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Rugby Facts

16 awesome rugby facts

Rugby Facts: 16 Awesome Bits of Knowledge About The Beautiful Game

16 Rugby Facts

This post will not only educate you

But you will have a load of fun going through these genuine bits of rugby knowledge

And give you hours worth of material to take you up to last orders

Without running out of things to talk about that will impress the rugby fans that you know

Remember You Heard These Rugby Facts Here First

We all know a few Rugby Facts and information that we like to tell our mates down the pub

Whilst sipping on a small sherry or knocking back Pina Coladas

But are they as mind-blowing as these 16 I have to show you?

Amaze your friends with these excellent rugby facts

1. The Beginning….Or Was it?

Let’s kick off (excuse the pun) with the uncertain “fact” of where the game started

It is said that a young boy called William Webb Ellis was playing football at his school called Rugby School in 1823

And he just picked the ball up and ran it into the goals.

And that’s “APPARENTLY” where it all started

2. We’ll Keep a Welcome in The Hillside

The idea of singing the national anthem of both teams involved before a sporting event

Was first started in a rugby match between New Zealand and Wales (my home country) at the Cardiff Arms Park in 1905.

The All Blacks were doing their world-famous war dance “The Haka” before the game to intimidate the Welsh team

When out of the blue the Welsh responded by singing the Welsh national anthem “Hen wlad fy nhadau” 

And soon the whole of the Welsh crowd joined in

And we have been singing the national anthem before sporting events ever since.

The above video is from a rugby match between Wales and New Zealand in 1967

3. Bacon Flavoured Urinal Bags

One black piglet and one pink piglet sniffing around in the dirt

The first ever rugby balls were made out of pig’s bladders and a leather outer casing

Made by 2 men called William Gilbert and Richard Lindon

Which is why they weren’t the shape that they are today.

4. Don’t You Love The Smell of Pork in The Air

People Inflating a pigs bladder by mouth for the insides of the first rugby balls

When rugby balls were first made

There was no way of inflating the pig bladders

Other than to blow them up with their mouths and a clay pipe inserted into the bladder

Some unlucky person had to do the honours of blowing into the sometimes infected “piggy pee sacks”

Let’s hope they remembered to blow and not suck!

5. Death by Breath 

Richard Lindon’s wife was the unfortunate person mainly responsible for blowing up the pigs bladders by mouth

But one day she breathed in some infected air from inside one of the bladders and died a week later

Which drove Richard Lindon to go on to invent the pump.

6. I’m Glad This Didn’t Stick!

Rugby player Shaun Perry scoring a try for England against the All Blacks in 2006

Before the point system that we have today

There wasn’t actually any points for scoring a try

When the game first started, the player who scored the try had the chance to score just one point

They got to do this by placing the rugby ball on the floor and trying to kick it over the goals in between the posts giving the team a measly 1 point!

7. The Early Day Ravers… Blow That Whistle!

The Official Gill Evans signed silver whistle that's used for every opening rugby world cup game since 1905

This whistle has been used in every opening rugby world cup game since 1905.

The Gill Evans whistle was first used by a Welshman Gill Evans in the game between England and New Zealand.

How many referees saliva is on that by now!

8. What Were They Playing… Cricket???

The worst ever defeat in a rugby game happened between to Belgium teams where the Royal Kituro beat Soignies a massive 356 – 3!!!

9. Damn, That’s Fast!!!

Carlin Isles a former athlete who now plays for the USA team

Can run the 100m in just 10.13 seconds…

That’s quicker than it took me to write this paragraph!

10.  What a Kick!!!

The longest ever drop goal to date was 77.7m (85yards) by Gerald Hamilton during the South Africa V England game on the 2nd of January 1932 at Twickenham

Not bad for the weight of the balls back then

The video is of Francois Steyn against Clermont which was out of the blue and another huge drop goal!

11. It Was Close!

During the 1986 five nations championships at the Cardiff Arms Park

A penalty kick from 70 yards 8 and a half inches was made by Paul Thorburn for Wales against Scotland

Which was quite impressive as there were no Kicking Tee’s out back then

Just some sand or churned up mud from the field

12. Rugby’s Funniest Moment

Ok, you got me! It’s not exactly a “fact” but I thought I would put this in here just for you to have a few giggles…..ENJOY!

