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Paddy Power Rugby: The myth behind the Webb Ellis Cup

Posted on | July 14, 2017 | No Comments

When the winners of the Rugby World Cup are crowned at the Yokohoma Stadium in the 2019 Japan games they will raise in the Webb Ellis Cup in celebration (as well as the rugby betting fans who guess correcty), named after the boy who famously invented the game on the playing fields of Rugby School.

Although a wonderful and enduring tale, the Webb-Ellis myth is sadly not supported by historical evidence.

Legend has it that Webb-Ellis, a “foundationer” at the public school was educated for free because he lived in the Warwickshire town, cheated during the game of football by catching a ball and running with it in 1823. He was 16 at the time, and instantly gave birth to a new sport. Catching the ball was allowed under the school’s own rules of the game (soccer rules were not agreed on until 1863) but running was not.

His teacher were supposedly so impressed with what was later described as his “fine disregard for the rules of football” that they embraced his innovation.

But no contemporary account of Webb Ellis’s famous act actually exists. He was never acclaimed as the inventor of the game during his lifetime (and seem to have given it up after leaving school, instead taking up cricket which he played at Oxford University). When he dies in 1872 at the age of 65, he was recognised for his achievements as a clergyman not his connection to sport.

Incredibly, the first time he was named as the inventor of Rugby came four years after his death, and more than 50 years after his famous game.

Rugby, like soccer, evolved from a mod of football games that had been popular since the medieval period, and may even have had its roots in a game called Harpastum, played by the Roman, in which the object was to carry a feather-filled leather ball over the opponents’ goal line.

Forms of what we now know as soccer and games similar to rugby had been played in public schools, decades before Webb Ellis’s time.

However, there is a solid link that the Rugby School did invent what is now the third most popular sport in the United Kingdom. It was the pupils at the school who first wrote down an agreed set of rule for the game in 1845.

Five things you never knew about the Webb Ellis Cup

1) The trophy is gilded in silver and stands at 38 centimetres. It is supported by two cast scroll handles. On one handle there is the head of a satyr, on the other there is the head of a nymph. On the face of the trophy, the words “International Rugby Football Board” and “The Webb Ellis Cup” are engraved on it.1) The trophy is gilded in silver and stands at 38 centimetres. It is supported by two cast scroll handles. On one handle there is the head of a satyr, on the other there is the head of a nymph. On the face of the trophy, the words “International Rugby Football Board” and “The Webb Ellis Cup” are engraved on it.

2) The cup was crafted at Garrad’s workshop and was commissioned by the International Rugby Board (IRB), then the International Rugby Football Board (IRFB). The cup was modelled on a 1906 trophy made by Carrington and Co. of London, cup which was of Victorian design of a 1740 cup by Paul de Lamerie

3) Australian journalists quickly nick-named the cup ‘Billy’ and in 1991 launched a campaign called Bring Billy Back Home’, having hosted the tournament but lost at the semi-final stage in the 1987 gamed. To make it even worse, the Wallabies beat England that year where the subsequently ‘Brought Billy Home’.

4) From the 1st of December 2006 until the 6th of January 2007, the Webb Ellis Cup was on display at the Rugby Museum in Rugby, England to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of William Webb Ellis – the boy who apparently broke the rules by playing football with his hands; and changed the course of sporting history forever.

5) England is the only northern hemisphere team to have lifted the cup (so far…)

PP Football Infographic: UEFA Champions League in Numbers

Posted on | July 11, 2017 | No Comments

For those who have been living under a rock, the UEFA Champions League is the most watched sporting event in the world (and the competition where a lot of football betting takes place), and last year was one of the most exciting competitions to date.

We look back at the largest football competition in the world by looking at what the players have been doing on the pitch. We’re not looking at the number of goals, attempts, corners or red card. No, were looking at the possible number of miles run, calories burned, drink consumed and half time oranges eaten in each game of football and in the entire season.

Miles Ran

Football is both a physically and mentally demanding, with a game lasting 90 minutes, but can go on for 120 minutes if extra time is added. A maximum of 18 players on a pitch running up and down a pitch with a ball almost constantly in play and can travel great distances in a matter of seconds, you could imagine the players gaining some mileage running back and forth.

Naturally, we cannot assume that every football player will be travelling the same amount during a 90 minute game, or in fact be on the pitch for the whole game. However, it is not uncommon for a football player to travel an average of seven miles per game. Some football tracking data has also clocked some players moving up to nine and a half miles in a 90 minute game.

