Contrary to popular myth (and the fact the rugby world cup is named after him) rugby was not invented by Willian Webb Ellis in 1823. This story was made up by Matthew Bloxam in 1876, who was trying to disown the idea that it was common to carry the ball in football.
However, a history of the game of "Rugby Football" as it is more fully known means that it does probably originate from older medieval football games where balls were carried and scrummed around - for example like the Ashbourne Shrovetide Football match held annually to this day.
Football as played purely with feet and no hands was played at a rival private (or should I say public) school of Eton and the rules were written in 1815. Meanwhile Rugby School wrote down the rules of it's version of football in 1845 which allowed the ball to be carried (the game was played before then but there were no formal rules). In 1863 when the Football Association was being formed there was a discussion on which rules to follow as several different groups played by different rules - some allowing carrying and some not. In the end there was a split between rugby football and association football here. In 1871 the remaining 21 schools and clubs formed the Rugby Football Union.
As the Blackheath Club stated in 1863 when the split occurred to not allow carrying and "hacking" (extreme tackling) was to "do away with all the courage and pluck from the game, and I will be bound over to bring over a lot of Frenchmen who would beat you with a week's practice".
I think many rugby players and fans would agree today that rugby is more exciting that football :D
Last edited by wisepop on Mon Sep 30, 2019 8:51 am; edited 1 time in total