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Portal:Rugby union

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The Rugby Union Portal

Introduction

South African Victor Matfield takes a line-out against New Zealand in 2006.

Rugby union, commonly known in most of the world simply as rugby, is a contact team sport which originated in England in the first half of the 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand. In its most common form, a game is between two teams of 15 players using an oval-shaped ball on a rectangular field with H-shaped goalposts at each end.

Rugby union is a popular sport around the world, played by male and female players of all ages. In 2014, there were more than 6 million people playing worldwide, of whom 2.36 million were registered players. World Rugby, previously called the International Rugby Football Board (IRFB) and the International Rugby Board (IRB), has been the governing body for rugby union since 1886, and currently has 101 countries as full members and 18 associate members.

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The Stade de France is the national stadium of France, situated in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis. It has an all-seater capacity of 81,338 and is used for the French rugby union team during the Six Nations and other major internationals. The French football team also use the stadium for almost every home game, and it was there where they defeated Brazil 3-0 in the 1998 FIFA World Cup Final. Paris's main rugby club, Stade Français, periodically use the stadium as a home ground for some major matches. The stadium hasalso been used for Heineken Cup matches.

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Munster fans in Limerick watching the 2005-06 Heineken Cup final. Photo credit: CitizenKane

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The whole point of rugby is that it is, first and foremost, a state of mind, a spirit.

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Blair Swannell

Blair Swannell (1875 – 1915) was an English-born international rugby union forward who played club rugby for Northampton, and internationally for the British Isles and later Australia. He was invited to tour with the British Isles on their 1899 tour of Australia and then their 1904 tour of Australia and New Zealand. He played a total of seven Test matches on these tours, and scored one Test try – against Australia during the 1904 tour. After settling in Australia, Swannell played a single game for his new home when they faced New Zealand. He was viewed as a violent player, and this made his unpopular with other players. Former Australian captain Herbert Moran said of him that "... his conception of rugby was one of trained violence". During the Second Boer War, Swannell served in the British Army in South Africa, rising to the rank of lieutenant. During the First World War he joined the Australian Imperial Force and was appointed with the rank of major, serving with the 1st Battalion. He was killed on 25 April 1915 while taking part in the Landing at Anzac Cove, during the first day of the Gallipoli Campaign.

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