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Football sport made up of two variant codesrugby union and rugby league. The sport was first developed in the 1820s at Rugby School in England. In 1895 a dispute over professionalism between the Rugby Football Union and several clubs in northern England led to the creation of rugby league (always a professional sport). Rugby union became fully professional in 1995. The game is played by teams of 15 (union) or 13 (league) members each, using an inflated oval ball. The ball may be kicked, carried, or passed laterally or backward (but not forward). The object is to score goals (worth three points) by kicking the ball between the uprights of the opponent's goal, or tries (worth five points in union play, four in league), by grounding the ball behind the opponent's goal line. A conversion kick (worth two points) is attempted after scoring a try. Both rugby union and rugby league have international play and world cup tournaments. Rugby is most popular in the United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on rugby, visit Britannica.com.