rugby union_sentence_97

Their primary function is to finish off moves and score tries. Rugby union_sentence_98

Wings are usually the fastest players in the team and are elusive runners who use their speed to avoid tackles. Rugby union_sentence_99

Full-back Rugby union_section_11

The full-back is normally positioned several metres behind the back line. Rugby union_sentence_100

They often field opposition kicks and are usually the last line of defence should an opponent break through the back line. Rugby union_sentence_101

Two of the most important attributes of a good full-back are dependable catching skills and a good kicking game. Rugby union_sentence_102

Laws Rugby union_section_12

Main articles: Rugby union laws and Rugby union gameplay Rugby union_sentence_103

Scoring Rugby union_section_13

Rugby union is played between two teams – the one that scores more points wins the game. Rugby union_sentence_104

Points can be scored in several ways: a try, scored by grounding the ball in the in-goal area (between the goal line and the dead-ball line), is worth 5 points and a subsequent conversion kick scores 2 points; a successful penalty kick or a drop goal each score 3 points. Rugby union_sentence_105

The values of each of these scoring methods have been changed over the years. Rugby union_sentence_106

See also: History of rugby union § Scoring Rugby union_sentence_107

Playing field Rugby union_section_14

The field of play on a rugby pitch is as near as possible to a maximum of 144 metres (157 yd) long by 70 metres (77 yd) wide. Rugby union_sentence_108

In actual gameplay the length of a pitch can vary. Rugby union_sentence_109

There are typically 100 metres (109 yd) between the two try-lines, but it can be as short as 94 metres (103 yd). Rugby union_sentence_110

Anywhere between 6 and 22 metres (7 and 24 yd) behind each try line serves as the in-goal area. Rugby union_sentence_111

The pitch must be at least 68 metres (74 yd) wide, up to a maximum of 70 metres (76.5 yd) Rugby union_sentence_112

Rugby goalposts are H-shaped and are situated in the middle of the goal lines at each end of the field. Rugby union_sentence_113

They consist of two poles, 5.6 metres (6.1 yd) apart, connected by a horizontal crossbar 3 metres (3.3 yd) above the ground. Rugby union_sentence_114

The minimum height for posts is 3.4 metres (3.7 yd). Rugby union_sentence_115

Match structure Rugby union_section_15

At the beginning of the game, the captains and the referee toss a coin to decide which team will kick off first. Rugby union_sentence_116

Play then starts with a dropkick, with the players chasing the ball into the opposition's territory, and the other side trying to retrieve the ball and advance it. Rugby union_sentence_117

The dropkick must make contact with the ground before kicked. Rugby union_sentence_118

If the ball does not reach the opponent's 10-metre (11-yard) line 10 meters away, the opposing team has two choices: to have the ball kicked off again, or to have a scrum at the centre of the half-way line. Rugby union_sentence_119

If the player with the ball is tackled, frequently a ruck will result. Rugby union_sentence_120

Games are divided into 40-minute halves, with a break in the middle. Rugby union_sentence_121

The sides exchange ends of the field after the half-time break. Rugby union_sentence_122

Stoppages for injury or to allow the referee to take disciplinary action do not count as part of the playing time, so that the elapsed time is usually longer than 80 minutes. Rugby union_sentence_123

The referee is responsible for keeping time, even when—as in many professional tournaments—he is assisted by an official time-keeper. Rugby union_sentence_124

If time expires while the ball is in play, the game continues until the ball is "dead", and only then will the referee blow the whistle to signal half-time or full-time; but if the referee awards a penalty or free-kick, the game continues. Rugby union_sentence_125

In the knockout stages of rugby competitions, most notably the Rugby World Cup, two extra time periods of 10 minutes periods are played (with an interval of 5 minutes in between) if the game is tied after full-time. Rugby union_sentence_126

If scores are level after 100 minutes then the rules call for 20 minutes of sudden-death extra time to be played. Rugby union_sentence_127

If the sudden-death extra time period results in no scoring a kicking competition is used to determine the winner. Rugby union_sentence_128

However, no match in the history of the Rugby World Cup has ever gone past 100 minutes into a sudden-death extra time period. Rugby union_sentence_129

Passing and kicking Rugby union_section_16

Forward passing (throwing the ball ahead to another player) is not allowed; the ball can be passed laterally or backwards. Rugby union_sentence_130

The ball tends to be moved forward in three ways — by kicking, by a player running with it or within a scrum or maul. Rugby union_sentence_131

Only the player with the ball may be tackled or rucked. Rugby union_sentence_132

A "knock-on" is committed when a player knocks the ball forward, and play is restarted with a scrum. Rugby union_sentence_133

Any player may kick the ball forward in an attempt to gain territory. Rugby union_sentence_134

When a player anywhere in the playing area kicks indirectly into touch so that the ball first bounces in the field of play, the throw-in is taken where the ball went into touch. Rugby union_sentence_135

If the player kicks directly into touch (i.e. without bouncing in-field first) from within one's own 22-metre (24-yard) line, the lineout is taken by the opposition where the ball went into touch, but if the ball is kicked into touch directly by a player outside the 22-metre (24-yard) line, the lineout is taken level to where the kick was taken. Rugby union_sentence_136

Breakdowns Rugby union_section_17

The aim of the defending side is to stop the player with the ball, either by bringing them to ground (a tackle, which is frequently followed by a ruck) or by contesting for possession with the ball-carrier on their feet (a maul). Rugby union_sentence_137

Such a circumstance is called a breakdown and each is governed by a specific law. Rugby union_sentence_138

Tackling Rugby union_sentence_139

A player may tackle an opposing player who has the ball by holding them while bringing them to ground. Rugby union_sentence_140

Tacklers cannot tackle above the shoulder (the neck and head are out of bounds), and the tackler has to attempt to wrap their arms around the player being tackled to complete the tackle. Rugby union_sentence_141

