The first international rugby game played under Union rules was Scotland vs England in 1871. Scotland won 1 – 0. WHAT? 1-0. Yes, seriously. I’m still talking about rugby. In those days every time a ‘try’ was scored you would have a ‘try’ at a kick for goal if sucessful your team would earn a point. So how did international rugby get going in Scotland? The origins of rugby its self are vauge, did Webb Ellis really run with a football to create the game or was it simply the codification of rules of a football-style game where players were permitted to pick up the ball? No one knows. This article concentrates soley on the origins of rugby football as an INTERNATIONAL sport in Scotland. One could say that rugby in Scotland as it’s recognised today orignates from the formation of the Scottish Football Union in 1873 and the change from 20 a side to 15 a side in 1877. Before 1877 its existance in schools such as the Edinborough academy whom had been playing a rugby style game since the 1850s consisted of a lack of union rules and was an unregulated form of football. It’s impossible to point at one point in history and mark it the ‘start’ of rugby as an international game in Scotland, there isn’t one event. Rather, it’s a process of decades of changing that shaped ‘the carrying game’ into rugby Union as we know it today.
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