This chapter examines the development of the various versions of football that evolved during the nineteenth century with a specific focus on rugby, its rapid growth and the rhetoric behind the internationalisation of the game. Furthermore, the chapter explores the eventual distinction between rugby union and rugby league as the game became exposed to heightened levels of spectatorism and commercialism in the latter half of the nineteenth century. This chapter is vital to understanding the emergence of rugby union and serves to illustrate how rugby union was played and administered during the nineteenth century and first half of the twentieth century. This chapter considers the following matters:

Early forms of rugby

Influence of the public schools

The emergence of elite level rugby union

The growth of professionalism in sport

Colonial influence on elite level rugby union

Exploiting opportunities for rugby union