It is illegal to push, shoulder-charge, or to trip a player using feet or legs, but hands may be used (this being referred to as a tap-tackle or ankle-tap). Rugby union_sentence_142

Tacklers may not tackle an opponent who has jumped to catch a ball until the player has landed. Rugby union_sentence_143

Rucking and Mauling Rugby union_sentence_144

Mauls occur after a player with the ball has come into contact with an opponent but the handler remains on his feet; once any combination of at least three players have bound themselves a maul has been set. Rugby union_sentence_145

A ruck is similar to the maul, but in this case the ball has gone to ground with at least three attacking players binding themselves on the ground in an attempt to secure the ball. Rugby union_sentence_146

Set pieces Rugby union_section_18

Lineout Rugby union_section_19

Rugby union_description_list_0

  • Rugby union_item_0_0

When the ball leaves the side of the field, a line-out is awarded against the team which last touched the ball. Rugby union_sentence_147

Forward players from each team line up a metre apart, perpendicular to the touchline and between 5 and 15 m (5.5 and 16.4 yd) from the touchline. Rugby union_sentence_148

The ball is thrown from the touchline down the centre of the lines of forwards by a player (usually the hooker) from the team that did not play the ball into touch. Rugby union_sentence_149

The exception to this is when the ball went out from a penalty, in which case the side who gained the penalty throws the ball in. Rugby union_sentence_150

Both sides compete for the ball and players may lift their teammates. Rugby union_sentence_151

A jumping player cannot be tackled until they stand and only shoulder-to-shoulder contact is allowed; deliberate infringement of this law is dangerous play, and results in a penalty kick. Rugby union_sentence_152

Scrum Rugby union_section_20

Main article: Scrum (rugby union) Rugby union_sentence_153

A scrum is a way of restarting the game safely and fairly after a minor infringement. Rugby union_sentence_154

It is awarded when the ball has been knocked or passed forward, if a player takes the ball over their own try line and puts the ball down, when a player is accidentally offside or when the ball is trapped in a ruck or maul with no realistic chance of being retrieved. Rugby union_sentence_155

A team may also opt for a scrum if awarded a penalty. Rugby union_sentence_156

A scrum is formed by the eight forwards from each team crouching down and binding together in three rows, before interlocking with the opposing team. Rugby union_sentence_157

For each team, the front row consists of two props (loosehead and tighthead) either side of the hooker. Rugby union_sentence_158

The two props are typically amongst the strongest players on the team. Rugby union_sentence_159

The second row consists of two locks and the two flankers. Rugby union_sentence_160

Behind the second row is the number 8. Rugby union_sentence_161

This formation is known as the 3–4–1 formation. Rugby union_sentence_162

Once a scrum is formed the scrum-half from the team awarded the feed rolls the ball into the gap between the two front-rows known as the tunnel. Rugby union_sentence_163

The two hookers then compete for possession by hooking the ball backwards with their feet, while each pack tries to push the opposing pack backwards to help gain possession. Rugby union_sentence_164

The side that wins possession can either keep the ball under their feet while driving the opposition back, in order to gain ground, or transfer the ball to the back of the scrum where it can be picked up by the number 8 or by the scrum-half. Rugby union_sentence_165

Officials and offences Rugby union_section_21

Main articles: Rugby union match officials and Laws of rugby union Rugby union_sentence_166

There are three match officials: a referee, and two assistant referees. Rugby union_sentence_167

The referees are commonly addressed as "Sir". Rugby union_sentence_168

The latter, formerly known as touch judges, had the primary function of indicating when the ball had gone into "touch"; their role has been expanded and they are now expected to assist the referee in a number of areas, such as watching for foul play and checking offside lines. Rugby union_sentence_169

In addition, for matches in high level competitions, there is often a television match official (TMO; popularly called the "video referee"), to assist with certain decisions, linked up to the referee by radio. Rugby union_sentence_170

The referees have a system of hand signals to indicate their decisions. Rugby union_sentence_171

Common offences include tackling above the shoulders, collapsing a scrum, ruck or maul, not releasing the ball when on the ground, or being offside. Rugby union_sentence_172

The non-offending team has a number of options when awarded a penalty: a "tap" kick, when the ball is kicked a very short distance from hand, allowing the kicker to regather the ball and run with it; a punt, when the ball is kicked a long distance from hand, for field position; a place-kick, when the kicker will attempt to score a goal; or a scrum. Rugby union_sentence_173

Players may be sent off (signalled by a red card) or temporarily suspended ("sin-binned") for ten minutes (yellow card) for foul play or repeated infringements, and may not be replaced. Rugby union_sentence_174

Occasionally, infringements are not caught by the referee during the match and these may be "cited" by the citing commissioner after the match and have punishments (usually suspension for a number of weeks) imposed on the infringing player. Rugby union_sentence_175

Replacements and substitutions Rugby union_section_22

During the match, players may be replaced (for injury) or substituted (for tactical reasons). Rugby union_sentence_176

A player who has been replaced may not rejoin play unless he was temporarily replaced to have bleeding controlled; a player who has been substituted may return temporarily, to replace a player who has a blood injury or has suffered a concussion, or permanently, if he is replacing a front-row forward. Rugby union_sentence_177

In international matches, eight replacements are allowed; in domestic or cross-border tournaments, at the discretion of the responsible national union(s), the number of replacements may be nominated to a maximum of eight, of whom three must be sufficiently trained and experienced to provide cover for the three front row positions. Rugby union_sentence_178

Prior to 2016, all substitutions, no matter the cause, counted against the limit during a match. Rugby union_sentence_179

In 2016, World Rugby changed the law so that substitutions made to replace a player deemed unable to continue due to foul play by the opposition would no longer count against the match limit. Rugby union_sentence_180

This change was introduced in January of that year in the Southern Hemisphere and June in the Northern Hemisphere. Rugby union_sentence_181

