The illustrious history of Rugby School in Warwickshire, England, transcends the recognizable fact that it is regarded as the birthplace of rugby football, a sport played currently in more than 95-countries. Through the personage of William Webb Ellis (schoolboy from 1816 to 1825), the world acknowledges the story – part myth or part truth – that he picked up the ball and ran with it on that... Read More
The Jacksonville Jaguars are the second NFL team to credit rugby as inspiration for safer tackling techniques. The Washington Post talked to Jags coach Gus Bradley, who came to Jacksonville via the Seattle Seahawks, about the influence of rugby on his coaching.
“We really take a lot of pride in it,” Bradley said of his tackling methods in a conference call this week. “One of the things that we... Read More
With the anticipated arrival of the All-Blacks this November 1 to play the Eagles in Soldier Field, Chicago, it’s informative to recall the historic first-visit of the New Zealanders to the United States in 1906.
During 1905, the New Zealand XV completed a spectacular tour of the UK and France, winning 38 games and losing only once to Wales 3-0. Their spirited forward rush play surprised the more... Read More
In the autumn of 1958, two celebrated American athlete scholars began their Rhodes Scholarships. Both had been outstanding undergraduate football players, one had been a top varsity hockey player, while the other had been a champion collegiate boxer. One played for his American college’s rugby XV, while the other had never played the sport.
When they arrived that fall at Oxford, both played rugby... Read More
For an American viewing his first test match at Twickenham - the Calcutta Cup of 1963 - watching England against Scotland should have been enough excitement for the day. (Four-shillings - $.56 - standing ticket).
But a 40-yard run occurred on the pitch that would immortalize the event that would henceforth be known as the game that produced "Sharp's Wonder Try."
The Sharp was Richard Sharp,... Read More
The first Sevens tournament in the United States occurred during a 1959 Thanksgiving holiday Saturday in Manhattan sponsored by the New York RFC. The winner was an M.I.T. “A” team against an M.I.T. “B” squad. Eight teams participated, all from the north east.
Today, with over 200 sevens tournaments played nationally, mainly in the spring and summer time, it seems odd that the first sevens... Read More
A brief history of California: In 1849, the year of the famous Gold Rush, San Francisco numbered 25,000 people while the settlement south called Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles could only report 1,600 inhabitants. Sixty-one years later in 1910, San Francisco listed 417,000 in the census, while LA, still a sparse, desert city without adequate water, totaled 320,000.
USC, the dominant university in... Read More
It is always interesting to remember historically which famous and infamous people played rugby. In the USA, we list three Kennedys (Joe Jr. and Ted at Harvard, and John Jr. at Brown), George W. Bush at Yale, Kris Kristofferson at Claremont, Joe Biden at Syracuse Law School, and some claim Bill Clinton played for his college at Oxford during the Rhodes scholarship year. Let’s also add Mark Cuban... Read More
In the next two years, Albert Woodley, an officer of the NYRFC and ERU, and a businessman who traveled frequently to Great Britain, made excellent contacts within the RFU. He hosted representatives of the RFU in Manhattan and, importantly, demonstrated that the NYRFC was organized along the same amateur principles of all British rugby clubs. By 1937, the RFU hinted that the ERU should solicit... Read More
Oxford. Cambridge. In the last century, these were gold standard names of Great Britain, as culturally and historically “English” to Americans as Big Ben, Rolls Royce, or 221B Baker Street. To the few rugby communities in America in the 1930’s, these Oxbridge fifteens – playing one another since 1872 - represented the apogee of rugby union play. In 1933, the Cambridge University Vandals Club (... Read More