Bonus Point: If you can answer this question, then you’re the ultimate rugby enthusiast – What Was Danie Craven’s position?

( Answer to be revealed below.)

To play rugby union, you need three things: a good pass, a good tackle and a good excuse.

This is for the rugby  fans. Take a look at these facts and see how well you know your rugby. Let’s ease into it, with some facts that you probably do know.

Fact 1:‘Rugby’: The Name

According to the Full on Rugby site, this sport was first discovered and named after a school.The Rugby School was based in the English town of ‘Rugby’ and that is how this much loved sport received its name.

In many parts of the world, it has become some sort of religion, in the south-west region of France- “l’Ovalie” meaning ‘the land of the Oval Ball’ where you will also find a chapel called “Notre Dame du Rugby close to the village of Lariviere’’.

Fact 2: William Webb Ellis

The man who started it all, back in 1823, in Warwickshire, England. William Webb Ellis, a student at the Rugby School decided to pick up the ball while playing a local game of soccer and started running towards the oppositions’ goal line.

Now, players get to play in the biggest Rugby event in the world and earn the coveted Webb Ellis Cup.

Fact 3: The Land of the Oval Ball

Balls and bladders- English leather worker; Richard Lindon, who lived in the town of Rugby, surprisingly close to the entrance of the Rugby School, is considered the father of the modern-day rugby ball.

Initially the boot- and-shoe maker found his craft came in handy when he was engulfed in requests by the local school lads to make footballs for them.

Interestingly, pigs bladders were inflated and in-cased in leather panels which was stitched together to create a plump-shaped ball.

However, as inventions moved along, he improved his ‘pig-bladder’ invention by using India rubber as a substitute inner tube; fast forward to today’s oval shape and is easier to handle.

Fact 4: How Gilbert Came Along

The official rugby World Cup ball manufacturer also had its start in 1823, as William Gilbert who also happened to be a ball-maker, coincidently had a tiny sporting goods manufacturing store next to Mr. Lindon’s.

A well-known rugby brand today, with many believing that he is the original ball-maker.

Fact 5: Olympic Champions

This fact is bound to shock even the most devoted rugby enthusiast. Rugby might be unpopular in the modern-day sporting scene in the USA, yet (here is the part which will leave you gapping) they are the current Olympic champions (beating France 17-3 in the final the last time rugby was an Olympic event).

Here is another shocker- . ‘’USA is also the most successful rugby team in the Olympics – they won the event twice in 4 Olympic Games (in the 1920 Antwerp Games and the 1924 Paris Games).’’

Fact 6: Rugby is Popular

While we still on the topic of the USA, surprisingly Rugby is the fastest growing sport in the US, it has been growing at an immense rate; with as many as 120 nations dabbling in the sport with the oval ball.

Fact 7: Basketball and Rugby

Basketball came into existence in 1891 by Dr. James Naismith, who was believed to be a Rugby coach and who stumbled across the game of basketball as he looked for an activity which would keep his players fit during the winter season.

Fact 8: ‘The Father’ of NFL

Rugby is considered ‘the Father’ of NFL American Football, as its origins are linked to early versions of the rugby football association. How? “Walter Camp (the father of American football) made some sizable alterations to the rules of rugby.”

Fact 9: Longest Streak

If you as devoted , especially when it boils down to the Springboks, you would know and enjoy this one, our ‘Springboks’, were undefeated in a test series during the years 1896-1956, claiming the longest unbeaten streak by any team- that is a whopping 60 years.

Bonus Point: Danie Craven, was arguably the most versatile player in the history of Springbok rugby, having played many positions; even the  No. 8 position but he was best known for his position as a scrumhalf.

Well done if you got that correct!


Sources: Full On Rugby, South Africa’s Rugby Legends: The Amateur Years by Chris Schoeman

Alice Paulse