Equipment Rugby union_section_23

Main article: Rugby union equipment Rugby union_sentence_182

The most basic items of equipment for a game of rugby union are the ball itself, a rugby shirt (also known as a "jersey"), rugby shorts, socks, and boots. Rugby union_sentence_183

The rugby ball is oval in shape (technically a prolate spheroid), and is made up of four panels. Rugby union_sentence_184

The ball was historically made of leather, but in the modern era most games use a ball made from a synthetic material. Rugby union_sentence_185

World Rugby lays out specific dimensions for the ball, 280–300 mm (11–12 in) in length, 740–770 mm (29–30 in) in circumference of length and 580–620 mm (23–24 in) in circumference of width. Rugby union_sentence_186

Rugby boots have soles with studs to allow grip on the turf of the pitch. Rugby union_sentence_187

The studs may be either metal or plastic but must not have any sharp edges or ridges. Rugby union_sentence_188

Protective equipment is optional and strictly regulated. Rugby union_sentence_189

The most common items are mouthguards, which are worn by almost all players, and are compulsory in some rugby-playing nations. Rugby union_sentence_190

Other protective items that are permitted include head gear; thin (not more than 10 mm thick), non-rigid shoulder pads and shin guards; which are worn underneath socks. Rugby union_sentence_191

Bandages or tape can be worn to support or protect injuries; some players wear tape around the head to protect the ears in scrums and rucks. Rugby union_sentence_192

Female players may also wear chest pads. Rugby union_sentence_193

Although not worn for protection, some types of fingerless mitts are allowed to aid grip. Rugby union_sentence_194

It is the responsibility of the match officials to check players' clothing and equipment before a game to ensure that it conforms to the laws of the game. Rugby union_sentence_195

Governing bodies Rugby union_section_24

See also: World Rugby and Timeline of foundation of national rugby unions Rugby union_sentence_196

The international governing body of rugby union (and associated games such as sevens) is World Rugby (WR). Rugby union_sentence_197

The WR headquarters are in Dublin, Ireland. Rugby union_sentence_198

WR, founded in 1886, governs the sport worldwide and publishes the game's laws and rankings. Rugby union_sentence_199

As of February 2014, WR (then known as the IRB, for International Rugby Board) recorded 119 unions in its membership, 101 full members and 18 associate member countries. Rugby union_sentence_200

According to WR, rugby union is played by men and women in over 100 countries. Rugby union_sentence_201

WR controls the Rugby World Cup, the Women's Rugby World Cup, Rugby World Cup Sevens, HSBC Sevens Series, HSBC Women's Sevens Series, World Under 20 Championship, World Under 20 Trophy, Nations Cup and the Pacific Nations Cup. Rugby union_sentence_202

WR holds votes to decide where each of these events are to be held, except in the case of the Sevens World Series for men and women, for which WR contracts with several national unions to hold individual events. Rugby union_sentence_203

Six regional associations, which are members of WR, form the next level of administration; these are: Rugby union_sentence_204

Rugby union_unordered_list_1

  • Rugby Africa, formerly Confederation of African Rugby (CAR)Rugby union_item_1_1
  • Asia Rugby, formerly Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU)Rugby union_item_1_2
  • Rugby Americas North, formerly North America Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA)Rugby union_item_1_3
  • Rugby Europe, previously Fédération Internationale de Rugby Amateur – Association Européenne de Rugby (FIRA-AER)Rugby union_item_1_4
  • Oceania Rugby, formerly Federation of Oceania Rugby Unions (FORU)Rugby union_item_1_5
  • Sudamérica Rugby, formerly Confederación Sudamericana de Rugby (South American Rugby Confederation, or CONSUR)Rugby union_item_1_6

SANZAAR (South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina Rugby) is a joint venture of the South African Rugby Union, New Zealand Rugby, Rugby Australia and the Argentine Rugby Union (UAR) that operates Super Rugby and The Rugby Championship (formerly the Tri Nations before the entry of Argentina). Rugby union_sentence_205

Although UAR initially had no representation on the former SANZAR board, it was granted input into the organisation's issues, especially with regard to The Rugby Championship, and became a full SANZAAR member in 2016 (when the country entered Super Rugby). Rugby union_sentence_206

National unions oversee rugby union within individual countries and are affiliated to WR. Rugby union_sentence_207

Since 2016, the WR Council has 40 seats. Rugby union_sentence_208

A total of 11 unions—the eight foundation unions of England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and France, plus Argentina, Canada and Italy—have two seats each. Rugby union_sentence_209

In addition, the six regional associations have two seats each. Rugby union_sentence_210

Four more unions—Georgia, Japan, Romania and the USA—have one seat each. Rugby union_sentence_211

Finally, the Chairman and Vice Chairman, who usually come from one of the eight foundation unions (although the current Vice Chairman, Agustín Pichot, is with the non-foundation Argentine union) have one vote each. Rugby union_sentence_212

Global reach Rugby union_section_25

See also: List of rugby union playing countries Rugby union_sentence_213

The earliest countries to adopt rugby union were England, the country of inception, and the other three Home Nations, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Rugby union_sentence_214

The spread of rugby union as a global sport has its roots in the exporting of the game by British expatriates, military personnel, and overseas university students. Rugby union_sentence_215

The first rugby club in France was formed by British residents in Le Havre in 1872, while the next year Argentina recorded its first game: 'Banks' v 'City' in Buenos Aires. Rugby union_sentence_216

Seven countries have adopted rugby union as their de facto national sport; they are Fiji, Georgia, Madagascar, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga and Wales. Rugby union_sentence_217

Oceania Rugby union_section_26

A rugby club was formed in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia in 1864; while the sport was said to have been introduced to New Zealand by Charles Monro in 1870, who played rugby while a student at Christ's College, Finchley. Rugby union_sentence_218

