Rugby is a team sport played by millions of men, women and children in close to 120 countries worldwide and it is increasing in popularity every year.
The game has its origins in England in the 1820s, when a Rugby School student named William Webb Ellis did something a bit different during a schoolyard game and caught the ball and carried it forward, rather than back towards his own line, which was traditional. It took a while for the rules to be agreed between the different schools and organisations in England many of whom had their own games but by the 1860s the Rugby rules had gained in popularity and started spreading beyond England.
It was another student who brought the game to New Zealand. Charles Monro studied in London in the late 1860s and on returning to New Zealand (where his father was a member of the House of Representatives and later knighted), Charles suggested to the Nelson Football Club that they try rugby. They did and in May 1870, the first rugby match was held in New Zealand.
Later that year Monro arranged a match at Petone for the Nelson Club team against a Wellington selection – the first inter-district match in New Zealand. On the Saturday prior to the match, Monro covered 10 miles by foot looking for an appropriate venue. Two days later, having recruited and coached the Wellington players as well, Monro took the field of play as a Nelson player – and refereed the game.
Rugby since then has gone down New Zealand’s history as one of the best sports and a lot of the vibrant youths who grew up with it are making a lot of money with it currently.
Here is the list of highest paid rugby players in the world and most of the top ten hails from New Zealand.
10. Michael Hooper NZ$1.102 million (€572,000)
Michael Hooper is an Australian rugby union player who is the captain of the Waratahs in Super Rugby and the national side the Wallabies. His playing position is openside flanker.