Rugby in France and in the United Kingdom
Rugby is a sport now played by both men and women in over 100 countries across the world. It is one of the most popular sports in the United Kingdom and has been booming during the past decades. England's win at the 2003 World Cup in Australia and France hosting the last World Cup, recruitedeven more fans, who flock to games in their thousands.
In this essay, we will first talk about the birth of rugby and its development in France and in the United Kingdom before explaining that it is an important business. To finish, we will compare this business to the football’s in these countries.
History and development of rugby in the United Kingdom and in France [pic]
Rugbydeveloped in 1823 thanks to an infraction of the rules of soccer by a English Rugby School boy, William Webb Ellis, who picked the ball up and ran with it. In 1843, the Guy’s Hospital -the first rugby club- was founded in England. Rugby is played with an oval-shaped ball. Two teams score at the other end of the pitch by kicking the ball over the post or by touching it over the line. Players are usuallystrong and fast.
In Scotland, Rugby became popular in 1871 thanks to the first international rugby match between England and Scotland. As for Wales, we can say that rugby is part of the welsh culture! But England, who won the 2002 World Cup, is a very good rugby team (the best one? ). These three teams show how much rugby is popular in Great-Britain.Each country has got an embleme (The leek in Wales, the rose en England and the thistle in Scotland), an hymn and a specific rugby shirt. In the United Kingdom, there are two types of rugby: rugby union, with teams of 15 players, which is played in competitions such as the Six Nations and the rugby union World Cup, and rugby league which is played nationally.In Britain, there are some of rugby's most famous grounds, such as Twickenham in London or Murrayfield in Edinburgh.
In France, rugby appeared in 1870 thanks to British workers who founded the Havre Athletic Club in 1872. The embleme of France is a cock. Rugby union which is played by 313 988 permit-holders is a very popular sport. But rugby league isnot as much played as it is in the United Kingdom. In 2003, there was only about 18 000 permit-holders in France according to the FFR (The French rugby league) compared to 64 463 permit-holders in England (where rugby league is one of the five major sports, with cricket, football, rugby union and tennis), according to the Rugby Football League.
II- An important business in both countries[pic]
a) A very popular sport
Even if in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and France, the national sport is not rugby but respectively cricket, Gaelic football and association football (although according to Scotland Justice secretary Kenny MacAskill: “Binge drinking during the festive season has become Scotland's national sport”!), rugby remains very popular in these countries.
RugbyUnion is one of the most popular sports in France, and particularly in the South. There are 1630 clubs and about 248 players are permit-holders. The number of spectators has been booming during the last years: the audience raised by 25% in 2005. And this phenomenon increased even more thanks to the 2007 World Cup in France.
In England as well, audiences are very high. A bit more than 12 millionBritish -51% of the television audience- watched England beat France in the Rugby World Cup semi-finals on ITV1
Supporters are very faithful to their players, as these ones have become celebrities. As long as he is winning, Jonny Wilkinson is as much adulated as Lewis Hamilton. And it is the same in France with Sébastien Chabal.
b) An important sponsorship during the 2007 World Cup...