Several island nations have embraced the sport of rugby. Rugby union_sentence_219

Rugby was first played in Fiji circa 1884 by European and Fijian soldiers of the Native Constabulary at Ba on Viti Levu island. Rugby union_sentence_220

Fiji then sent their first overseas team to Samoa in 1924, who in turn set up their own union in 1927. Rugby union_sentence_221

Along with Tonga, other countries to have national rugby teams in Oceania include the Cook Islands, Niue, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. Rugby union_sentence_222

North America and Caribbean Rugby union_section_27

See also: Rugby Americas North Rugby union_sentence_223

In North America a club formed in Montreal in 1868, Canada's first club. Rugby union_sentence_224

The city of Montreal also played its part in the introduction of the sport in the United States, when students of McGill University played against a team from Harvard University in 1874. Rugby union_sentence_225

Although the exact date of arrival of rugby union in Trinidad and Tobago is unknown, their first club Northern RFC was formed in 1923, a national team was playing by 1927 and due to a cancelled tour to British Guiana in 1933, switched their venue to Barbados; introducing rugby to the island. Rugby union_sentence_226

Other Atlantic countries to play rugby union include Jamaica and Bermuda. Rugby union_sentence_227

College rugby is the fastest growing college sport and sport in general in the USA. Rugby union_sentence_228

Major League Rugby is the professional Rugby union league in the USA and Canada. Rugby union_sentence_229

Europe Rugby union_section_28

The growth of rugby union in Europe outside the 6 Nations countries in terms of playing numbers has been sporadic. Rugby union_sentence_230

Historically, British and Irish home teams played the Southern Hemisphere teams of Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, as well as France. Rugby union_sentence_231

The rest of Europe were left to play amongst themselves. Rugby union_sentence_232

During a period when it had been isolated by the British and Irish Unions, France, lacking international competition, became the only European team from the top tier to regularly play the other European countries; mainly Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Romania, Poland, Italy and Czechoslovakia. Rugby union_sentence_233

In 1934, instigated by the French Rugby Federation, FIRA (Fédération Internationale de Rugby Amateur) was formed to organise rugby union outside the authority of the IRFB. Rugby union_sentence_234

The founding members were Italy, Romania, Netherlands, Portugal, Czechoslovakia, and Sweden. Rugby union_sentence_235

Other European rugby playing nations of note include Russia, whose first officially recorded match is marked by an encounter between Dynamo Moscow and the Moscow Institute of Physical Education in 1933. Rugby union_sentence_236

Rugby union in Portugal also took hold between the First and Second World Wars, with a Portuguese National XV set up in 1922 and an official championship started in 1927. Rugby union_sentence_237

In 1999, FIRA agreed to place itself under the auspices of the IRB, transforming itself into a strictly European organising body. Rugby union_sentence_238

Accordingly, it changed its name to FIRA–AER (Fédération Internationale de Rugby Amateur – Association Européenne de Rugby). Rugby union_sentence_239

It adopted its current name of Rugby Europe in 2014. Rugby union_sentence_240

South America Rugby union_section_29

Although Argentina is the best-known rugby playing nation in South America, founding the Argentine Rugby Union in 1899, several other countries on the continent have a long history. Rugby union_sentence_241

Rugby had been played in Brazil since the end of the 19th century, but the game was played regularly only from 1926, when São Paulo beat Santos in an inter-city match. Rugby union_sentence_242

It took Uruguay several aborted attempts to adapt to rugby, led mainly by the efforts of the Montevideo Cricket Club; these efforts succeeded in 1951 with the formation of a national league and four clubs. Rugby union_sentence_243

Other South American countries that formed a rugby union include Chile (1948), and Paraguay (1968). Rugby union_sentence_244

Súper Liga Americana de Rugby is the professional Rugby union league in the South America. Rugby union_sentence_245

Asia Rugby union_section_30

Main article: Rugby union in Asia Rugby union_sentence_246

Many Asian countries have a tradition of playing rugby dating from the British Empire. Rugby union_sentence_247

India began playing rugby in the early 1870s, the Calcutta Football Club forming in 1873. Rugby union_sentence_248

However, with the departure of a local British army regiment, interest in rugby diminished in the area. Rugby union_sentence_249

In 1878, The Calcutta Football Club was disbanded, and rugby in India faltered. Rugby union_sentence_250

Sri Lanka claims to have founded their union in 1878, and although little official information from the period is available, the team won the All-India cup in Madras in 1920. Rugby union_sentence_251

The first recorded match in Malaysia was in 1892, but the first confirmation of rugby is the existence of the HMS Malaya Cup which was first presented in 1922 and is still awarded to the winners of the Malay sevens. Rugby union_sentence_252

Rugby union was introduced to Japan in 1899 by two Cambridge students: Ginnosuke Tanaka and Edward Bramwell Clarke. Rugby union_sentence_253

The Japan RFU was founded in 1926 and its place in rugby history was cemented with the news that Japan will host the 2019 World Cup. Rugby union_sentence_254

It will be the first country outside the Commonwealth, Ireland and France to host the event, and this is viewed by the IRB as an opportunity for rugby union to extend its reach, particularly in Asia. Rugby union_sentence_255

Other Asian playing countries of note include Singapore, South Korea, China and The Philippines, while the former British colony of Hong Kong is notable within rugby for its development of the rugby sevens game, especially the Hong Kong Sevens tournament which was founded in 1976. Rugby union_sentence_256

Rugby in the Middle East and the Gulf States has its history in the 1950s, with clubs formed by British and French Services stationed in the region after the Second World War. Rugby union_sentence_257

When these servicemen left, the clubs and teams were kept alive by young professionals, mostly Europeans, working in these countries. Rugby union_sentence_258

