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The apocryphal tale of William Webb-Ellis, who picked up a ball and ran with it at Rugby School in 1823, may not fully explain the roots of rugby, although it does hint at its long history and the many traditions that are associated with it.
Rugby fans can enjoy their sport year-round, with rugby union dominating the winter season, and rugby league taking over the summer months.
A mesmerising display of raw muscle power, the RBS Six Nations Championship is fought over seven winter weekends. The championship brings together the brutal drama of the pitch, enthusiastic and convivial spectators and six highly civilised European host cities.
The six competing nations are England, France, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Italy. Each team plays the other five once, giving a total of 15 matches per Championship. The much-coveted RBS Six Nations Championship Trophy is presented to the winning team on the final weekend; the wooden spoon for the losing team is purely figurative. The Championship is not only a chance to follow some great rugby, but an opportunity to meet fellow sporting enthusiasts and explore some uncharted regions.
Rugby league can trace its origins to the late 19th century, when it emerged in the northern English counties of Lancashire and Yorkshire as the breakaway Northern Rugby Football Union. Played with distinctively different rules (most notably a 13-man rather than a 15-man team), rugby union is still passionately followed in the north of England - where events like the Carnegie Challenge Cup and the Super League Final are sporting highlights.