20 Amazing Rugby Trivia Facts That Will Blow Your Mind

If the Sydney Morning Herald is any guide, then the secret to a successful website is loading it full of clickbait. And the secret to successful clickbait is a heading featuring a number, the word 'Amazing' and an over the top phrase such as 'Blow Your Mind'. So this being a Rugby blog, here's the Rolling Maul's contribution to the world of sports trivia presented for no other reason than to increase traffic to this blog.

Having said, that, these are pretty amazing...

1) The first international rugby match was in 1871 between Scotland and England. It was a 20-a-side game. The English team wore all white with a red rose on their shirts and the Scots wore brown shirts with a thistle and white cricket flannels. Scotland won one goal (from a conversion) to nil.

2) The greatest New Zealand cricket batsman of all time (well, potentially until Kane Williamson came along), Martin Crowe, featured at wing in a schoolboy rep team coached by Graham Henry, one of the most successful Rugby coaches of all time, and that had Grant Fox, former All Black five-eighth and the Dan Carter of his era, at No 10.

3) Brumbies prop Allan Alaalatoa was named after Alan Border, former Australian cricket captain, who retired the week the ‘Buy a Consonant’ man was born. His Dad and another Brumbies prop Scott Sio’s Dad played for Samoa in the 1991 Rugby World Cup. And another Brumbies prop Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin has the best name ever!

4) William Gilbert was a shoemaker who lived near Rugby School. He fashioned the first balls from inflated pigs bladders, which take on a distinctive oblong oval shape when fully inflated.

5) Wallabies winger Drew Mitchell holds the official Guinness World Record for most apples crushed with the bicep in one minute.

6) No player with a surname beginning with Z has ever played for New South Wales (or X for that matter).

7) Stan Wickham (1895-1906) holds the Waratahs record of 5 for most goals from a mark (the last goal from a mark in a first-class match was kicked by All Black Kit Fawcett for Waikato against Wairarapa on 10th September 1977). By comparison, the record for most field goals for the Waratahs is only 9 held by Mark Ella (including 3 in one match – also a record).

8) There is no word for "Rugby" in Mandarin. In China the Chinese call Rugby “Olive Ball” due to the shape of the ball.

9) The longest Rugby game in history took place on October 7, 2011 and lasted for 24 hours, 30 minutes and 6 seconds. The contest was between the Mali Lions and Congleton Bears clubs. The Lions won 894-715.

10) The first rugby sevens tournament was held in 1883. The Melrose Sevens is still held annually at Melrose in Scotland. Randwick won the tournament in 1990.

11) The New Zealand 1905 touring team to the Northern Unions performed a haka before each match, leading Welsh Rugby Union administrator Tom Williams to suggest that Wales player Teddy Morgan lead the crowd in singing the Welsh National Anthem, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, as a response. After Morgan began singing, the crowd joined in: the first time a national anthem was sung at the start of a sporting event.

12) New Zealander Michael Jones scored the opening try of the tournament at both the 1987 and 1991 Rugby World Cups.

13) Fiji’s first overseas match was in Apia, Samoa, in August 1924 while the team was on its way to Tonga. The match was played at 7am to allow Samoan opponents time to get to work afterwards and was played on a pitch with a large tree on the halfway line. Fiji played in all black and won 6-0. Only Fiji, New Zealand, Wales, Samoa, Tonga and the Cook Islands claim Rugby as their principal sport. In 1938 Fijians played in boots for the first time in honour of the first New Zealand Maori team to visit Fiji.

Image result for rugby car
The true Rugby enthusiast's car
14) The Rugby was a brand of automobile assembled by the Durant Motors Company of New York City, New York (USA). Beside badges and right hand drive for some models, the vehicle was identical to Durant's Star car, and was assigned to export markets by Durant Motors, due to the name Star being under copyright by The Star Motor Company in the British Commonwealth. The Rugby was built from 1923 (Star: 1922) and production ended in 1928 together with the Star.

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Che Guevara dreaming of
revolutionising back line play
15) Che Guevara was a medical student at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina when he developed a love of Rugby. An enthusiastic fly-half, Guevara played several seasons of club rugby before being distracted by a belief that he had to change the world.
Idi Amin was a better than average Rugby forward. Amin discovered the game while serving with the King’s African Rifles in East Africa during the British colonial era in the 1950s. In 1964, the British Dominion Office described Amin as " . . . a splendid type and a good rugby player . . . he is virtually bone from the neck up and needs things explained in words of one letter".
In 1968, George W Bush played in the Yale First XV. Sports Illustrated even has pictures to prove it.

16) The Amman Rugby Club play on the floor of the Dead Sea. The pitch, whose surface is soft sand, lies 385 metres below sea level.
In 1978 in Russia, Krasnoyarsk played Polyechnika Alma when the temperature was minus 23 degrees Celsius. To overcome the chill, the players wore balaclavas, gloves and several tracksuits.

17) The only jointly awarded international try was scored by the Welsh players Howie Jones and Harry Peacock in a Test match against Ireland in 1930. The referee was unable to work out which player grounded the ball, so the try was awarded to both of them.

18) William Webb Ellis was a very good cricketer, winning a cricket blue (although the term was not used then) and batting at number 3 for Oxford at Lords Cricket ground. He scored 12 runs.

19) In the first ever Rules of Rugby, drawn up on 25 August 1845 by three senior pupils at Rugby School, a match was considered to be drawn after five days, but after three is no goal has been kicked.

20) The New Zealand side that toured Australia in 1897 introduced the idea of enabling spectators to identify players by placing numbers on their backs. The numbers used on that tour were 1 to 15 (from full-back to the forwards) for New Zealand and 16 to 30 for the host teams.