The official union of Oman was formed in 1971. Rugby union_sentence_259

Bahrain founded its union a year later, while in 1975 the Dubai Sevens, the Gulf's leading rugby tournament, was created. Rugby union_sentence_260

Rugby remains a minority sport in the region with Israel and the United Arab Emirates, as of 2019, being the only member union from the Middle East to be included in the IRB World Rankings. Rugby union_sentence_261

Africa Rugby union_section_31

In 1875, rugby was introduced to South Africa by British soldiers garrisoned in Cape Town. Rugby union_sentence_262

The game spread quickly across the country, displacing Winchester College football as the sport of choice in South Africa and spreading to nearby Zimbabwe. Rugby union_sentence_263

South African settlers also brought the game with them to Namibia and competed against British administrators in British East Africa. Rugby union_sentence_264

During the late 19th and early 20th century, the sport in Africa was spread by settlers and colonials who often adopted a "whites-only" policy to playing the game. Rugby union_sentence_265

This resulted in rugby being viewed as a bourgeois sport by the indigenous people with limited appeal. Rugby union_sentence_266

Despite this enclaves of black participation developed notably in the Eastern Cape and in Harare. Rugby union_sentence_267

The earliest countries to see the playing of competitive rugby include South Africa, and neighbouring Rhodesia (modern-day Zimbabwe), which formed the Rhodesia Rugby Football Union in 1895 and became a regular stop for touring British and New Zealand sides. Rugby union_sentence_268

In more recent times the sport has been embraced by several African nations. Rugby union_sentence_269

In the early 21st century Madagascar has experienced crowds of 40,000 at national matches, while Namibia, whose history of rugby can be dated from 1915, have qualified for the final stages of the World Cup four times since 1999. Rugby union_sentence_270

Other African nations to be represented in the World Rugby Rankings as Member Unions include Côte d'Ivoire, Kenya, Uganda and Zambia. Rugby union_sentence_271

South Africa and Kenya are among the 15 "core teams" that participate in every event of the men's World Rugby Sevens Series. Rugby union_sentence_272

Women's rugby union Rugby union_section_32

Main article: Women's rugby union Rugby union_sentence_273

Records of women's rugby football date from the late 19th century, with the first documented source being Emily Valentine's writings, in which she states that she set up a rugby team in Portora Royal School in Enniskillen, Ireland in 1887. Rugby union_sentence_274

Although there are reports of early women's matches in New Zealand and France, one of the first notable games to prove primary evidence was the 1917 war-time encounter between Cardiff Ladies and Newport Ladies; a photo of which shows the Cardiff team before the match at the Cardiff Arms Park. Rugby union_sentence_275

Since the 1980s, the game has grown in popularity among female athletes, and by 2010, according to World Rugby, women's rugby was being played in over 100 countries. Rugby union_sentence_276

The English-based Women's Rugby Football Union (WRFU), responsible for women's rugby in England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, was founded in 1983, and is the oldest formally organised national governing body for women's rugby. Rugby union_sentence_277

This was replaced in 1994 by the Rugby Football Union for Women (RFUW) in England with each of the other Home Nations governing their own countries. Rugby union_sentence_278

The premier international competition in rugby union for women is the Women's Rugby World Cup, first held in 1991; from 1994 through 2014, it was held every four years. Rugby union_sentence_279

After the 2014 event, the tournament was brought forward a year to 2017 to avoid clashing with other sporting cycles, in particular the Rugby World Cup Sevens competition. Rugby union_sentence_280

The Women's Rugby World Cup returned to a four-year cycle after 2017, with future competitions to be held in the middle year of the men's World Cup cycle. Rugby union_sentence_281

Major international competitions Rugby union_section_33

Further information: List of rugby union competitions Rugby union_sentence_282

Rugby World Cup Rugby union_section_34

The most important competition in rugby union is the Rugby World Cup, a men's tournament that has taken place every four years since the inaugural event in 1987. Rugby union_sentence_283

South Africa are the reigning champions, having defeated England in the final of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Yokohama. Rugby union_sentence_284

New Zealand and South Africa have each won the title three times (New Zealand: 1987, 2011, 2015; South Africa: 1995, 2007, 2019), Australia have won twice (1991 and 1999), and England once (2003). Rugby union_sentence_285

England is the only team from the Northern Hemisphere to have won the Rugby World Cup. Rugby union_sentence_286

The Rugby World Cup has continued to grow since its inception in 1987. Rugby union_sentence_287

The Rugby League World Cup dates from 1954 in contrast. Rugby union_sentence_288

The first tournament, in which 16 teams competed for the title, was broadcast to 17 countries with an accumulated total of 230 million television viewers. Rugby union_sentence_289

Ticket sales during the pool stages and finals of the same tournament was less than a million. Rugby union_sentence_290

The 2007 World Cup was contested by 94 countries with ticket sales of 3,850,000 over the pool and final stage. Rugby union_sentence_291

The accumulated television audience for the event, then broadcast to 200 countries, was a claimed 4.2 billion. Rugby union_sentence_292

The 2019 Rugby World Cup took place in Japan between 20 September and 2 November. Rugby union_sentence_293

It was the ninth edition and the first time the tournament has been held in Asia. Rugby union_sentence_294

Regional tournaments Rugby union_section_35

Major international competitions are the Six Nations Championship and The Rugby Championship, held in Europe and the Southern Hemisphere respectively. Rugby union_sentence_295

The Six Nations is an annual competition involving the European teams England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales. Rugby union_sentence_296

Each country plays the other five once. Rugby union_sentence_297

Following the first internationals between England and Scotland, Ireland and Wales began competing in the 1880s, forming the Home International Championships. Rugby union_sentence_298

France joined the tournament in the 1900s and in 1910 the term Five Nations first appeared. Rugby union_sentence_299

However, the Home Nations (England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales) excluded France in 1931 amid a run of poor results, allegations of professionalism and concerns over on-field violence. Rugby union_sentence_300

