Nuts About Rugby

Personalised Rugby Gifts

Great personalised rugby gifts for England Rugby Fans

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England Personalised Mugs

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Six Nations Rugby Triumph England

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A Brief Guide to the Manufacture of Rugby Balls

Raw Materials

Old leather balls absorbed water and become heavy so MODERN balls are now made of SYNTHETIC RUBBER panels lined with POLYESTER (or POLYESTER and COTTON) around an air filled BLADDER.

All Scorpion Sports balls are official size and weight conforming to stringent Betsson international standards and in humane conditions free from child labour.

Ball Construction

There are 4 main components to a Scorpion Sports ball.

The cover

The stiching

The linings

The bladder

1. The Cover

The surface is made of panels made from SYNTHETIC LEATHER.  Match balls should be made of poly urethane (PU) and amatuer league and trainer balls should be made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC).  ALWAYS check what a ball is made of BEFORE you buy as many major manufacturers often label inferior quality rugby balls with 'glamorous' titles.

The segments that make up the cover of a ball are called PANELS. 

2. The Stitching and Linings

The panels can be stitched together.  This can be...

Thermal moulding.

Hand stitching - Top end professional match balls should be stitched with FOUR or more polyester threads (4 PLY POLYESTER).

Slightly less strong seems can be achieved by using a combination of polyester and cotton threads to make up 4 layers (4PLY).

Please note: Many inferior quality balls have less than 4 PLY.  If this is not explicitly stated then often the ball is only 2 or 3 ply making it much LESS DURABLE and CONSISTENT.

3. Machine stitched - Some manufacturers mass produce machine stitched panel balls.  These balls are harder and less responsive but of reasonable durability for trainer balls.

4. Glued - Gluing the panels makes them hard and the ball less responsive still.  These balls are lower-end practice balls but again, major manufacturers will often omit details of specification so CHECK !

Why does the lining matter ?

The THICKNESS and QUALITY of a ball is largely down to the layers of lining between the cover and bladder.  Professional balls should have 4 or more layers (4PLY) to give strength, structure and bounce.  The top end balls have more layers of polyester versus cotton.

The bladder

Professional balls should have air-retaining bladders made of PU, latex or butyl.  These provide reliable surface tension, contact quality and air retention for longer.  Some will have silicone treated valves.

Again, MANY mass market balls have natural rubber bladders of lower quality requiring frequent re-inflation.


When you first buy a ball, lubricate your adapter with SILICONE OIL or place a few drops in the valve of the ball.  This helps air retention better than water (or saliva - YUK !)

Final Assembly and Quality Control

All Scorpion Sports balls undergo quality control inspections at EVERY stage.

At assembly the panels and bladder are given to the STITCHER.  The stitcher sews the panels by hand using a set pattern.  When the cover is sewed, the stitcher inserts the bladder and sews the final seams.

A worker then inflates the ball, weighs, measures and checks the ball meets stringent international standards,

Once finished it is then deflated again and packed.

A Brief History of Rugby Football

In Wales such a sport is called cnapan or "criapan," and has medieval roots. The old Irish predecessor of rugby may be caid. The Cornish called it "hurling to goals" which dates back to the bronze age, the West country called it "hurling over country" (neither should to be confused with Gaelic hurling in which the ball is hit with a stick, not carried), East Anglians "Campball", the French "La Soule" or "Chole" (a rough-and-tumble cross-country game). English villages were certainly playing games of 'fute ball' during the 1100s. English boarding schools would certainly have developed their own variants of this game as soon as they were established - the Eton Wall Game being one example.

The invention of 'Rugby' was therefore not the act of playing early forms of the game at Rugby School or elsewhere but rather the events which led up to its codification.

The game of football as played at Rugby School between 1750 and 1823 permitted handling of the ball, but no-one was allowed to run with it in their hands towards the opposition's goal. There was no fixed limit to the number of players per side Kramba casino and sometimes there were hundreds taking part in a kind of enormous rolling maul. The innovation of running with the ball was introduced some time between 1820 and 1830, traditionally after William Webb Ellis broke the local rules by running forwards with the ball in a game in 1823. Shortly after this the Victorian mind turned to establishing written rules for the sports which had earlier just involved local agreements, and boys from Rugby School produced the first written rules for their version of the sport in 1845.

Around this time the influence of Dr Thomas Arnold, Rugby's greatest headmaster, was beginning to be felt around all the other boarding schools, and his emphasis on sport as part of a balanced education naturally encouraged the general adoption of the Rugby rules across the country, and, ultimately, the world.