During our school days, we all had to compete in sports that we didn’t want to do. Put on a pair of running socks and sneakers as we ran to compete in the annual cross country through the fairways and fields. Usually performed during the winter, it was not at the top of many students’ wish lists when they started school. The most popular sports were hockey, football and rugby.
Sports rugby originates from the town of the same name in the county of Warwickshire. It was first played in the 19th century in public schools as one of the many types of football played during this period. By the end of the 19th century, the sport was divided into two formats of league and union, and with it the rules for each differed greatly.
Watching a rugby union match you will see a lot of similarities between two codes of the game. However, the main difference is that the union has retained many opportunities in which the ball can be contested after the tackle, usually in the form of rucks and mauls.
Both forms of play are popular around the world, the first league soccer world cup was held in France in 1954. The current world champions are Australia which won the current world cup in 2013 and the first Union World Cup was held in New Zealand in 1987. The current world champions are New Zealand who won the World Cup in 2015.
Both codes of the game have professional leagues all over the world, but the most popular leagues of both forms can be found in the southern hemisphere countries of South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia. , as well as in the countries of the northern hemisphere of France and England.
Another format of the union game is “rugby sevens”. This was first played in 1883, but only became popular in the 1970s. With this format of play, the number of players you will see on the field is less, reduced from 15 to 7. It offered a more open, exciting and more powerful game. This format was introduced in the Olympics in 2016, with Fiji winning the Olympic gold medal.
The shape of the ball was designed to make it easier for the ball to pass between games, originally called a quanco and made from a leather wrap around an inflated pig bladder. The balls varied in size due to the variation in size of the bladder. In the modern game, the ball is made of 4 panels of leather or synthetic material and is regulated in size and weight.
The rugby kit includes a shirt, shorts and socks. At first, the shirts were cotton and were heavy and uncomfortable. Fortunately, due to advancements in the sportswear industry, shirts are now made of a high wicking type material that wicks moisture away from the skin and causes it to evaporate much faster. This makes the swimsuits easier and more comfortable to wear in the wet.
The humble sock has seen advancements in improving the material it was made from. Socks are generally made of a thick material which is often breathable. The socks also have padding, cushioning as well as strong toe and heel reinforcement, all of which contribute to the sock’s fit and comfort in the player’s shoe.
Rugby is a sport enjoyed by millions of players and spectators around the world, but no match has reached the exhilarating heights of a match in 1954. More than 100,000 spectators piled into the ground and watched a League Challenge Cup final in Bradford. A spectator figure that will probably never be matched due to the stadium’s current criteria and health and safety rules.