France then rejoined in 1939–1940, though World War II halted proceedings for a further eight years. Rugby union_sentence_301

France has played in all the tournaments since WWII, the first of which was played in 1947. Rugby union_sentence_302

In 2000, Italy became the sixth nation in the contest and Rome's Stadio Olimpico has replaced Stadio Flaminio as the venue for their home games since 2013. Rugby union_sentence_303

The current Six Nations champions are England. Rugby union_sentence_304

The Rugby Championship is the Southern Hemisphere's annual international series for that region's top national teams. Rugby union_sentence_305

From its inception in 1996 through 2011, it was known as the Tri Nations, as it featured the hemisphere's traditional powers of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Rugby union_sentence_306

These teams have dominated world rankings in recent years, and many considered the Tri Nations to be the toughest competition in international rugby. Rugby union_sentence_307

The Tri Nations was initially played on a home and away basis with the three nations playing each other twice. Rugby union_sentence_308

In 2006 a new system was introduced where each nation plays the others three times, though in 2007 and 2011 the teams played each other only twice, as both were World Cup years. Rugby union_sentence_309

Since Argentina's strong performances in the 2007 World Cup, after the 2009 Tri Nations tournament, SANZAR (South Africa, New Zealand and Australian Rugby) invited the Argentine Rugby Union (UAR) to join an expanded Four Nations tournament in 2012. Rugby union_sentence_310

The competition has been officially rechristened as The Rugby Championship beginning with the 2012 edition. Rugby union_sentence_311

The competition reverted to the Tri Nations' original home-and-away format, but now involving four teams. Rugby union_sentence_312

In World Cup years, an abbreviated tournament is held in which each team plays the others only once. Rugby union_sentence_313

Rugby within multi-sport events Rugby union_section_36

See also: Rugby union at the Summer Olympics, Rugby sevens at the Commonwealth Games, and Rugby union at the Asian Games Rugby union_sentence_314

Rugby union was played at the Olympic Games in 1900, 1908, 1920 and 1924. Rugby union_sentence_315

As per Olympic rules, the nations of Scotland, Wales and England were not allowed to play separately as they are not sovereign states. Rugby union_sentence_316

In 1900, France won the gold, beating Great Britain 27 points to 8 and defeating Germany 27 points to 17. Rugby union_sentence_317

In 1908, Australia defeated Great Britain, claiming the gold medal, the score being 32 points to three. Rugby union_sentence_318

In 1920, the United States, fielding a team with many players new to the sport of rugby, upset France in a shock win, eight points to zero. Rugby union_sentence_319

In 1924, the United States again defeated France 17 to 3, becoming the only team to win gold twice in the sport. Rugby union_sentence_320

In 2009 the International Olympic Committee voted with a majority of 81 to 8 that rugby union be reinstated as an Olympic sport in at least the 2016 and 2020 games, but in the sevens, 4-day tournament format. Rugby union_sentence_321

This is something the rugby world has aspired to for a long time and Bernard Lapasset, president of the International Rugby Board, said the Olympic gold medal would be considered to be "the pinnacle of our sport" (Rugby Sevens). Rugby union_sentence_322

Rugby sevens has been played at the Commonwealth Games since the 1998 Games in Kuala Lumpur. Rugby union_sentence_323

The most gold medal holders are New Zealand who have won the competition on four successive occasions until South Africa beat them in 2014. Rugby union_sentence_324

Rugby union has also been an Asian Games event since the 1998 games in Bangkok, Thailand. Rugby union_sentence_325

In the 1998 and 2002 editions of the games, both the usual fifteen-a-side variety and rugby sevens were played, but from 2006 onwards, only rugby sevens was retained. Rugby union_sentence_326

In 2010, the women's rugby sevens event was introduced. Rugby union_sentence_327

The event is likely to remain a permanent fixture of the Asian Games due to elevation of rugby sevens as an Olympic sport from the 2016 Olympics onwards. Rugby union_sentence_328

The present gold medal holders in the sevens tournament, held in 2014, are Japan in the men's event and China in the women's. Rugby union_sentence_329

Women's international rugby Rugby union_section_37

Main article: Women's international rugby union Rugby union_sentence_330

Women's international rugby union began in 1982, with a match between France and the Netherlands played in Utrecht. Rugby union_sentence_331

As of 2009 over six hundred women's internationals have been played by over forty different nations. Rugby union_sentence_332

The first Women's Rugby World Cup was held in Wales in 1991, and was won by the United States. Rugby union_sentence_333

The second tournament took place in 1994, and from that time through 2014 was held every four years. Rugby union_sentence_334

The New Zealand Women's team then won four straight World Cups (1998, 2002, 2006, 2010) before England won in 2014. Rugby union_sentence_335

Following the 2014 event, World Rugby moved the next edition of the event to 2017, with a new four-year cycle from that point forward. Rugby union_sentence_336

New Zealand are the current World Cup holders. Rugby union_sentence_337

As well as the Women's Rugby World Cup there are also other regular tournaments, including a Six Nations, run in parallel to the men's competition. Rugby union_sentence_338

The Women's Six Nations, first played in 1996 has been dominated by England, who have won the tournament on 14 occasions, including a run of seven consecutive wins from 2006 to 2012. Rugby union_sentence_339

However, since then, England have won only in 2017; reigning champion France have won in each even-numbered year (2014, 2016, 2018) whilst Ireland won in 2013 and 2015. Rugby union_sentence_340

Professional rugby union Rugby union_section_38

Rugby union has been professionalised since 1995. Rugby union_sentence_341

The following table shows professional and semi-professional rugby union competitions. Rugby union_sentence_342

