Rugby Is a sport that was invented in 1823 when William Webb Ellis At Rugby School
Caught the ball while playing football and ran towards the opposition goal. Well, that is the popular myth that has been created about the rugby origins when, in truth, it seems a little hard to believe.
However, the origins of rugby do date back to the Warwickshire town of Rugby and its school as the first laws of the game where written down there by three pupils in 1845.
The sport has two codes, rugby league and rugby union. Rugby union is played in 119 countries and has around 6.6m players.
Rugby league is less popular, but it is still a sport with huge following.
It has 2.36m registered players. Rugby league was invented in 1895 in England when clubs, mainly in the north, split from the Rugby Football Union over the issue of payment to players.
There are plenty of differences between rugby union and rugby league to the trained eye, but on the face of it the sports a very similar. They share the same egg-shaped ball and the aim is to score more points than the opposing team through tries – touching the ball down in the other team’s end zone, conversions, penalty goals and drop goals, during 80 minutes of play.
Conversions, penalty goals and drop goals are scored by kicking the ball between the two posts and over the crossbar, with conversions scored after a try; penalties, after the opponents foul, and drop goals, from open play.
However, the differences between the two sports are that rugby union is played with 15 players and rugby league played with 13. Rugby league reduced the number players to take out the flankers and open up space for more attacking.
The biggest difference is at the breakdown or tackle.
In rugby union, the tackled player must release the ball and both then contest for it, but in rugby league the play stops at the tackle. Then all but two defenders retreat 10 metres and allow the tackled player to get up, tap the ball backwards for a teammate to restart the play. This can only happen five times before the ball is turned over, following the sixth tackle.
Both codes of the game have their supporters, but generally it is considered that rugby league is a more faster-paced game where possession can be guaranteed, to some extent. In rugby union that is not the case and actually territory and where you are on the pitch can become more important than having hold of the ball.
That is why you will see a lot more kicking, and kicking for touch, in rugby union. It is a tactic that is very rarely employed in rugby league.
As a result rugby union can often be seen as a game where tactics and strategy come into play a lot more.
England host the Rugby Union World Cup in 2015. The tournament was first held in 1987, when the tournament was co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia.
Three countries have won the William Webb Ellis trophy, named after the rugby school pupil who supposedly invented the game, twice. These are Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. England, prior to 2015, have only won the tournament once. Their victory came in Australia in 2003.
They topped their group ahead of South Africa with four wins from their four games and then went on to defeat Wales, 28-17, and France, 24-7, in the knock-out stages to meet the hosts in the final.
In the final, a try from Jason Robinson and four penalties from Jonny Wilkinson helped England match the Australians, before a drop-goal in extra time, from Wilkinson, won the game. England became the first northern hemisphere team to win the Webb Ellis Cup.
In Rugby Union the top prize in the English game is winning the Premiership.
There are twelve clubs in the Premiership. The competition has been played since 1987. Leicester Tigers have won the most Premiership titles with 10. Up until 2000 the title was won by the league leader at the end of the season, but since the turn of the millennium the top prize has been decided by a play-off format.
The top four teams in the top division go into semi-final and final matches to determine who is crowned the winner.
Leicester Tigers won the first title in 1987 before Bath, the second most successful club, won five out of the next six.
The current holders of the Premiership title are Saracens as they beat Bath 28-16. Northampton Saints, the previous year, beat Saracens 24-20 after extra-time to claim their first ever Premiership crown.
They are one of nine clubs to have lifted the trophy which also include: Leicester (10), Bath (7), Wasps (6), Saracens (2), Newcastle, Gloucester, Sale and Harlequins.
In rugby league
It is similar format where the top teams of the Super League go into a play-off match before contesting the Grand Final. However, currently, it is eight teams that go into the play-off series.
St Helens and Leeds Rhinos are most successful club in Super League history. Leeds contested the first Super League Grand Final in 1998 when they lost 10-4 to Wigan. However, since then they have won six Grand Finals, picking up their first win against local rivals Bradford Bulls in 2004.
St Helens won their first Grand Final beating Bradford 8-6 in 1999. They have gone on to win five other Grand Finals and are the current holders having beaten Wigan 14-6 in 2014.
Wigan Warriors and Bradford Bulls, both with three victories each, are the only other teams to have won the Super League Grand Final. Wigan’s last victory came in 2013, while Bradford last triumph, against Wigan, came in 2005.
Warrington Wolves have finished as runners up on two occasions (2012 and 2013) and the only other team to have contested a Super League Grand Final is Hull FC when they lost 26-4 to St Helens in 2006.
In terms of Super League performance, St Helens are the most successful club having amassed 734 points in their 20 seasons in the division. Wigan are second, with Leeds Rhinos third.