Training Ground Homepage
(2000 years ago) In the beginning
People have been playing games with balls for a lot longer than you might think! The Romans played a game called harpastum. This was a lot like football and rugby. They used a ball and ran around carrying it.
AMAZING FACT! - Harpastum arrived in Britain when the Romans invaded about 2,000 years ago and started playing their game here.
(700 years ago) Medieval times
In the Middle Ages (about 700 years ago) people played by kicking and carrying balls. These games didn't have any rules or a fixed number of players.
AMAZING FACT! - The games were so dangerous that they were even banned in some villages!
(1820s-30s) Playing at Rugby School
About 180 years ago school boys in England started to make their own rules. Some of them kicked the ball and some of them decided to hold on to it.
AMAZING FACT! - The boys at Rugby School in Warwickshire wrote down their own rules which included being able to hold the ball and run with it. These rules are what the current rugby laws are based on.
(1840s-60s) Rugby Spreads
As these boys grew up and went to university or got jobs, they took their game with them and encouraged other people to play it. Rugby players got together to form their own clubs.
AMAZING FACT! - Rugby became so popular and started being played in the military which meant that it soon spread all over the world.
(1871) The Rugby Football Union
Someone had to make sure that all of these people around the world were playing the correct laws of the game. So, in 1871, some clubs met together in London and formed the Rugby Football Union, an organisation that would control rugby.
AMAZING FACT! - Some people didn't want to include Rugby rules like holding and running with the ball and left the meeting. Those people went on to form the Football Association who today manage the game of football.
(1871) The first international match
Soon after the RFU was founded, England played Scotland for the very first time at Raeburn Place in Edinburgh. This was also the first international match. Scotland beat England in this game.
AMAZING FACT! - England has played Scotland XX times since this first match and won XX times.
(1888-onwards) Around the world
To celebrate their wonderful game of rugby, players from England, Scotland and Wales travelled all the way to Australia and New Zealand by boat to be able to play against players from these countries. England's first tour was to Australia in 1888.
AMAZING FACT! - This tradition continues and today players from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales get together to form a special British Isles team called the Lions which tours around the world.
(1890s) Rugby divided
In the north of England many men had to work on Saturdays. This meant either not playing rugby or not being paid if they missed work. This was very difficult for them. Some rugby clubs offered to pay them to play rugby to help them for missing out on their Saturday pay. The RFU felt that people should not be paid for playing rugby.
(1895) Rugby splits
An argument between the RFU and some of the clubs in the north of England broke out. In 1895, these clubs left the RFU and made their own organisation called the 'Northern Union'. This eventually became known as Rugby League. Both versions of rugby grew and developed with slightly different rules.
(1907) A home for England rugby
In the early days of rugby, England didn't have a pitch where they could play. International matches were played at lots of different club grounds all over London. The RFU decided to buy land where they could build their own stadium. In 1907 they paid £5,572 for a patch of land in Twickenham.
AMAZING FACT! - Two stands for 3,000 people and mounds for standing spectators were built at both ends of the pitch. In total, 27,000 people could fit into the stadium.
(1910-1928) Golden Age
From about 1910 until 1928, England was a very good team. They beat Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to win the Five Nations Championship six times. (1939-45) War time rugby In the First and Second World Wars, people stopped playing rugby because they had to fight for their country. 27 England international players were killed in the First World War and 14 in the Second World War.
(1950s-70s) After the wars
In the next 50 years rugby developed well throughout the world. It was Wales and France who were the leading countries in Europe during the 1960s and1970s.
(1987) First World Cup
In 1987, the first ever Rugby World Cup competition was held. 16 countries entered the finals which were held in Australia and New Zealand.
AMAZING FACT! - England was knocked out in the quarter finals by Wales because they didn't take the competition seriously enough!
(1995) A professional game
A big change happened in rugby in 1995. 100 years after Rugby League was formed, the RFU decided that it was time to pay Rugby Union players for playing rugby. This made the game more serious and professional for the big clubs and national teams.