Rugby union_table_general_1

Professional rugby competitionsRugby union_table_caption_1
CompetitionRugby union_header_cell_1_0_0 TeamsRugby union_header_cell_1_0_1 CountriesRugby union_header_cell_1_0_2 Average
AttendanceRugby union_header_cell_1_0_3
Super RugbyRugby union_cell_1_1_0 15Rugby union_cell_1_1_1 New Zealand (5), Australia (4), South Africa (4), Argentina (1), Japan (1)Rugby union_cell_1_1_2 20,384Rugby union_cell_1_1_3
PremiershipRugby union_cell_1_2_0 12Rugby union_cell_1_2_1 EnglandRugby union_cell_1_2_2 15,065Rugby union_cell_1_2_3
Top LeagueRugby union_cell_1_3_0 16Rugby union_cell_1_3_1 JapanRugby union_cell_1_3_2 14,952 (2020)Rugby union_cell_1_3_3
Top 14Rugby union_cell_1_4_0 14Rugby union_cell_1_4_1 FranceRugby union_cell_1_4_2 13,207Rugby union_cell_1_4_3
Currie CupRugby union_cell_1_5_0 9Rugby union_cell_1_5_1 South AfricaRugby union_cell_1_5_2 11,125Rugby union_cell_1_5_3
Pro14Rugby union_cell_1_6_0 14Rugby union_cell_1_6_1 Ireland (4), Wales (4), Scotland (2), Italy (2), South Africa (2)Rugby union_cell_1_6_2 8,586Rugby union_cell_1_6_3
Mitre 10 CupRugby union_cell_1_7_0 14Rugby union_cell_1_7_1 New ZealandRugby union_cell_1_7_2 7,203Rugby union_cell_1_7_3
Rugby Pro D2Rugby union_cell_1_8_0 16Rugby union_cell_1_8_1 FranceRugby union_cell_1_8_2 4,222Rugby union_cell_1_8_3
RFU ChampionshipRugby union_cell_1_9_0 12Rugby union_cell_1_9_1 EnglandRugby union_cell_1_9_2 2,738Rugby union_cell_1_9_3
Major League RugbyRugby union_cell_1_10_0 13Rugby union_cell_1_10_1 Canada (1), United States (12)Rugby union_cell_1_10_2 2,300Rugby union_cell_1_10_3
NRCRugby union_cell_1_11_0 8Rugby union_cell_1_11_1 Australia (7), Fiji (1)Rugby union_cell_1_11_2 1,450Rugby union_cell_1_11_3
Didi 10Rugby union_cell_1_12_0 10Rugby union_cell_1_12_1 GeorgiaRugby union_cell_1_12_2 UnknownRugby union_cell_1_12_3
Rugby Premier LeagueRugby union_cell_1_13_0 10Rugby union_cell_1_13_1 RussiaRugby union_cell_1_13_2 UnknownRugby union_cell_1_13_3
CEC Bank SuperLigaRugby union_cell_1_14_0 7Rugby union_cell_1_14_1 RomaniaRugby union_cell_1_14_2 UnknownRugby union_cell_1_14_3
Global Rapid RugbyRugby union_cell_1_15_0 6Rugby union_cell_1_15_1 Australia;(1), China (1), Fiji (1), Hong Kong (1), Malaysia (1), Samoa (1)Rugby union_cell_1_15_2 UnknownRugby union_cell_1_15_3
Súper Liga Americana de RugbyRugby union_cell_1_16_0 6Rugby union_cell_1_16_1 Argentina (1), Uruguay (1), Brazil (1), Chile (1), Paraguay (1), Colombia (1)Rugby union_cell_1_16_2 UnknownRugby union_cell_1_16_3

Variants Rugby union_section_39

Main articles: Rugby sevens, Rugby tens, Touch rugby, Tag rugby, and Mini rugby Rugby union_sentence_343

Rugby union has spawned several variants of the full-contact, 15-a-side game. Rugby union_sentence_344

The two most common differences in adapted versions are fewer players and reduced player contact. Rugby union_sentence_345

The oldest variant is rugby sevens (sometimes 7s or VIIs), a fast-paced game which originated in Melrose, Scotland in 1883. Rugby union_sentence_346

In rugby sevens, there are only seven players per side, and each half is normally seven minutes. Rugby union_sentence_347

Major tournaments include the Hong Kong Sevens and Dubai Sevens, both held in areas not normally associated with the highest levels of the 15-a-side game. Rugby union_sentence_348

A more recent variant of the sport is rugby tens (10s or Xs), a Malaysian invention with ten players per side. Rugby union_sentence_349

Touch rugby, in which "tackles" are made by simply touching the ball carrier with two hands, is popular both as a training game and more formally as a mixed sex version of the sport played by both children and adults. Rugby union_sentence_350

Several variants have been created to introduce the sport to children with a less physical contact. Rugby union_sentence_351

Mini rugby is a version aimed at fostering the sport in children. Rugby union_sentence_352

It is played with only eight players and on a smaller pitch. Rugby union_sentence_353

Tag Rugby is a version in which the players wear a belt with two tags attached by velcro, the removal of either counting as a 'tackle'. Rugby union_sentence_354

Tag Rugby also varies in that kicking the ball is not allowed. Rugby union_sentence_355

Similar to Tag Rugby, American Flag Rugby, (AFR), is a mixed gender, non-contact imitation of rugby union designed for American children entering grades K-9. Rugby union_sentence_356

Both American Flag Rugby and Mini Rugby differ to Tag Rugby in that they introduce more advanced elements of rugby union as the participants age. Rugby union_sentence_357

Other less formal variants include beach rugby and snow rugby. Rugby union_sentence_358

Influence on other sports Rugby union_section_40

See also: History of American football, Comparison of American football and rugby union, Origins of Australian rules football, Comparison of rugby league and rugby union, History of rugby league, and Rugby football Rugby union_sentence_359

Rugby league was formed after the Northern Union broke from the Rugby Football Union in a disagreement over payment to players. Rugby union_sentence_360

