Celebrating 200 Years of Rugby: From Rugby School to the World

This year marks the bicentenary anniversary of the sport rugby football. Rugby football originated in the UK and has a rich history dating back to the early 1800s. In this article, we’ll take a look at the origins of the sport, its evolution over the years, and how we at Rugby School Thailand will be celebrating its 200th anniversary.


The sport of rugby has its roots in a school in the town of Rugby, Warwickshire, England. Rugby School was founded in the 16th century and is one of the UK’s oldest and most prestigious schools. In the early 19th century, the game of “football” was popular among students at Rugby School. In 1823, a student at Rugby School named William Webb Ellis picked up the ball during a football game and ran with it. Carrying the ball was against football rules then, but it is said to have sparked a new game, which would later become known as rugby. The story of William Webb Ellis has become synonymous with the sport of rugby, and the Rugby World Cup trophy is even named after him.


In the years following the creation of rugby football, the game began to evolve and develop into the sport we know today. Rules were introduced to make the game safer and fairer, and the sport gained popularity as British colonisers introduced the game worldwide, and it quickly became popular in places like Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Today, rugby is played at amateur and professional levels and is enjoyed by millions worldwide. The sport has also spawned several variations, including Rugby League, Rugby Sevens, Rugby 10s, Touch and Tag Rugby.

Bicentenary Celebrations

Throughout 2023, the world will be celebrating anniversary celebrations, with events planned in many countries around the globe. Rugby School Thailand celebrated the occasion by participating in the ‘Rugby Global Pass’ collaboration. The rugby pass is an initiative created by Rugby School UK to commemorate the bicentenary of the game. This collaborative video follows a special rugby ball that is passed around the world from its origin in Rugby School UK to other participants and countries, including us here at Rugby School Thailand. Each participant will video their unique rugby pass so that the ball keeps moving and continues to be passed around the world throughout the anniversary period.

Celebrating 200 Years of Rugby - From Rugby School to the World - 6 Celebrating 200 Years of Rugby - From Rugby School to the World - 6 Celebrating 200 Years of Rugby: From Rugby School to the World
You can see the video from here.

In addition to the Rugby Pass collaboration, Rugby School Thailand has worked hard to creatively refresh our Senior Sports Centre, the ‘Web Ellis Centre’, with a mural based on the evolution of the sport to mark the 200th anniversary. Students and visitors can always learn about the history of rugby and its growth over the years with this beautiful mural painted on our school campus wall.

We also used the bicentenary celebrations as an opportunity to promote the values that are at the heart of rugby football. These include teamwork, respect, integrity, and sportsmanship. Rugby is known for its physicality and toughness, but it is also a sport that values fair play and respect for opponents. Rugby is a sport with a rich history that spans two centuries. From its origins at Rugby School in England to its current status as a global sport, rugby has evolved while maintaining its core values. As we celebrate the bicentenary of rugby, we can reflect on the sport’s past, present, and future and how it continues to promote the values that make it such a beloved sport worldwide.

Rugby School Thailand is a leading British international school for 2-18 year-olds, with boarding from aged 10+. To find out more about Rugby School Thailand, click here.

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Rugby School Thailand

Rugby School Thailand

Rugby School Thailand is an international day and boarding school, whose approach is based upon the world-renowned British private school model, and whose curriculum is drawn from the best of the England & Wales National Curriculum and the UK’s Independent Schools’ Curriculum. It is the first and only school to take the name of its prestigious parent, Rugby School (UK), which was founded 450 years ago and from where the world-famous sport originated.

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