13. Legend!!!

Known as “The Greatest Rugby Try Ever” 

Gareth Edwards was playing for the Barbarians against the All Blacks in 1973

And scored this amazing try in the opening minutes of the game.

14. Wait… What???

The fastest try ever recorded was an amazing time of just 7.24 seconds into the game by a man called Tyson Lewis from the UK.

I can’t even drink a pint of beer in that time!

15. Itchy Red Card Finger

I do apologise it's my mistake & you are right I will take the red card back said no rugby referee ever

The highest number of red cards that were given out in a World cup rugby match was three

During the South Africa V Canada game in the 1995 Rugby World Cup

Which saw two Canadians and one South African player leave the field.

16. Longest Game

The longest rugby union game ever recorded was a very lengthy 28 hours and 23 minutes by two UK teams who were raising money for local charities.
On the 15th and 16th of August 2015, School of Hard Knocks and Scotty’s Little Soldier’s played each other with the final score being 1846 – 1480 to Scotty’s Little Soldiers.

Spread The Word

If you have enjoyed reading these excellent rugby facts and trivia and your mind has been blown

Either get involved and leave a comment below or just share with your friends and spread the word


Have any Questions or Comments?

32 comments on “Rugby Facts

Hello! Very entertaining article! I wonder if they sanitize that whistle? I was also wanting to ask about the singing of the national anthems before the games. Is that why they sing the national anthem in american sports also?


I’m pretty sure that “the star spangled banner” anthem is a war song and it was first sung at a baseball game during the 2nd world war


Loads of great trivia facts here. I was especially interested in the first one as I live in Warwickshire, not far from the town of Rugby. I’m sure I have driven past a pub called The William-Webb-Ellis!

It’s interesting to me that in England the sport is called Rugby, however, my Dad is Welsh and called Rugby Football (and football is Soccer) I wonder how it differs around the world!?

I will have to ask my Dad if he saw the match where Paul Thorburn kicked the longest penalty!


I’m sure your dad being a Welshman like I am certainly saw the thorburn penalty as it is famous worldwide let alone in Wales


Hi Shwni, I’m so glad i found your post. My cousin is an All Blacks fanatic and we each have All Blacks tee shirts. I can’t wait to show him this. We love watching the haka and in fact my cousin loves it so much that he performs it public when we are out in bars having a blast haha. I guess he loves them a little more than I do.. Thanks for the awesome facts.



Oh I would love to see a video of your cousin doing the haka sometime if you could send it to me, I have seen many people try and fail to do it but it never fails to make me smile


Oh my goodness! I had no idea the first balls were made out of pig bladders and they had to inflate them! That sounds really gross. I’m glad they figured out how to inflate them with a pump.


I know, can you imagine having to do that as a job? It doesn’t bear thinking about does it!

Derek Marshall

Hi there Shwni,

Thanks for creating and sharing this rather fascinating and fun facts about rugby. I could have sworn blind I was going to see Gavin Hastings name mentioned a couple of times (yeah, yeah, I’m a Scotsman!) particularly for the longest penalty.

Fun fact..we are the last ever winners of the old 5 nations! (Sadly like Italy, we have still to win the 6 nations!)

Great read, thanks


Thats actually a brilliant fact that I think should go into this list which I had totally forgotten about. Scotland are getting so much better over the years and it’s inevitable that they will soon win the 6 nations…but they will find it tough against Wales, my home country lol


Having recently become a fan of Rugby, I found your article very interesting. I am amazed by the facts you have presented,and now have better knowledge about the game and what it is all about.


I love everything about rugby so I thought I would share a few facts for other rugby fans to get was bit more knowledge of the game. I’m glad you enjoyed reading this post


Great article Shwni. I must say that I enjoy in this awesome sport but I have not heard about this interesting thing and especially about how it started. I think that my friend who is a professional in rugby would like to read all this. I want to say that although it is very beauty sport, it is not easy at all.


