Rugby, the ultimate contact sport
Rugby is a full contact team sport that can assume many different forms. The two main types of rugby are rugby league and rugby union. All the different rugby variations share the same objective, which is to score more points through tries, conversions, penalty goals and drop goals than the opposition during the 80 minutes that each match lasts.
Tries are scored when a team grounds the oval-shaped rugby ball over the opponent's end-line, on the opposite side of the field. Goals and conversions are scored when the ball is kicked between the H-shaped goal posts on the try line. The ball can only passed in a backwards or sideways directions and thus can only be taken forward in three ways - kicking, by a player running with it or through a set-piece. Only the player holding the ball may be tackled by the opposing team in an attempt to stop his forward progress. The playing positions are mostly divided by "backs" which are faster and more mobile and "forwards" who are stronger and more physical.
Rugby originated in England around 1845, initially as a variation of football played at a high school named Rugby School, hence the name of the sport. In 1823, a Rugby school student by the name of William Webb Ellis, credited with the first step towards inventing the game, allegedly caught the ball while playing football and ran towards the opposition goal. The Rugby World Cup is named after William Webb Ellis. The first written laws of the game were drafted by the pupils of Rugby School in 1845, which was followed by the 'Cambridge Rules' written in 1848. The first ever international rugby game was played on the 27th of March 1971, between England and Scotland and the Rugby Football Union was formed in that same year. In 1985, 20 clubs left the Rugby Football Union to form their own Northern Rugby Football Union that would later be called Rugby Football League, which then started introducing different rules and variations, to the game, from the ones used in the rugby union. This schism was caused by disputes over payments and a professionalism status for the players.
The first ever international rugby competition was the Home International Championship, held in 1883, and disputed by England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. In 1910, France joined the tournament that changed its name to Five Nations. In 2000, Italy joined and tournament is now called Six Nations. The Rugby Union World Cup was first held in 1987, with 16 nations participating, and was won by New Zealand. Since then, it has been won twice by New Zealand, Australia and South Africa and once by England. The Rugby League World Cup was introduced in 1954 and after thirteen editions, Australia has nine titles, the UK three and New Zealand one.