Rugby Union – A Philatelic Delight
There is an interesting story behind the origination of Rugby. It is believed that during a football match in a school in Warwickshire, England a schoolboy named William Webb Ellis picked up the football and started running with it.He never realised that this would give birth to a new game called Rugby.
In fact, Rugby World Cup trophy presented to the winners is named after him as the Webb Ellis trophy. It is a very popular sport in most of the Commonwealth and a number of countries have issued stamps to promote and popularize this sport.
A Stamp and a First Day Cover was released at Rugby, Warwickshire on 25 August 1971 to commemorate the Centenary of Rugby Football Union (1871-1971). The cover design shows the scene at Warwickshire when Webb ran with the ball and other players are following him.
The game is played between two teams consisting of 15 Players each (with up to 8 substitutes). The Rugby Football Union was formed in 1871. According to World Rugby, the governing body of Rugby Union, the game is being played by six million people across 108 countries.
The First rugby football international was played between England and Scotland on 27 March 1871 at Edinburgh.
The first Rugby Sevens tournament was held in 1883. Rugby Union was an Olympic event in Four Olympics during the early 20th century. Rugby Sevens was introduced in Commonwealth Games in 1998 and added to 2016 Rio Olympics in 2016. The First Rugby World Cup was held in Australia and New Zealand.
Centenary of New Zealand Rugby Football Union ( 1892-1992).
It was at the Club Hotel , Wellington on 16 April 1892 that eight men met and agreed to the formation of New Zealand Rugby Football Union (NZRFU),the body that controls the national game,the most followed sport in New Zealand. It is also the body that gave birth to the All Blacks ,the most respected rugby team the world has ever seen.The NZRFU celebrated its centenary in 1992 and New Zealand post released a 45 cent Pre-stamped commemorative envelope to celebrate this event. Three international matches were also played between a World XV and All Blacks teams.The design on envelope lists it as Clash of the Century.
Stamps on All Blacks – New Zealand 2010
The Silver Fern that appears on the All Blacks Jersey comes from the native ponga Fern. The New Zealand native Rugby team adopted fern as its emblem when it toured England in 1888.At the inaugural New Zealand Rugby Football union meeting in 1893 ,Tom Ellison a member of the 1888 team, proposed a uniform consisting of the black jersey with a Silver Fern. The Silver fern has formed part of the uniform for successive All Blacks’ teams ever since.
In a 1905 tour of the Northern Hemisphere the team’s early uniforms consisted of black jerseys with a Silver Fern. Since then they have become known around the world as the ALL BLACKS.
A Miniature sheet with four stamps on All Blacks was issued by New Zealand on 14 August 2010. A First Day Cover with Miniature sheet is shown below.