Story: Rugby union

Football at Rugby School, 1852

Football at Rugby School, 1852

Although rough games of folk football had been played in English villages for centuries, it was the English public schools which standardised these games and wrote rule books. The schools were interested in games that built character and discipline, and prepared the boys for service in the defence of Empire. Rugby School took the lead in formalising the game, which was named after the school.

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How to cite this page:

Ron Palenski, 'Rugby union - History of rugby', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 18 July 2024)

Story by Ron Palenski, published 5 Sep 2013, updated 1 Sep 2016