In the columns below I have tried to compare laws relating to similar subjects within the games, so that if Football at Eton is the parent game of Football at Rugby, it will become apparent because of the similarities in the laws. If one of the columns is blank it is because I can find no law covering a similar subject. Where the laws do cover similar subjects we need to look at whether these laws correspond to knowledge, actions, aims and/or restrictions of the games.  



RUGBY 1845

ETON 1847


FAIR CATCH A fair catch is a catch direct from the foot. (ACTION)




That all fellows not following up be strictly prohibited from playing any game in goal, or otherwise conducting themselves in any way which shall be deemed prejudicial to the interests of their side. (RESTRICTION)




A player is off his side if the ball has touched one of his own side behind him, until the other side touch it. (KNOWLEDGE)


No player being off side shall kick the ball in any case whatever. (RESTRICTION)


No player being off his side shall hack, charge, run in, touch the ball in goal, or interrupt a catch. (RESTRICTION)


A player when off his side having a fair catch is entitled to a fair knock on, and in no other case. (ACTION)


A player being off his side shall not touch the ball on the ground, except in touch. (RESTRICTION)


A player being off his side cannot put on his side himself, or any other player, by knocking or throwing on the ball. (RESTRICTION)


FIRST OF HIS SIDE is the player nearest the ball on his side. (KNOWLEDGE)


No player, if behind before the ball, may kick it up, or carry it to one of his own side to touch, but must leave it, where it stopped. (RESTRICTION)


A player is considered to be sneaking when only three, or less than three of the opposite side are before him and may not kick the ball. (KNOWLEDGE)




A KNOCK ON – Distinguished from a throw on, consists in striking the ball on with arm or hand. (KNOWLEDGE)


No player may stop the ball with anything but his own person. (ACTION & RESTRICTION)


Hands may only be used to stop the ball, or touch it when behind. The ball must not be carried, thrown, or struck by the hand. (ACTION & RESTRICTION)







A rouge is obtained by touching the ball first, after it has been kicked behind. (KNOWLEDGE)


No player may run behind the goal sticks before the ball be kicked behind, either to prevent, or obtain a rouge. (RESTRICTION)


Should the player, who has prevented the rouge have been behind before the ball, a player of the opposite side may touch it, and claim a rouge. (ACTION)


If the ball go behind the goal sticks and without being touched, be kicked before them again, any player of the opposite side, if he can touch it first, may claim a rouge. (ACTION)


If the ball be kicked behind by a cool kick, that is, when no one of the opposite side be bullying the kicker, No rouge, whoever touched it, can be obtained. (RESTRICTION)


If a rouge be obtained before the time for leaving off expires, and the time expires, before the rouge is finished, the said rouge must be played out, until either a goal be obtained, or the ball be kicked outside the side sticks, or behind the goal sticks. (KNOWLEDGE)


No rouge, or goal obtained after the time expires is admissible, except in the case of rule 16. (KNOWLEDGE)


A rouge may be obtained by touching the ball, when on the line of the goal sticks. (ACTION)



KICK OFF FROM MIDDLE, must be a place. (ACTION)

At the expiration of half time, goals must be changed, and a bully formed in the middle.



KICK OUT must not be from more than ten yards of goal  if place-kick, not more than twenty-five yards, if a punt, or , drop, or knock on. (ACTION & RESTRICTION)




If a player take a punt when he is not entitled to it, the opposite side may take a punt or drop, without running if the ball has not touched two hands. (RESTRICTION)





No crawling on the hands and knees, with the ball between the legs is allowed. (RESTRICTION)



CHARGING is fair, in case of a place-kick, as soon as a ball has touched the ground; in case of a kick from a catch, as soon as the player’s foot has left the ground, and not before. (ACTION & RESTRICTION)




A player may not in any case run with the ball in or through touch. (RESTRICTION)


No agreement between two players to send the ball straight out shall be allowed on big side. (KNOWLEDGE)


A player touching the ball of his side must throw it straight out. (ACTION)

The ball is dead when outside, or in line with the side sticks, and must not be kicked. (KNOWLEDGE)


When the ball is dead, it must be thrown in, or a bully formed parallel to the place where it stopped: these, are to take place alternatively. (ACTION)


If the ball bounds off a bystander or any other object, outside the line of the side sticks, it may be kicked immediately on coming in. (ACTION)


If the ball, when kicked out, bounds from any object without coming in, it must be put in parallel to the place, where it struck that object. (ACTION)



CONTACT – A player standing up to another may hold one arm only, but may hack him or knock the ball out of his hand if he attempt to kick it, or go beyond the line touch. (ACTION & RESTRICTION)


No player may be held, unless he is himself holding the ball. (RESTRICTION)


No hacking with the heel, or above the knee, is fair. (RESTRICTION)


No player but the first on his side may be hacked, except in a scrimmage. (RESTRICTION)




A player having touched the ball straight for a tree, and touched the tree with it, may drop from either side if he can, but the opposite side may oblige him to go to his own side of the tree. (ACTION)

The discretion of sending into goal rests with the heads of sides or houses. (KNOWLEDGE)


No player may wear projecting nails or iron plates on the heels or soles of his shoes or boots. (RESTRICTION)


Nobody may wear cap or jersey without leave from the head of his house.





If a player shall have begun the game and shall be hurt, or otherwise disabled from going on, no substitute may take his place. (KNOWLEDGE)




The bully, or rouge must be broken, immediately a player falls on the ball and formed anew. (KNOWLEDGE)


If a player falls on a rouge, or a bully, although not on the ball, and calls ‘man down’: or calls for ’Air’, the said Bully or rouge must be broken, and formed anew. (KNOWLEDGE)



All matches are drawn after five days, but after three if no goal has been kicked. (KNOWLEDGE)


All little sides the goals shall be four paces wide, and in kicking a goal the ball must pass out of the reach of any player present. (KNOWLEDGE)


The goal sticks are to be seven feet out of the ground: a goal is gained when the ball is kicked between them provided it be not over the level of the top of them. (KNOWLEDGE)


The space between each goal stick is to be eleven feet. (KNOWLEDGE)


When a rouge has been obtained the ball must be placed one yard from the centre of the goals: and no player is to touch the ball, or let it rest against his foot, until the player, who obtained the rouge, has kicked the ball himself. (KNOWLEDGE & RESTRICTION)


One goal outweighs any number of rouges, if each party has an equal number of goals, that party wins, which has the majority of rouges in addition to the goals. If no goals are obtained, the game Is decided by rouges. (KNOWLEDGE)



Heads of sides, or two deputies appointed by them, are the sole arbiters of all disputes. (KNOWLEDGE)

To prevent dispute it is better to appoint, before the game begins, two umpires: one chosen by each party, and a referee to be agreed on by both parties, where decisions, if the umpires differ, is to be final.


It will be the duty of the umpires to enforce the rules: to decide on disputes that arise: to break a rouge, or bully, when necessary, and to see fair play for both parties. (KNOWLEDGE)