If the maximum number of players*1on a pitch were traveling the same distance (7 miles), then they would be travelling 154 miles. That’s the equivalent of running the London Marathon 6 times in 90 minutes.

Calories Burned

According to Harvard Health Publications, football players who weigh between 155lbs and 185lbs burn approximately 285 calories whilst playing 30 minutes of football. This rate is similar to the playing tennis, badminton or ice skating.

However, it would be unwise to assume that every footballer will be doing the same level of exercise or, in fact, be on the pitch for a whole 90 minute game, therefore, the overall figure cannot be simply tripled to make a final amount.

If the maximum number of players on a pitch*1 burned off the same amount of calories whilst playing 90 minutes of football they could potential burn off between over 855 calories.

One of the top teams to get through to the last rounds in the Championship will have played in excess of 10 games. Any one player who plays more than ten games during the season will have burnt over 8,550 calories the equivalent to 22 bowls of plain pasta or 28 cheese burgers.

Stay hydrated – drink lots of fluids

Football is a strenuous sport and requires a lot of physical stamina, therefore, it is vital to be properly hydrated in order to maintain peak performance and reduce the risk of injury.

Amount of fluid When?
600ml Two hours before the match starts
500ml 15 minutes before the match starts
100-150ml Every 15 minutes during the match
1000ml During half time

It is estimated that a football player should drink between 2.7 litres and 3 litres of water/fluids during a football match. This figure is formed by a football player consuming 600ml two hours before a match, 500ml 15 minutes before a match, between 100ml and 150ml every 15 minutes during a football match and 1litre during half time.

If the maximum number of players on a pitch*1 consumed the same amount of water/fluids during a match in UEFA Champions league then a total of 66 litres would be consumed per match by all the players combined, that equates to 20,658 litres the equivalent over 36,000 pints! If you place the pint glasses on top of one another this would be 6 times the height of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building at 828-metres high!

Half Time Oranges

Who remembers the good old half-time orange? According to long standing football wisdom, there was no better snack than an orange wedge. They are a healthy, easy to eat snack, loaded with vitamin C which helps to boost energy as well as carbohydrates, giving football players a fuel boost and more stamina. They also help you stay hydrated because they have a high water content.

To make the most of what you had on the grounds, oranges would be cut up into six individual segments. If we apply this today football players in the UEFA League, with the maximum number of players on a pitch*1 eating two orange segments, then during the tournament from start to finish the players would get through 2,295 oranges!

Unfortunately, many players are opting for another snack and this tradition has become outdated and could soon be relegated to the history books as they lack electrolytes. They can also cause stomach issues as they contain fructose. No football player would want to have to pop out for “a moment” during the second half.

Sources: The number of miles ran is an estimation and sourced from Number of Calories Burned is from a publication by the Harvard Health. The number of litres of water/fluids have been sourced from BBC Sport. Number of oranges consumed is based on the scenario of each footballer consuming two orange segments.
Based on a total of 11 players in each team playing at any one time for 90 minutes. Total number of games played from the start to the end of the UEFA Championships is estimated to be 313.
*1 Maximum of 22 players, 11 per team on the pitch at any time
*2 Based on a standard bathtub holding 70 US Gallons

The Gold Cup

Posted on | March 14, 2017 | No Comments

The Gold Cup has been a fixture at Cheltenham ever since July 1819 when it was ran as a flat race. It was contested over a 3 mile track close to where the current racecourse is situated on Cleeve Hill. The event wasn’t as prestigious back then though with the prize money on offer a relatively paltry £685 (around £42,000 today) compared to this years estimated first place prize £350,000. Back then it played third fiddle to the National Hunt Chase and the County Handicap Hurdle which both offered more prize money. It was absolutely dominated in the 1930’s by the most successful horse in the events history, Golden Miller, who won it 5 times on the bounce 1932-1936.

It was switched over to the “new course” at Cheltenham in 1959 and wasn’t must of a contest throughout the 60’s with Arkle winning it three times in a row from 1964 to 1966. Arkle was rated so highly after the first two wins that the odds on the third win were just 1/10 (£10 stake would have returned just £1 in winnings!) which still stands as the shortest price in the race’s history.

The race has been cancelled on a few occasions over the course of its long run. It was cancelled in 1931 because of frost, in 1937 because of massive local flooding and during the second world years 1943 and 1944. It was also cancelled in 2001, along with most of the equine activity that year, due to the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. A replacement race, the Gold Trophy Chase, was run instead at Sandown in late April but it wasn’t quite up to the spectacle of the regular Gold Cup so is largely ignored. All of the next 3 running’s after that cancellation were won by Best Mate who is the most recent of a special group of 4 horses to have won the Gold Cup three times or more.

