The first rugby club was formed in 1843


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The first rugby club was formed in 1843

The legend goes that William Webb Ellis picked up the ball during a game of football at Rugby School in 1823, and football and rugby were split from then on.

It took a few years for the sport to spread – often from the school itself – but gradually clubs began popping up, looking for opposition to play. The first of those are listed here, with our rundown of the oldest rugby clubs in the game.

The foundation date of Guy’s Hospital Rugby Club in 1843 is accepted by both the Rugby Football Union and the Guinness Book of Records, making Guy’s officially the oldest rugby club in the world. The date of 1843 is based on evidence predominantly in the form of a card outlining the club’s fixtures in their 40th season from 1883-84. Other clubs — all listed below (sorry, Trinity, Barnes and Blackheath, in particular) — also lay claim to being the oldest, but lack the same evidence.


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