The popularity for the English acceptance of rugby football in the mid nineteen-century emanated, ironically, from the publication of a work of fiction entitled Tom Brown’s School Days. Written by Thomas Hughes, who described himself as an “Old Boy of Rugby,” the novel was published in 1857, and by 1862, it sold more than 28,000 copies, a certified best-seller.
The book featured the tale of 11-... Read More
Today, every rugger in the United States knows or should know the story of the country’s rugby gold medals from the 1920 and 1924 Olympic Games. And all should be aware by now that the sport will return again to the Olympics in 2016 when rugby sevens makes its debut in Rio for men and women. (12 countries). But there is an earlier Olympic rugby narrative in 1900 and 1908 that speaks to the root... Read More
If you bet that the statue of William Webb Ellis at Rugby School is the only one in England devoted to a noted rugby person, you would lose the wager; a statue in the town of Ipswich honors one of the most fascinating and romantic of all international rugby greats, Prince Alexander Obolensky.
The Prince was born in Petrograd, Russia, son of a prince who served in Tsar Nicolas's imperial Horse... Read More
More than forty-years after William Webb Ellis picked the ball up at Rugby School, the game found its way into English universities, and then into the newly established English athletic clubs. With more men and boys playing rugby, there emerged a consensus for a set of universal rules, particularly, to address the controversial habit of hacking (i.e., to kick another player in the leg).
The media... Read More
Dartmouth 1960/2005 – In November 1960, Dartmouth won the second, New York RFC’s Sevens’ tournament. Notable was that Tom Conger ’61 became the first rugby player since 1939 to be mentioned in a sports article by the NY Times about a rugby game played on US soil. In 2005, Dartmouth opened the Corey Ford rugby complex in honor of this sophisticated writer who lived in Hanover and donated his house... Read More
In Part I, in the 1880s, France began playing rugby to strengthen its male youth after the disastrous result of the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. But Britian trained its youth in team sport, particularly rugby football. Rugby made gains in Paris in the last years of the 19th century, among the top echelons of the elite lycées, and, later into the exclusive Racing Club and Stade Francais.
Much... Read More
(As the Women's Rugby World Cup will start August 1 in France, Rugby Today looks back at the history and growth of the sport in that country.)
An Englishman, John Wilson, wrote these memorable words in 1829, "The sun never sets on the British Empire." But the sun had set over the hundred of years of claimed English possessions in France when the Brits left the port of Calais in 1558. No local... Read More
Harvard-Yale 1875 – In the Boston Globe in 1892, some seventeen-years after the 1875 event, Walter Camp of Yale, the “father” of gridiron football, wrote about the “concessionary” game, one half played as soccer with a round ball, and the second half rugby rules with the oval ball. Yale had never seen nor played rugby, and when a few oval balls arrived, he recorded the team’s odd reaction:
“After... Read More
The first rugby contest played in Canada was in 1864. By 1868, the Montreal Football Club was formed, and most of the new teams later came from Quebec and Ontario. The sport established a foothold at McGill University, which, in 1874, traveled to Cambridge to play Harvard in the first rugby game played by an American squad. (This home and away contest repeats to this day.)
British Columbia picked... Read More
For the last nine seasons the Washington Renegades have boasted a winning record in Men’s DIII competition. 2013-2014 was one of their finest seasons to date, with the Renegades earning an 18-1 record and a berth in the national tournament. While many people know about the club's success on the field, many people do not know that the Washington Renegades were the first ever club in the United... Read More