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Rugby union , commonly known in some regions  as rugby , is a contact team sport which originated in England in the first half of the 19th century.  One of the two codes of rugby football , it is based on running with the ball in hand. In its most common form, a game is between two teams of 15 players using an oval-shaped ball on a rectangular field with H-shaped goalposts on each try line.
Rugby union is a popular sport around the world, played by male and female players of all ages. In 2014 there were more than 6 million people playing worldwide, of whom 2.36 million were registered players. World Rugby , previously called the International Rugby Football Board (IRFB) and the International Rugby Board (IRB), has been the governing body for rugby union since 1886, and currently has 101 countries as full members and 18 associate members.
In 1845, the first football laws were written by Rugby School pupils; other significant events in the early development of rugby include the Blackheath Club 's decision to leave the Football Association in 1863 and the split between rugby union and rugby league in 1895. Historically an amateur sport, in 1995 restrictions on payments to players were removed, making the game openly professional at the highest level for the first time.