Story: Rugby union

William Webb Ellis statue

William Webb Ellis statue

This statue of William Webb Ellis is at Rugby School, England. The plaque claims that Ellis was the first to run with the ball, initiating the element that distinguishes rugby football from association football (soccer). There is little historical evidence to support this claim, which became a founding myth of rugby union. The trophy for the Rugby World Cup is called the Webb Ellis Cup.

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Flickr: herb36's photostream
Photograph by Nick Herbert

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How to cite this page:

Ron Palenski, 'Rugby union - History of rugby', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/39996/william-webb-ellis-statue (accessed 27 March 2017)

Story by Ron Palenski, published 5 Sep 2013, updated 19 Sep 2016