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“Rugby League is a simple game, played by simple people, Rugby Union is a complex game played by Wankers”
Rugby union was created by William Webb Alice in England in 1823. Not content to play by the rules he picked up the soccer ball and started running with it. He was promptly attacked by the opposition and members of his own team. The tougher players decided that this was much more fun than simply kicking a ball around like a whimpy diving crybaby. The sport became so popular that a whole town in England renamed itself after it. However, since most of the players were ignorant brutes no one could decide on or even knew what rules to use. Eventually the stuck up toffs in the South came up with there own rules while the uneducated louts from up North created there own version. The tight-arse southerners originally played the players with kind words and "hurrahs", while the northerners gave their players a tuppence and a pat on the back. This lead to major conflicts between the two codes, resulting in a messy divorce that is still causing bitterness to this day.
"Oh I say old chap, how about we play this game for free."
"Fa Nowt! You're aving a lauf, bugger that,"
The actual conversation recorded at the time when rugby union broke up with rugby union
Like most sports invented by the English, it soon spread to other countries, and those other countries soon became much better at playing it than the English. Rugby union, the toffs version, spread to nations in the commonwealth (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, India, and Liberia). It was generally adopted by upperclass private school boys. Seeing this as a chance to legally beat up on these twats Samoans, Tongans and Fijians quickly took up the game. The styles of play differ between each nation. The English kick and chase the ball, the South Africans kick and chase the ball, the Australians kick and chase the ball, the Scottish kick and chase the ball, the Librarians kick and chase the ball, the Pacific Islanders don't want the ball - they just hit the opposition whether they have the ball or not. Clapping from supporters follows most of these plays.
One of the great strengths of rugby union is that it allows a diversity of body shapes and sizes to play. Are you fat? Then you can play prop. Are you a tall lanky bugger? Then lock is the position for you. Are you small, but fast? Jump into the scrum-half position. Do you have a debilitating disease that causes your foot to be permanently attached to your mouth? Then you can coach South Africa. However, the most important attribute of any player is there ability to give enlightening interviews after the game about "two halves", "full credit to then opposition", "both teams came to play rugby" and to drink copious amounts of beer at the post match functions out of various phallic shaped apparatuses.
The laws of rugby union are rather simple. You can not advance to the ball from a kick unless you are behind the person who last kicked it, it has been touched from a kick, or someone who was behind the person who last kicked it has passed you, or if the the person who was supposed to catch the ball has knocked it backwards, or if the the person who was supposed to catch the ball has knocked it forward, or if the person catches the ball and runs five metres forward, or if the person who caught the ball passes it to another person, or if the moon is a quarter moon and the number of people in the crowd wearing a hat is less than those waving a flag of any description (except the Welsh dragon obviously).