By Tony Collins

ISBN-10: 0415476607

ISBN-13: 9780415476607

From the parable of William Webb Ellis to the consideration of the 2003 international Cup win, this ebook explores the social background of rugby union in England.

Ever considering the fact that Tom Brown’s Schooldays the game has noticeable itself because the mother or father of conventional English middle-class values. during this attention-grabbing new heritage, best rugby historian Tony Collins demonstrates how those values have formed the English online game, from the general public colleges to mass spectator activity, from strict amateurism to international professionalism.

Based on exceptional entry to the reputable files of the Rugby soccer Union, and drawing on a magnificent array of resources from membership mins to private memoirs and modern literature, the ebook explores in bright element the main occasions, personalities and avid gamers that experience made English rugby.

From an period of speedy progress on the finish of the 19th century, in the course of the negative losses suffered in the course of the First international warfare and the next ‘rush to rugby’ within the public and grammar colleges, and into the classes of disorientation and commercialisation within the Sixties via to the current day, the tale of English rugby union can be the tale of the making of contemporary England.

Like all of the absolute best writers on activity, Tony Collins makes use of recreation as a prism in which to raised comprehend either tradition and society. A ground-breaking paintings of either social heritage and activity historical past, A Social background of English Rugby Union tells a desirable tale of carrying endeavour, masculine id, imperial ideology, social attention and the character of Englishness.

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Only four players came from the traditional public-school based sides in the south. The captain, Dicky Lockwood, was an unskilled manual labourer from Heckmondwike. In this, the team was a vivid illustration of the way in which rugby had become a sport of the masses. No longer the preserve of the upper middle classes, it was vigorously played and keenly watched by all sections of society, from the doctor at Harlequins to the docker at Hull Kingston Rovers. But it was not to last. One and all enthusiasts at the game The enormous change that rugby had undergone was a result of the way in which the influence of Tom Brown’s Schooldays had spread far beyond the narrow strata of the upper middle classes who could afford to send their sons to public school.

In early August 1895 the RFU leadership announced, as it had threatened the previous December, that it would introduce tighter amateur regulations at the September general meeting, including a new requirement that any club accused of professionalism would be suspended until it proved itself innocent. Faced with this reversal of the principles of natural justice, the leading clubs in the north decided that enough was enough. On 29 August at the George Hotel in Huddersfield, officials of Brighouse Rangers, Halifax, Leeds, Bradford, Hull, Huddersfield, Hunslet, Wakefield Trinity, Manningham, Liversedge, Dewsbury, Batley, Oldham, Broughton Rangers, Rochdale Hornets, Leigh, Warrington, Tyldesley, Wigan, St Helens and Widnes assembled.

The new body made rapid progress. 30 pm on Monday 27 March, an English side met a Scots side under rugby rules at the Academy Ground at Raeburn Place, just a mile and half north-west of Edinburgh city centre. In front of an unexpectedly large crowd of 8,000 people, England, playing in white shirts with a red rose, played with thirteen forwards, three half-backs, three full-backs and just one three-quarter. The Scots, starting a tradition of forward play that would last for the next century, dispensed with the three-quarter and played with fourteen forwards.

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