Kauto Star deserves special mention when talking about the Cheltenham Gold Cup 2017. It’s the only horse that has successfully managed to regain the Gold Cup in its history. It won the prestigious race in 2007 to be beaten the following year by Denman. In 2009 it put on a dominant performance to regain the trophy described by Kieran Packman, a spokesperson from Timeform, “it is the best Gold Cup-winning figure since the Arkle era in the mid-1960s”.

Cue Card is the favourite this year and is bidding to not only gain revenge for its fall last year but also to become the first 11 year old to claim the Gold cup since 1962.

For more information on this year’s Cheltenham Festival we have put together a great infographic with information on the Gold Cup and more:



Will Sanchez leave Arsenal this summer?

Posted on | March 9, 2017 | No Comments

Alexis Sanchez is one of the most interesting players on the transfer market at the moment. The Chilean wants to leave Arsenal as he is looking for a team capable of fighting for trophies. The 28 years old forward was dropped by Wenger from the starting line up against Liverpool after the player declared that he is unhappy at Arsenal and wants to leave the club. It is expected that Alexis will leave Arsenal this summer.

Sanchez has hinted on several occasions that he wants another challenge, wishing to win trophies, things that look seemingly impossible at Arsenal right now, under the command of Arsene Wenger.

Arsenal have not wanted to sell him but things might change this summer if they want to not lose him on a free. The Chilean has rejected to sign the contract extension which expires in 2018.

Manchester City, Chelsea, PSG, Sevilla, Inter Milano and Juventus are among the big clubs that are interested to buy Alexis Sanchez. suggests that Juventus already made a offer of around €30 millions. The Chilean is currently valued at around €40 millions but Arsenal might accept lower bids in order to not lose him for nothing next summer.

Will Fabregas leave Chelsea this summer?

Posted on | February 27, 2017 | No Comments

Cesc Fabregas has started only six Premier League games this season and he might look for regular soccer elsewhere.

Despite being considered Xavi successor at Barcelona he failed to impress at Barcelona and returned to Premier League in 2014. His first season on Stamford Bridge was excellent as  he was one of the most important players under Jose Mourinho and Chelsea won the title after all.

Things have changed next season, Jose Mourinho was fired, Fabregas lost his place in the first team and Chelsea finished on 10th place.

Since then the Spanish playmaker was linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge but Fabregas decided to stay and fight for his place in the team. AC Milan were most interested but the Italian club failed to sign him.

The things have not changed for The Spanish international even after Antonio Conte appointment at Chelsea. Even if the Italian manager named Fabregas “football genius” he preferred other players in the starting lineup.

Latest sport betting rumors suggest that Jose Mourinho would like to reunite with his former player at Manchester United. Keen to bet? See new casinos sport betting section here.

It is believed that United are prepared to make an offer next summer and Chelsea are willing to listen to the offers. AC Milan are also in stand by and are waiting to see how things will develop.

Manchester are preparing around £27 millions for Fabregas but they are willing to increase the offer in order to secure the signature of the player.

Should Fifa introduce video replay?

Posted on | August 18, 2010 | No Comments

The video replay one of the most discussed topic in football in the recent years.

Everyone expects from the referees to be perfect, or at least to reduce the mistakes during the games but it looks that this is a very hard task to do. So everyone tries to find solutions, and Fifa is pressed from all sides to come with an alternative.

In the first phase Fifa tried the system with 6 referees, tested it in Europa League, but even this solution doesn’t seem to be better. There were also speculations that the ball should contain a chip to signal when the ball passes the line of the goal but the solutions is not well seen by the specialists.

So at the moment it looks like the only viable solution is the video replay.Regarding the video replay the opinions are divided with a plus for it. Fifa is pressed to take a decision especially after the World Cup mistakes, when some of them proved to be crucial.

So after rugby, basketball, tennis or american football we might have video replays also in football. This decision would bring advantages but not only.

At advantages we can mention fewer mistakes that can decide games and fewer scandals. On the other side the spirit and the charm of the game would suffer.  Imagine for example a game show with a similar setup – a Who Wants To Be Millionaire Online Game for example would take so long and become boring. Also the game could have more than 10 minutes of additional time which could determine the players to lose their patience  awaiting for the verdict, the fluidity of the game could also suffer.

The final decision will be taken in November but there are chances for a positive answer.

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