Rugby History

Rugby is one of the most popular sports in the world, and has been so for a while. It is a game that originated in the 1800s, with some changes along the way. Read more to learn about the history of rugby.

Rugby History

Rugby History Key Facts and Timeline

For a brief overview of the key facts and historical events in rugby's history, be sure to check out the timeline provided below.

  • 1820-1830: basic elements of rugby gameplay are created in England
  • 1845: the first written rugby rules are drafted by a group of English students
  • 1871: Rugby Football Union is formed in London
  • 1874: first rugby match held in the United States
  • 1882: first international tournament is played between England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland
  • 1886: the foundation of the International Rugby Board (first international governing body for the sport of rugby)
  • 1900: rugby makes its Olympic debut
  • 1900s: rugby continues to gain popularity around the globe and universal scoring system is adopted
  • 1987-2015: New Zealand national team enjoys reign of dominance, winning three Rugby World Cups
  • 2019: South Africa upsets New Zealand to win the World Cup hosted in Japan