Rugby is another popular sport enjoyed by the people. It is a team sport generally played by between two teams of fifteen or thirteen players each. However, professional rugby merged with the creation of Rugby League in the year 1895. Since then, rugby sport has become a professional sport. When we look into its history, rugby league splits from rugby union in 1895 and its rules have been gradually changed, deliberately leading in a faster and more open spectator sport.
The first professional rugby matches of rugby league were played on 17 December 1967. Rugby sport is one of the toughest and physically demanding team sports of the world. The main aim in rugby league is to carry or kick the ball towards the opponent's goal line where points can be scored by grounding the ball; this is known as a try. After scoring a try, the team is allowed the chance to try at goal with a conversion - a kick for further points. The opposing team will try or attempt to stop the attacking side gaining points by preventing their progress up the field by tackling the player carrying the ball.
Professional rugby is played in more than fifty different countries of the world. Professional sports rugby is most prominent in the countries like Australia, England, New Zealand, who contested Rugby Tri-Nations most years. Rugby league is also a national sport of Papua New Guinea. France and Wales also have professional clubs. The United States is set to have a professional rugby league competition by 2010 or 2011. The current World Champions are New Zealand, who won the Rugby World Cup 2008. Prior to this, Australia had won every world cup since 1975.
During early 21st century, we have also seen development of rugby sport in different countries like Germany, Lebanon, Malta, Russia, Spain, Czech Republic, and Jamaica. These countries take up rugby and compete in world rugby league tournaments or matches, with efforts being made by the Rugby League European Federation to expand the game to new areas. 2008-09 has seen development of teams in northern Europe, especially Scandinavia. The game of rugby is played at a semi-professional and amateur level in several other countries, like Samoa, Tonga, Serbia, Fiji, Ireland, Scotland and Japan.