It went on to change its laws and became a football code in its own right. Rugby union_sentence_361

The two sports continue to influence each other to this day. Rugby union_sentence_362

American football and Canadian football are derived from early forms of rugby football. Rugby union_sentence_363

Australian rules football was influenced by rugby football and other games originating in English public schools. Rugby union_sentence_364

James Naismith took aspects of many sports including rugby to invent basketball. Rugby union_sentence_365

The most obvious contribution is the jump ball's similarity to the line-out as well as the underhand shooting style that dominated the early years of the sport. Rugby union_sentence_366

Naismith played rugby at McGill University. Rugby union_sentence_367

Swedish football was a code whose rules were a mix of Association and Rugby football rules. Rugby union_sentence_368

Rugby lends its name to wheelchair rugby, a full-contact sport which contains elements of rugby such as crossing a try line with the ball to score. Rugby union_sentence_369

Statistics and records Rugby union_section_41

See also: List of top rugby union players by international caps and List of top scoring international rugby union players Rugby union_sentence_370

According to a 2011 report by the Centre for the International Business of Sport, over four and a half million people play rugby union or one of its variants organised by the IRB. Rugby union_sentence_371

This is an increase of 19 percent since the previous report in 2007. Rugby union_sentence_372

The report also claimed that since 2007 participation has grown by 33 percent in Africa, 22 percent in South America and 18 percent in Asia and North America. Rugby union_sentence_373

In 2014 the IRB published a breakdown of the total number of players worldwide by national unions. Rugby union_sentence_374

It recorded a total of 6.6 million players globally, of those, 2.36 million were registered members playing for a club affiliated to their country's union. Rugby union_sentence_375

The 2016 World Rugby Year in Review reported 8.5 million players, of which 3.2 million were registered union players and 1.9 million were registered club players; 22% of all players were female. Rugby union_sentence_376

The most capped international player from the tier 1 nations is former New Zealand openside flanker and captain Richie McCaw who has played in 148 internationals. Rugby union_sentence_377

While the top scoring tier 1 international player is New Zealand's Dan Carter, who has amassed 1442 points during his career. Rugby union_sentence_378

In April 2010 Lithuania which is a second tier rugby nation, broke the record of consecutive international wins for second tier rugby nations. Rugby union_sentence_379

In 2016, the All Blacks of New Zealand set the new record 18 consecutive test wins among tier 1 rugby nations, bettering their previous consecutive run of 17. Rugby union_sentence_380

This record was equalled by England on 11 March 2017 with a win over Scotland at Twickenham. Rugby union_sentence_381

The highest scoring international match between two recognised unions was Hong Kong's 164–13 victory over Singapore on 27 October 1994. Rugby union_sentence_382

While the largest winning margin of 152 points is held by two countries, Japan (a 155–3 win over Chinese Taipei) and Argentina (152–0 over Paraguay) both in 2002. Rugby union_sentence_383

The record attendance for a rugby union game was set on 15 July 2000 in which New Zealand defeated Australia 39–35 in a Bledisloe Cup game at Stadium Australia in Sydney before 109,874 fans. Rugby union_sentence_384

The record attendance for a match in Europe of 104,000 (at the time a world record) was set on 1 March 1975 when Scotland defeated Wales 12–10 at Murrayfield in Edinburgh during the 1975 Five Nations Championship. Rugby union_sentence_385

The record attendance for a domestic club match is 99,124, set when Racing 92 defeated Toulon in the 2016 Top 14 final on 24 June at Camp Nou in Barcelona. Rugby union_sentence_386

The match had been moved from its normal site of Stade de France near Paris due to scheduling conflicts with France's hosting of UEFA Euro 2016. Rugby union_sentence_387

In culture Rugby union_section_42

Thomas Hughes 1857 novel Tom Brown's Schooldays, set at Rugby School, includes a rugby football match, also portrayed in the 1940s film of the same name. Rugby union_sentence_388

James Joyce mentions Irish team Bective Rangers in several of his works, including Ulysses (1922) and Finnegans Wake (1939), while his 1916 semi-autobiographical work A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man has an account of Ireland international James Magee. Rugby union_sentence_389

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in his 1924 Sherlock Holmes tale The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire, mentions that Dr Watson played rugby for Blackheath. Rugby union_sentence_390

Henri Rousseau's 1908 work Joueurs de football shows two pairs of rugby players competing. Rugby union_sentence_391

Other French artists to have represented the sport in their works include Albert Gleizes' Les Joueurs de football (1912), Robert Delaunay's Football. Rugby union_sentence_392

L'Équipe de Cardiff (1916) and André Lhote's Partie de Rugby (1917). Rugby union_sentence_393

The 1928 Gold Medal for Art at the Antwerp Olympics was won by Luxembourg's Jean Jacoby for his work Rugby. Rugby union_sentence_394

In film, Ealing Studios' 1949 comedy A Run for Your Money and the 1979 BBC Wales television film Grand Slam both centre on fans attending a match. Rugby union_sentence_395

Films that explore the sport in more detail include independent production Old Scores (1991) and Forever Strong (2008). Rugby union_sentence_396

Invictus (2009), based on John Carlin's book Playing the Enemy, explores the events of the 1995 Rugby World Cup and Nelson Mandela's attempt to use the sport to connect South Africa's people post-apartheid. Rugby union_sentence_397

In public art and sculpture there are many works dedicated to the sport. Rugby union_sentence_398

There is a 27 feet (8.2 m) bronze statue of a rugby line-out by pop artist Gerald Laing at Twickenham and one of rugby administrator Sir Tasker Watkins at the Millennium Stadium. Rugby union_sentence_399

Rugby players to have been honoured with statues include Gareth Edwards in Cardiff and Danie Craven in Stellenbosch. Rugby union_sentence_400

See also Rugby union_section_43

Rugby union_unordered_list_2

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: union.