(2003) World champions!
In 2003 England had its best ever rugby victory. They won the Rugby World Cup and became officially the best team in the world!
Martin Johnson is one of the best players to have ever worn an England shirt. During his career he was captain for Leicester, the Lions and England. He has won Triple Crowns, Six Nations titles, Grand Slams and a Lions Tour. And of course he was the first player ever to captain England to a World Cup victory in 2003. He retired from his playing career in 2005.
FUN FACTS - Martin loves American Football, his favourite team is the San Francisco 49ers. He is also a massive Simpsons fan!
Step 1 - Place your Kicking tee on the ground or make dive in the ground and place your ball on top at a slight angle.
Step 2 - Stand over the ball and then walk backwards to measure your run up. This can be as short or as long as you want it to be.
Step 3 - Don't rush, take your time and relax before looking at where you want the ball to go.
Step 4 - Run up to the ball and swing your kicking foot, making contact with the instep of your foot. Follow through with your toes pointing in the direction of the ball while bringing your leg up high.
Step 1 - Catching is one of the most important areas of rugby. You can easily practise with a friend down the park or in the school playground. Firstly make a target for the ball.
Step 2 - Keep your hands at chest height, with your thumbs up and fingers spread.
Step 3 - Extend your hands towards the ball
Step 4 - Have patience and wait for the ball to come to you. If you try to take it early it will be easier to lose your balance.
Step 1 - Always carry the ball in two hands
Step 2 - Run below full speed to encourage a player to tag you and keep your strides short to help your balance and timing.
Step 3 - Lean to the right over a bent right knee
Step 4 - Drive hard off the right foot and accelerate away to the left.
Step 1 - Your number one aim is to pass for the player, not at the player. Hold the ball in two hands with your fingers spread across the seam.
Step 2 - Sweep the ball towards your target in an arc.
Step 3 - Release the ball with a flick of your wrists and fingers.
Step 4 - Follow through with your fingers pointing towards your target.
The Positions Lots of people think that rugby is a only a game for people that are big and strong but actually rugby is a game for everyone, whatever size you are, however strong you are and most importantly, can be played by girls and boys. Which position would you like to play?
Prop: Super strong
The build of a prop is probably the position that reminds you most of a typical rugby player. The prop has got to be really strong so they are normally quite short and very stocky for ultimate strength. Due to the size of the upper bodies the England team props it's often difficult to even see their necks! The prop lifts the jumper in the lineout and supports the scrum to make sure that it doesn't move backwards.
Hooker: Team Player
The hooker has to be a really good team player because they have an important role during the scrum and the lineout. During the lineout the hooker throws in the ball so as well as being strong they also have to be very accurate. One wrong move and the other team have the ball and are off! In the scrum it is the hooker who has to make contact with the ball and kick it through the other player's leg at the right speed and direction.
Lock: The Powerhouse
The Lock or second row is normally the tallest player on the team. It's their job to jump up and win the ball at the lineout. As well as being tall they are also very powerful because they provide the force behind the scrum. Because they are tall they are often difficult to tackle and therefore need to be good at running with the ball.
Flanker: Demon tackler
The flanker works together with the number 8 to keep their team moving forward and making sure that the ball is kept alive. In defence they are key players in getting the ball back from the other team. The Flankers are often famous for making some crunching tackles that bring tears to even the crowds eyes!
Number 8: The All-rounder
The number 8 is a great all-round player who is usually the ball carrier and has to have good speed, excellent ball handling skills and a mean tackle. In the scrum the number 8 needs to keep the locks together by having their shoulders against each player while their arms pull them inwards. The number 8 also has the difficult job of controlling the ball at the back of the scrum.
The scrum half is the link between the backs and the forwards and is always in the middle of the action. Often one of the smaller members of the team they make up for it with their excellent handling skills. The scrum half must be able to pass the ball quickly and kick accurately.
