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Barbarians, gentlemen and players : a sociological study of the development of rugby football

CollectionsANU Press Titles (1965-1991)
Title: Barbarians, gentlemen and players : a sociological study of the development of rugby football
Author(s): Dunning, Eric
Date published: 1979
Publisher: Canberra : Australian National University Press
Description: Rugby football is descended from the winter 'folk games' which were a deeply rooted tradition in pre-industrial Britain. This is the first book to study the development of Rugby from this folk tradition to the game in its modern 'Union' and 'League' forms. The folk forms of football were extremely violent and serious injuries - even death - were a common feature. The game was refined in the public schools who played a crucial role in formulating rules which required footballers to exercise greater self-control. With the spread of Rugby into the wider society, a national rule- making body, the Rugby Football Union, was founded but class tensions led to the split between Rugby Union and Rugby League. These same class tensions - public schools and amateurism as against Rugby League and professionalism - may be seen to exist in Australia. The authors examine the changes in Rugby Union from a 'player-centred' to a 'spectator-centred' form of amateurism and discuss the effect of the {u2018}Australian dispensation' in this context. The increasing extent of 'football hooliganism' is dealt with in the concluding part of this valuable study which will interest all serious followers of both branches of Rugby in Australia.


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