It certainly isn’t easy at all but like every sport, the more you practice, the better you will get. Thanks for dropping by 🙂


Wow those are some amazing facts. Regarding fact 16, I wonder how they kept track of the score. Did the players and game officials take breaks during that game? Did they follow rugby rules for substitutes, where 10 substitutes can come on? Or were they following rugby league rules where 7 substitutes come on? Or did they simply relax that rule during the game, seeing as it was for a good cause?


they changed the whole team every couple of hours, and the scoring was done by a few officials who took turns with the scores


Hi Shwani, What a great laugh you gave me. How I wish my mother was still alive, she was a great rugby fan and would never miss watching a game. She knew all the names of the players although she died well into her nineties. We always loved sitting with Dad while he listened to the rugby matches on the radio on a Saturday afternoon.

Just watching his antics were worth every moment. Thank you, for all the tips. Will be seeing my rugby mad son-in-law just now and can’t wait to try some of them on him. Show him that I know something about the wonderful game of rugby.


Your son in law will be amazed and shocked once you start telling him about what you know, lol


Hi, and I liked your cool post about rugby. The history of it is often lost on some of the fans that don’t follow the game as often as the hardcore ones. But that’s ok as each year I see more and more fans in England getting into rugby. And more fans in other nations as their teams become more proficient. Thanks for spreading the knowledge and history of the true beautiful game. Kenny


My pleasure Kenny, glad you enjoyed 🙂


I’m going to so use this for my team. Who is selected to blow up the “piggy pee sacks”? That’s an amazing fact, and a bummer for the unlucky person in history to be selected. I didn’t quite realize the history. Great facts. And the longest game – 28 hours. Holy cow, that would have been incredible. 


What team would you use it for? Yes, I don’t think I could have blown up the pee sacks myself, lol

Olonisakin Kehinde

hello, shwni

I have always learnt something new with every post you make. 

Waoooo incredible facts about rugby and some interesting information about sport generally. I love the fact about knowing that it was in a rugby game that singing the national anthem of both teams started….. well always educative here on your posts. 

Thank you dear.


Thanks, keep dropping by for more of the same 🙂

Emmanuel Buysse

As you know I’m not a big fan of Rugby and I don’t know too much about it.

However I like the info you give, and the reason is that my brother in law wants to be a Rugby player, but he needs more investigation into it, the history, how it is played and more.

So that is why your posts really comes into place and it will help him.

I will send him this and he will thank you.

So thanks for sharing and it is a great post!


Your brother in law is going to love reading this 🙂



I enjoyed reading about those facts about Rugby, some which I knew, others that are was totally unaware. The only thing missing was that there are two versions of rugby, where league is more popular in the North of England, and Union is more popular in the south. I tend to follow league, which is an interesting game.   I always find it amazing that rugby came about because of football, which in turn came about because of cricket. Not a lot of people know that professional football came about because cricketers wanted to keep fit  in the off season.




That’s a very interesting football fact that I think my visitors will enjoy, thanks for that


I absolutely loved this post. What fun. How I wish my late mother could have read it. She would have had a great laugh.

She was an avid rugby fan and knew all the rules and the names of the players. 

I have bookmarked this post as I shall not be able to recall all these great facts unless I read and re-read them. I watch rugby with my son-in-law sometimes but I think my shouting at the players might get him down a bit.

I shared this fabulous and fun post to Pinterest. Thank you for the laugh. 

I would hate to be the referee who has to use the whistle, Yuk!


Just a bit of rugby knowledge for a rugby fan to know that might help them in a quiz they might be taking part of, lol

Thanks for dropping by 🙂



I always learned something new about every topic you make. The great trivia facts here. Thanks for creating and sharing this rather fascinating and fun facts about rugby. Incredible facts about rugby and some interesting information about sport generally. It’s interesting to me that in England the sport is called rugby. Regarding fact 16, I wonder how they kept track of the score? The fact about knowing that it was in a rugby game that singing the national anthem of both teams started….. Well, always educative here on your posts.

Once again, thanks for giving the article.


Always happy to help 🙂


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