William Webb Ellis

The Giving Spirit of Rugby

  … faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. King James Bible 1 Corinthians 13:13   As Christmas approaches many of … Continued

Women's Rugby World Cup 2014

Three Cheers for the Lionesses

England, winning the Women’s Rugby World Cup in Paris last Sunday, comes after their disappointments in 2002, 2006, and 2010, with a convincing win over … Continued

Blind Irish Referees

Blind Irish referees

A sense of Déjà vu drifted over many Welsh supporters (well the ones with long memories), during the last Rugby Union World Cup in New … Continued

Why the Whistle Went

Why the whistle went

 ‘To break the rules, deliberately or through ignorance, is simply to attempt to alter the game to suit your own convenience, and the punishment for that … Continued

140430 milkjug boot square

The kit and caboodle of the game

Of course Sir will need an athlete’s support, or, as some of my “northern” gentlemen clients refer to it, a “jockstrap”. What waist size was it Sir?

140418 Richard Harris

f-words, part 3: “Fuddling about”

The third (and last) in the short series of articles about rugby’s f-words: Fixtures, Fags and Fuddling About. On the topic of “fuddling”, and of Richard Harris’ fuddling in particular.

140417 rugby-cigarettes-1920s

f-words, part 2: “Fags”

Second in a short series of articles about rugby’s f-words: Fixtures, Fags and Fuddling About. As I noted in yesterday’s article on fixture freedoms, in British and Australasian slang “fags” are cigarettes.

140416 phoenix

f-words, part 1: “Fixtures”

First in a short series of articles themed around f-words: Fixtures, Fags and Fuddling About. We begin with the freedom of fixtures.

140409 bottomsup

Beer, Bars and Beginnings

Would it surprise you to know that most rugby club formations had occurred in a pub, restaurant or perhaps an oyster bar? No of course it wouldn’t.

140401 Harrodian

The Rise and Fall of Corporate Old Boys

The rise and fall of English rugby’s “old boys” and corporate “house clubs”, their grand clubhouses in “colonial pavilion” style and the retreat of 19th century paternalism.

143017 womens rugby

Ladies, behind closed doors

Public reaction to women playing contact sports was often contemptuous, or even violent. In 1881 games had to be abandoned due to rioting.

140307 wal nzl 1905

Before “Hymns and Arias”

When and why did international sporting teams start singing national anthems? The answer is here to read and to hear.

140302 Wavell Wakefield

Welsh and English Innovators

There is great rivalry between these two countries, due to their proximity and shared history. Their attitudes to each other were summed up by the … Continued

140207 rugby poster 1914

The Great Game 1914–1918

With the upcoming 100th anniversary of the beginning of the “Great War”, it’s a good moment to reflect on the contribution rugby players made. The … Continued

140202 England Rugby Cap

New (velvet) caps

Two new caps were introduced to the “big boys” game in England’s first Six Nations International at the Stade de France on Saturday. Both Luther … Continued

Thinking Man (rugbydata)

The Thinking Man’s Game

Rugby has been called the ‘Thinking Man’s Game’. Certainly it seems confusing with all those rucks and mauls. How many of us have had to … Continued