A student at the Rugby School was said to have picked up the ball and run with it at a football match and so was born the sport of rugby and it was on this day in rugby history that the boy, William Webb Ellis, was born in 1806 in Salford near Manchester, Lancashire.
Ellis, for the first time, disregarded this rule, and on catching the ball, instead of retiring backwards, rushed forwards with the ball in his hands towards the opposite goal, with what result as to the game I know not, neither do I know how this infringement of a well-known rule was followed up, or when it became, as it is now, a standing rule.
This is how the story of young Ellis’ actions was described in a letter to the Meteor in December 22, 1880. This and other stories of how Ellis changed the game all came about after his death so we might never know the full story but his actions had a lasting effect.
Rugby has become one of the most popular sports in the world and the Rugby World Cup is the third most watched sporting event in the globe. It is only fitting that the trophy for the winning side at the Rugby World Cup is named the Webb Ellis Trophy.
1806 – William Webb Ellis, inventor of the game (died Feb. 24, 1872)
1982 – Sean O'Loughlin, English rugby league footballer