Origin of the sport

From the late 18th century a basic form of football was played at English boy’s schools, although running with the ball was against the rules. According to legend that changed in 1823 when a young William Webb Ellis at Rugby School picked up the ball and ran towards the goal. This form of playing the game became popular and a first set of rules were written in 1845. Eighteen years later following a schism regarding the rules with the Football Association, this further accelerated the formation of the game we know today. The Rugby Football Union was founded in 1871 and the game quickly spread throughout the British Isles, France, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and North and South America. The International Rugby Football Board was formed in 1886 - the body now known as World Rugby.  Rugby appeared at four Olympics between 1900 and 1924 and is returning at the 2016 Rio Olympics in the sevens format. The quadrennial Rugby World Cup first took place in 1987 and remains the pinnacle of the game.

How it Works

Rugby is a 15-a-side team game played across two halves of 40 minutes each. The aim of the game is to score more points than the opposition.  Rugby is played with an oval shaped ball and each team is divided into eight forwards and seven backs. The team with the ball must move the ball up the field in “phases of play.” The ball can never be passed forwards but players can run forwards with the ball or kick the ball forward. The opposing team needs to stop the attacking team by tackling and trying to retain the ball. Points can be scored in one of four ways; A try – when a player places the ball down in their opponent’s dead ball area behind the goal is worth five points. A conversion – a successful kick between the upper posts and top bar of the goal – following a successful try is worth two points. A penalty kick – awarded after the opposing team makes an infringement - is worth three points. A drop goal - which can be kicked out of the hand so long as the ball bounces first - is worth three points.

Format at World Masters Games 2017

The 15-a-side rugby tournament will be divided into three age divisions in the men’s competition; +30 +40 and +50. Women will have one age division tournament +27. The expected format – number dependent – will have pool games followed by knock out competition. All games will be 25 minutes each way. Five pitches at the Pakuranga Rugby Club at Lloyd Elsmore Park will host the tournament with a maximum of four matches played on each pitch each day comprising a total of 20 games per day.

Expected number of participants: 750

Venue: Lloyd Elsmore Park

World Masters Games 2017 rugby ambassador: legendary All Black, Bryan (BeeGee) Williams.

Kiwi Hero: Richie McCaw

Generally regarded as the greatest All Black in history, McCaw has enjoyed an unprecedented career at the top. Born and raised in North Otago, McCaw made his New Zealand debut in 2001 and he has gone on to win a record breaking number of international caps many of which have been as skipper of the national team. A brilliant openside flanker (number seven) McCaw has led his nation to multiple Tri-Nations and Rugby Championship successes but his finest hour for the All Blacks was when he led his team to victory at Auckland’s Eden Park to secure the 2011 Rugby World Cup and then again at Twickenham to secure the 2015 Rugby World Cup. 

Did you know?

The same whistle is used to kick off the opening game of every Rugby World Cup tournament. The Gil Evans whistle is named after the Welsh referee who took charge of an international clash between England and New Zealand in 1905.

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