The history of the game of Rugby has many stories attached to it of how it came into being but there is one story more than any that players of this sport will have been told about. It is the one where in 1823 at Rugby School a young guy by the name of William Webb Ellis whilst participating in a game of football chose to flounce the rules and run with the ball in his hands.
Nevertheless, there is plenty of evidence around that offers proof that before Webb Ellis other people were choosing to run with rather than kick a ball. In fact the evidence found clearly shows that for hundreds of years before sports were played by people where the ball was carried rather than kicked.
There may be some truth with regards to William Webb Ellis’s involvement in the history of the game of Rugby. However quite a number of historians still feel that the earliest form of football that the students at Rugby School played when Ellis was a student there is very similar to the modern form of Rugby. So of course there are some historians who still argue about whether Ellis creating this sport or not and some feel it developed from other forms of football that the school played at the time.
If you were to ask the members of the English Rugby Union what sort of football was played while Ellis was the same as the football we know in the UK today and which we are fond of they would say not. What they will say is that the sport played at the time Ellis was a student would have been a combination of both Rugby and football including the rules of these games.
The first thing that you will notice when it comes to learning more about the history of this game that when it was being played by Ellis and other students at Rugby School there was an opportunity to handle the ball. However they were only allowed to handle it when it was in the air rather than being able to run with it as the modern game allows. Then once they had caught the ball all players were required to stand still and the player with the ball could then choose either to kick the ball to another part of the pitch or to try to score a goal by placing it on the ground and kicking it.
When it comes to the history of the game of Rugby another thing one should take into consideration is when Ellis was attending public school the students would often devise their own rules for each game of football they played. The reason for this was at the time not many referees were available and so of course the opportunity to decide to pick up and run with the ball rather than kick it when Webb Ellis was involved in a game could have been something someone chose to do.
But there is one thing that many of us can be certain of when it comes to the history of the game of Rugby and how it all began is that this sport did not develop from the sport we know as football. In fact what most historians believe that these two sports actually developed side by side.