This month, millions of people around the world have been watching the Rugby World Cup in Japan. The two final teams have now been decided; England will play South Africa in Yokohama on Saturday. It is the fourth time England have played in a Rugby World Cup final, but did you know that rugby was invented in England?
Rugby started in the town of Rugby, in Warwickshire, England. The first games of rugby were held at Rugby School in around 1845, and soon there were many teams playing in the Rugby Football Union. However, in 1895 rugby split into two sports – rugby league and rugby union. At first, the two sports were almost identical, but over time the rules in rugby league changed, and today rugby league and rugby union are quite different.
As well as having different rules, there are other differences between rugby union and rugby league. In the UK, rugby union is generally seen as an upper or middle class sport. Players are often very well educated. Many private schools have rugby teams. Rugby league, on the other hand, is often seen as a more working class sport.
This year’s Rugby World Cup uses the rugby union rules, but there is also a Rugby League World Cup. The last Rugby League World Cup was held in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, and Australia were the champions.
Who will win the Japan Rugby World Cup on Saturday? At Connect, we’re keeping our fingers crossed for England, but may the best team win!
identical (adj) – exactly the same
to keep one’s fingers crossed (idiom) – to wish or hope for something