By Eric Shackle*

   Football buffs in Italy, the United States, England and Australia are taking a kick at this goal:  to persuade people living in at least 14 places named Rugby to get to know one another, by  joining a Foundation for the Promotion of the Name Rugby in the World.

    The quirky movement began when a retired Australian journalist wrote a freelance article about the world's many Rugbys, which appeared in the Pierce County Tribune, in Rugby, North Dakota (a town proud of its monument marking the geographical centre of North America).
     When Rugby funeral director Dale G. Niewoehner read the story, it rang a bell with him, since he has amassed an amazing collection of bells, 15 of which are mounted on a huge tower at his funeral home. (They are pictured \on the Internet at The largest are two church bells each weighing 1300lb. Dale rings them by tugging cables, but plans to sound them electrically. He also collects ocean liner memorabilia and 1959 Buick cars, and is the proud owner of a pin bearing the logo of the Rugby car, the name given to the export model of America's 1927 Durant Star.

   Dale sent a copy of the newspaper story to his friend, Giuliano Rossi, in Milan, Italy. Rossi is a retired Rugby football international, who for many years played in first division matches in Italy and Germany. He took part
in the 1998 Golden Oldies tournament in Capetown, South Africa, playing for the Cook Islands and the "Toothless Tigers" of Brisbane, Australia.

    Giuliano collects Rugby postage stamps depicting Rugby football, and has amassed a unique collection of postmarks from places named Rugby in England, South Africa, Australia, and eight U.S. towns. He won a
silver medal in the philately section of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics for a stamp collection with a sporting theme.

    Now he has come forward with what he admits is "a crazy idea" to form a Foundation for the Promotion of the Name Rugby in the World, with himself as president, backed  by two vice-presidents: Dale Niewoehner of Rugby North Dakota, and Richard Coss of Rugby England.

    Richard  runs a comprehensive Rugby website in Rugby, Warwickshire, the town where Rugby football was born when, in 1823, a schoolboy, William Webb Ellis, first broke the rules by picking up a football and running with it. Rugby football is now the world's most popular sport, played in more than 100 countries, and places around the globe have adopted the town's name.

    Richard's website ( says "Scratch the surface and find a town with its own unique history - a medieval market, world-famous public school, a centre of railways and canals, Europe's most modern cement producing complex and the museum, where those
odd-shaped balls are still made by hand."

    Oddball is just the right word.

* Eric Shackle is a retired journalist who spends much of his spare time surfing the Internet and writing about it.



Internet websites in places named Rugby include:
                NORTH DAKOTA:

The article that started it all can be seen at

Other places named Rugby are in:
SOUTH AFRICA (Capetown) 
AUSTRALIA (New South Wales) 
                  Colorado (Las Animas) 
                  Illinois (Livingston) 
                  Indiana (Bartholomew) 
                  New York (Brooklyn) 
                  North Carolina (Henderson) 
                  Ohio (Lorain) 
                  Tennessee (Shelby) 
                  Texas (Red River) 
                  Virginia (Albemarle) 
              Surprisingly, New Zealand, home of the world-famous All Blacks, where Rugby football is almost a religion, has nowhere named Rugby.

Copyright © 2000.  Eric Shackle.