Even though its played in a beastly manner, rugby has been nicknamed as the gentleman of sports as its players are usually perceived as more gentlemanly than other sports players. Even though rugby came quite late in comparison to games like soccer, today it is undeniably one of the world’s most excellent and most popular sports, and it tends to attract crowds from all over the world. Nevertheless, behind all the popularity and greatness, rugby boasts some fun facts which will make your day as shown below.

Rugby balls were initially made of pig bladders.

Funny right? And gross at the same time. Today the game is iconic for its use of oval-shaped balls made of high tech materials. But according to history, the first rugby balls were plum shaped due to the shape of the pig bladders that they were made from; however, they took on an oval shape after people insisted that they should take on an egg shape so they could be distinguished from football balls.

The balls were blown by mouth.

Back in the 19th century a lot of things were yet to be invented, the hand pump and a valve which are today used to blow rugby balls being among the things which were yet to come in existence. This meant that the pig bladders which rugby balls were made from had to be blown by mouth. Unfortunately, some of these bladders were usually diseased which placed the blowers at the risk of infection and the end of it all, Richard Lindon’s wife became a victim and died from blowing too many diseased bladders.

Rugby brought about a sporting tradition.

Nowadays, before any sport, be it football, hockey or cricket, the national anthem of the teams involved is usually sung before the game begins. However, this was not the case in the past as the first time that a national anthem was sung before any gaming event was before a rugby game. Similar to many facts about rugby, this also happened accidentally. History has it that the New Zealand rugby team triggered this as it used to do its intimidating Haka dance before the beginning of any rugby game. During its tournament with the Wales team in 1905, the New Zealand team, as usual, did its dance to intimidate its opponents and in response, the Wales team sang the Welsh national anthem. Even though they had no idea, this marked the beginning of a long-lasting sporting tradition.

The NRL saved the game

The National Rugby League, famously known as the NRL started as a simple domestic rugby league club but today is one of the leading rugby league clubs in Australia. The NRL is credited with saving the game of rugby after the emergence of the super league almost forced it down the drain. Today it now has about 16 leading clubs and is known as one of the best betting sites. Majority of Aussies and the world in general usually bet on NRL with bluebet.

The whistle used in the first rugby world cup tournament opening is still in existence.

Can you believe that the whistle used to kick off the first rugby world cup tournament is still in existence? If not then you better believe it because it is not only in existence but was also used to kick off the final rugby match in Paris. It is known as the Gil Evans whistle, and if a world cup tournament is to be held today, you best believe that it will still be used to kick off the game!

Rugby was accidentally invented.

Unlike other sports which have an awe-inspiring story behind them, rugby was accidentally discovered after a student of rugby school named William Webb Ellis caught a football ball with his hands and ran all the way to the goal with it. The sport was therefore named after the Rugby school, and the teams which win the rugby world cup are usually awarded the Webb Ellis Cup.

Rugby led to the rise of basketball.

Today players like Shaquille O’Neal would be irrelevant and unknown were it not for rugby. History has it that basketball inventor James Naismith invented it as a way to keep rugby players in good shape and also active during the winter season.