Story: Rugby union

‘The gentle game of football’, 1888

This cartoon, which appeared in New Zealand Punch on 28 April 1888 on the occasion of a game between Britain and Otago, depicts rugby's rough reputation at the time. The concern to ensure that rough play was eliminated and rules were standardised and strictly enforced was one of the motives for the formation of the New Zealand Rugby Football Union in 1892.

Using this item

Hocken Library, University of Otago
Reference: S13-036a

Permission of the Hocken Library Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago, must be obtained before any re-use of this image. Further information may be obtained from the Library through its website.

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How to cite this page:

Ron Palenski, 'Rugby union - The game spreads, 1870–1892', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 27 February 2024)

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