Fly Half: The decision-maker
The fly half is seen as the key decision-maker because he will often decide the direction of play. The fly half also needs to be a pretty good kicker and can often be seen dropping for goal. Remember Jonny Wilkinson winning the RWC in the final minute!
Centre: The missile
The centre needs to be a confident player because they have to regularly choose whether to pass, kick or just run flat out for goal which often ends up with them running head on into a tackle - ouch!
Wing: The speed demon!
The wing is about speed rather than power. Wingers are clever players who need to be able to guess what is about to happen. The winger can change pace in the blink of an eye and can normally be seen running flat out for the try line.
Full back: The Rock
The full back has the pressure of being the last line of defence so they need to be rock solid under pressure and manage to catch all those high balls even if there's five players all running at them! The full back needs to be able to read the game well and have excellent kicking skills.
Drill of the week
Playing tag rugby is fast, furious and tons of fun but if you don't know the rules then you won't enjoy it nearly as much and you'll end up giving points away to the other team!
Check out our fast fire guide to rugby rules and you'll get more out of playing rugby every time you hit the pitch. After all, everyone wants to know more than the ref don't they!
Rule 1 - The Basics
The biggest difference between mini tag rugby and contact rugby is the tag belt. Every player wears one and attaches two ribbons (tags) to it. It's not a great fashion statement but it makes the game fun! Always hold the ball with two hands and try to run forward at all times keeping a close eye on your team mates around you. Tag rugby is non-contact so unless you're removing a tag belt then you cannot touch another player on the pitch. A tag rugby game lasts ten minutes each way with a two minute interval at half time. Just enough time to get your breath back and talk tactics!
Rule 2 - Getting taged
A tag is when one of your ribbons is removed by the other team. When you've got the ball then any member of the opposition can tag you. If you tag someone when they do not have the ball the referee can give away a free pass to the opposition. And remember refs have eyes in the back of their heads! You can't use your hands or the ball to get past the defence so you've got to perfect your dodging skills to get to the try line.
Rule 3 -
What happens when you've been tagged? When you've been tagged you have to act fast and pass the ball to a team mate within three seconds. Then you can go and collect your ribbon from the person that tagged you and put it back on your belt so you're armed and ready to get stuck in again.
Rule 4 -
What do I do when I've tagged someone? Simple! When you've tagged someone stand still, hold the tag above your head and shout "TAG!" as loud as you can! Once the player you have tagged has passed the ball then you need to return the tag to them and continue playing.
Rule 5 - Scoring a Try
Scoring a try is the aim of the game! Score a try you'll score five points, the maximum number of points. Plus you'll be everyone's favourite person! A try is scored when a player puts the ball on the ground with "downward pressure" behind the opponents goal line. If you drop the ball or dive over the try line then your try won't count. If you're playing rugby inside or on hard surfaces then you can score a try just by crossing the other teams goal line.
Rule 6 - Passing the ball
The ball can only be passed sideways or backwards through the air. So no sneaky handing it to other players or forward passes. The ref won't be happy and neither will your team mates!
Rule 7 - Catching the ball
A free pass is given to the other team if you don't catch the ball properly and it rolls forward on the ground towards the other teams' goal line. If the other team has already picked up the ball then 'advantage' is played and play carries on.
Rule 8 - Offside
When a tag is made, all players from the tagger's team must move back towards their own goal line until they are behind the ball. A player is offside if they are further forward than the ball. If a player in an offside position intercepts, prevents or slows down a pass from a tagged player to a team mate, a free pass will be awarded to the other team. Remember that a player can run from onside to intercept a floated pass before it reaches the other player.
Player Code of Conduct
- Play hard but play fair
- Enjoying playing at all times
- Don't forget the rules!
- Always b committed to your team
- Don't argue with the ref!
- Be a good sport
- Be dedicated and train hard
- Thank the people that help you train