How Rugby Started
The game of rugby was born in England in 1823 when (as the legend goes) a 16 year old school boy by the name of William Webb Ellis "with a fine disregard for the rules of football first took the ball in his arms and ran with it".
The first set of written rules were recorded in 1845 and the first official union was founded in London in 1871 which still functions to this day with some of the some of the founding clubs still in existence.
In the years to follow the formation of the Rugby Football Union in London, many other countries including Scotland, Ireland, Wales, New Zealand, Australia, United States, France, etc. formed unions as well. By 1886 the International Rugby Board was formed which is now called World Rugby
Today there are 105 countries who are member unions of World Rugby (the International Governing Body for Rugby) and 16 associate unions. Over 9.1 million people all over the world participate in rugby union, with that number continuing to grow.