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Stern criticism of the 'elite' International Rugby Board was offered by USA Rugby Chairman Bob Watkins at the Asian Pacific Rugby Congress in Hong Kong, leading to the eventual expansion of the IRB from only eight countries to the over 130 nations today.
Once allowed in the game of rugby union, hacking was the practice of bringing a running player down by kicking him in the shins. After several players were severely injured, and one was even killed, measures were taken to have the practice banned in 1871. Many were the protests in Letters to the Editor columns of London newspapers at the time, centred mostly on a ‘softening’ of the game! A number of clubs wanted to maintain hacking as it endorsed the ‘manliness’ of the sport.
In fact hacking played a significant part in the formation of the sport of rugby. When the Football Association (soccer) was formed in 1863, its rules banned handling, running with the ball and hacking. The Blackheath Football Club in London refused to accept that type of game and helped to confirm the new game based on the running, handling rules of Rugby School, which allowed hacking and tripping of a ball-carrying player. Ironically, Blackheath and Richmond later led the drive to have hacking banned after the toll of injuries became too high.The practice was even banned at Rugby School.
Since then hacking has (thankfully) been lost to the game of rugby.
When Ireland played Australia in Dublin in 1958 what coloured jerseys did each team wear?