Malibu RFC

Rugby 101

Origin of the Game

Many believe that rugby was born in 1823 when William Webb Ellis, with a fine disregard for the rules of football as played in his time at Englandís Rugby School, first took the ball in his arms and ran with it. Thus originating the distinctive feature of the Rugby game, remember football (US Soccer) was split into various codes. This long standing legendary story is so much in fact, the international committee named the Rugby world cup the "William Webb Ellis Trophy." Playing football has been a long tradition in England and versions of football had probably been played at the Rugby School for two hundred years before three boys published the first set of written rules in 1845.


History of Rugby in America

On May 14, 1874, Harvard University hosted Montrealís McGill University, in Cambridge, Mass., for what would be the first recorded rugby game on American soil. It was the first of three games proposed by McGill. The Harvard/McGill series sparked an interest on college campuses nationwide.

As American rugbyís popularity began to grow, rugby was soon included as a sport in four Olympic Games (1900, 1908, 1920, 1924), and the United States claimed victories in both the 1920 and 1924 Games. Shortly after the 1924 Olympics, however, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) removed rugby as an Olympic sport. Without the Olympic incentive, the sportís growth in America collapsed and the game remained dormant for the next half century.

However, during the 1960's and '70's, the sport enjoyed a renaissance. With this renewed interest there became a need for a national governing body to represent the USA in the international rugby community. In response to the need for a centralized national structure, four territorial organizations gathered in Chicago, Illinois, in 1975 and formed the United States of America Rugby Football Union (now known as USA Rugby) to serve as the game's national governing body.

Over 30 years later, USA Rugby is an official member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and the International Rugby Board (IRB). The organization has approximately 65,000 members and is responsible for the development of the boys, girls, high school, collegiate and club athletic programs and, ultimately, the nine national teams representing the U.S. in international competitions. The current structure of USA Rugby comprises seven Territorial Unions and 34 Local Area Unions that compete for Regional and National Championships.