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Inside the 22

10 Interesting facts we bet you never knew about Rugby!

Are you truly the ultimate Rugby fan? Do you think you know Rugby inside out? We've uncovered some of the most interesting and shocking facts about Rugby that we bet you didn't know. Read on to find out more!

  1. Rugby influenced the invention of Basketball, which was used to keep Rugby players in top physical condition off-season. James Naismith invented basketball to be an accessible indoor sport and used his past experiences in Football,Lacrosse, Hockey, Baseball, and of course Rugby, to develop the new sport back in June 1946.

  2. In 1892 it was decided that Rugby players should be compensated for missing work to play the sport. The suggested amount of earnings was six shillings, approx 4p in todays money. However this proposal was turned down by the Rugby Football Union, so players continued to take part for free. 

  3. Professional Rugby was only recognised in 1898, as it wasn’t considered a “real job". Until then Rugby players still had to have a regular job alongside playing. Interestingly, Football became a profession 16 years earlier in 1882!

  4. The first Rugby balls were plum-shaped and made of pig bladders. They also had to be blown up by human breath at the time!

  5. Someone actually died from blowing up too many pig bladders! Richard Lindon was crucial in the design of the modern-day rugby ball, but his poor wife paid the ultimate price after breathing in the air from one too many diseased urine sacks! She fell ill with lung disease and sadly passed away.

  6. The highest number of points scored during the Rugby World Cup was 162 in 1995. Japan lost to New Zealand 145-17.

  7. Rugby has only been played as an Olympic sport four times. The first time was in 1900 and the last in 1924.

  8. The 2011 Rugby World Cup was the biggest sporting event ever to be held in New Zealand, with over 133,000 visitors from abroad.

  9. The earliest reference to Rugby in the Oxford English Dictionary dates back to 1852.

  10. Turns out Rugby players are a sentimental bunch. The same whistle has been used for the opening game of the Rugby World Cup since 190 - amazing right!  

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Image credit:
Historic UK