The legend of William Webb Ellis, who is credited with first picking up the football and running with it, has doggedly survived the countless revisionist theories since that day at Rugby School in 1823. That the Game should have its origins in an act of spirited defiance is somehow appropriate.
At first glance it is diffcult to find the guiding principles behind a Game which, to the casual observer, appears to be a mass of contradictions. It is perfectly acceptable, for example, to be seen to be exerting extreme physical pressure on an opponent in an attempt to gain possession of the ball, but not wilfully or maliciously to inflict injury.
These are the boundaries within which players and referees must operate and it is the capacity to make this fine distinction, combined with control and discipline, both individual and collective, upon which the code of conduct depends.
Rugby owes much of its appeal to the fact that it is played both to the letter and within the Spirit of the Laws. The responsibility for ensuring that this happens lies not with one individual - it involves coaches, captains, players and referees.